If Audrey Hepburn were alive today she might wear Mansur Gavriel kitten heels. The style icon was a leader of the low heel movement in the 1960’s, when the look was popularized as a political rejection to the stiletto. And now the kitten heel is back, with brands like Chanel, Prada, and Jimmy Choo reinterpreting their classic styles, and newer brands like J.W.Anderson and Mansur Gavriel offering a modern reinvention.
Originally introduced in the 1950’s for teenage girls as “trainer heels,” the kitten heel has since been co-opted by street style stars and celebrities. Perhaps the same logic applies, however, as these grown women are still looking for an easy yet elegant shoe to run around fashion week in and for walking up and down the red carpet. The editor and street style star Miroslava Duma, for example, was seen sporting them from show to show throughout New York Fashion Week, and blogger Pernille Teisbaek has taken to flats and low heels as her baby bump grows.
Designers like J.W.Anderson and Mansur Gavriel are experimenting with the shape and material of the kitten heel by incorporating patent leather, mesh, and even a cylindrical heel, while longstanding brands like Chanel succeed by making slight alterations to an already existing look. Take Chanel’s popular slip-on mule, for example, from the brand’s 2016 “Paris in Rome” Métiers d’Art show, which Rosie Huntington-Whitely loves. It references the classic Chanel two-tone shoe, but adds a twist with a pearl embellishment on the heel. Plus, no back for extra ease.
So, despite its long history, the kitten heel is here to stay because it still fits the wants and needs of the modern, Fall 2016 woman.
Get the Look: A Guide to Fall’s Best Kitten Heels
Balenciaga Heel Bootie, $825, Balenciaga.com
Loewe Sequin Slipper Shoes, $593, matchesfashion.com
Marni Block Heel Pump, $930, saksfifthavenue.com
Miu Miu Satin Pumps, $890, miumiu.com
Paul Andrew Crytal-Embellished Pumps, $895, net-a-porter.com
Valentino Ankle Strap Pump, $1,395, barneys.com
Pierre Hardy Oh Roy Pump, $550, pierrehardy.com
Prada Embellished Pump, $890, prada.com
Jimmy Choo Leather Mary Jane Pumps, $795, jimmychoo.com
Manolo Blahnik Okkato Pink Heel, $1,095, manaloblahnik.com