Say a big ol’ hello to Kitten Heels. This revolutionary approach to footwear was made famous by Audrey Hepburn, first in Funny Face, then in the fashion flick of the century – Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There’s no denying it these heels are all class!
The slightly reduced height combined with the gently curved angle of the heel actually have more of an interesting history than you’ve probably realized. In fact, you could almost say that the history behind kitten heels is rather purr-fect…
Where it all began:
It all started way back in the 1950s. Stilettos had just been invented by French shoe designer, Roger Vivier, who was designing for Christian Dior. They quite literally, took the world by storm. With exception to being worn on airplanes due to safety regulations, stilettos were worn everywhere. But of course, they weren’t cheap. Mothers would save up their money until they could purchase their first pair, then gleefully dance through the house, feeling incredible with their newly extra boost of height.
Who was watching them? Why, their children of course. Desperately wanting to be seen, as ‘more adult’, young girls would try on their mother’s shoes, and begin to dream. Naturally, as the cost of the shoes wasn’t quite so dreamy, mothers weren’t terribly fond of this.
Introducing… the Low Heel!
Due to several reasons, including potential discomfort and looking over-sexualized, stilettos were dubbed as a no-no for children. That is, until an unknown designer realized the financial opportunities of the world of heels. And so the kitten heel was born!
Dubbed as the ‘training heel’ for young girls, these shoes had a height of approximately 1.5 – 2 inches. Generally worn for formal purposes, children would try and wear these whenever they could. With a dash of perfume and a powder puff of makeup too, of course. After all, they were trying to look as grown up as possible, and they had learned everything from their mother.
The new Kitten Heels Shoes:
In the late 1950s – early 1960s, the kitten heel took off! No longer was it strictly limited to children – everyone wanted to wear them! The woman who deserves most of the credit is screen icon, Audrey Hepburn. She famously donned the shoes for her 1957 flick Funny Face. Producers were worried that she would look too tall compared to co-star Fred Astaire – so along came the good ol’ 2 inch kitten low heels.
Just like that – these heels were the next big thing! Of course, with the rise of platform shoes in the mid 1960s, they temporarily fell out of favor. But when Jackie O began to wear them again – paired with her infamous pillbox hats of course, they were back on the fashion radar.
Kitten Heels today:
Audrey Hepburn? Jackie O? It’s no wonder that kitten heels are a present day fashion staple. We’ve seen them on the runways of Prada, Valentino, and of course – Dior. With celebrity fans including Michelle Obama, Alexa Chung, and the Olsen twins, it’s no wonder that kitten heels are here to stay.