Is it Easy to Wear Cinderella’s Slippers? Vogue Tries 3 Pairs of Trendy Transparent Shoes to Find Out
The transparent shoe trend finds its stride for Spring 2023 with scores of see-through iterations across runways and social media. But just how easy is it to wear Cinderella’s slippers?
Fashion is entering its revenge era of dressing, claiming back time lost and plenty of feel-good opportunities missed. In this phase of sartorial serotonin, bold silhouettes, bright colors, and playful trends reign supreme. For this season’s biggest footwear trend, that feeling has materialized in the transparent shoe. Pairs of Cinderella-esque embellished footwear, that through a clever use of materials, give the effect of a glass-like slipper. “Transparent shoes are the foot’s answer to the sexy, barely-there dressing we are seeing across the ready-to-wear collections; it’s an ode to the 90s PVC a la old-school Mugler,” notes Josie Gardner, head of accessories at Harrods. The transparent shoe trend, adopted by Amina Muaddi, Loewe, Valentino, and Mach & Mach to name a few, has an innate sense of playfulness about it – in part due to the people popularizing the trend: Kendall, Bella, and Rihanna. And in part to its association with the continued Barbiecore trend that has turned the whole world shiny. But is plastic really fantastic? Vogue slips into three of the most in-demand pairs of the season to find out.
Follies Swarovski Crystal Embellished Flats, Christian Louboutin
A modern-day Cinderella wouldn’t be waiting for their Prince Charming to deliver this season’s hottest shoe. They would be heading to Harrods’ hall to buy whatever brings them joy. So that’s exactly what I did, kicking off with Christian Louboutin’s crystal mesh pointed flat. If you are looking for an entry point into this trend, I whole-heartedly advise starting here. As transformative as those Cinderella slippers, the Louboutin flat immediately gave me an elevated feeling – something not always accessible in a flat shoe. The color of the mesh and its corresponding trimming were tonal enough to blend into my skin tone, and to my delight gave an overall subtle iridescence. But it was the cut of the shoe that really sold this pair to me. While the embellished mesh shows flashes of foot, the considerate cut allows for even more skin visibility, creating a supremely elegant feel. Where I had expected the point of these shoes to pinch my wider-than-average feet, the mesh fabric made for a much more comfortable fit. Supported by a solid suede heel, my foot felt entirely carried. The heel height is low – just off the floor – but distinctive enough to feel like a shoe and not a slipper (sorry Cinderella). Most of all, I was enticed by the versatility of the Christian Louboutin flat. The transparent footwear trend has a habit of really shining at night, but these shoes bring it effectively into daytime dressing too. Wear them peeking beneath slouchy-legged denim, or cropped tailoring for elevated every day. When I really want to let them shine, I’ll be teaming them with metallic leather trousers and oversized shirting.
Antigone Plexi Platform Heels, Andrea Wazen
It’s been a while since taste makers have been opting for Perspex platforms, (except for Lady Gaga who has long kept the style in her rotation). The transparent variety has been co-opted by high fashion brands such as Valentino and Dilara Findikoglu to become the accessory du jour. Before I’ve taken even a step in Andrea Wazen’s platforms, I’ve scored 10 sartorial points. With a newfound respect for the community of people who can not only walk in these shoes, but perform in them, I set about trying to center myself on the platform. Due to the constraints of the PVC, I would consider a size up in these. The material had very little give. Which on a positive note helped my feet feel secure, but also meant it took a moment to acclimatize to such a solid structure. The shoe was reassuringly sturdy, and while I won’t be running down a taxi in these, I could confidently stride enough paces to go from car to dinner. The downside is what I’m dubbing the “clear condensation” – should your feet get warm in this pair, you will be exposed via steamy toes. Until that cloudy moment, I cherished how truly en vogue the Andrea Wazen platforms made me feel.
Crystal-embellished PVC Mules, Mach & Mach
At the forefront of the transparent shoe trend is Tbilisi-based Mach & Mach, whose glittering offerings of footwear are making waves on social media. What I have come to learn about clear shoes with uppers predominantly constructed from PVC, or any other rigid fabric, is that they are completely unforgiving. There is no wiggle room; none. This trend is biased towards narrow feet, and regrettably most wide shapes are going to struggle jumping aboard the Cinderella train. However, Mach & Mach’s squaretoe mule with its wide front strap is slightly more pliable, and once I had shimmied my foot under the PVC I found that the shape was more accommodating than most. But be warned they take some breaking in. As inviting as the crystal-embellished iridescent mule is, the PVC bites back. The sharp edges were initially harsh against my skin, and though this does eventually soften, it takes some perseverance. Another benefit of the mule shape means that your toes are free to breathe – a crucial discovery on my transparent shoe journey. Unless you dunk your feet into buckets of ice beforehand, are being chauffeured with cool air blowing on your toes, have naturally cold feet, or all the above, any closed-toe variety without ventilation will steam up. Thankfully all condensation is avoided here. “SS23 was all about the Perspex shoe courtesy of Valentino and Gucci, however it’s brands like Larroudé and Mach & Mach that are at the top of my wish list for the season – they are a vibe,” says Hollie Harding, womenswear buying manager at Browns Fashion.
Originally published in the March 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia
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