The Flat Shoe

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When officials turned away women who weren’t wearing high heels at a gala screening of Todd Haynes’ Carol at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the organizers were woefully arrière-garde – because in recent seasons there has been a noticeable return to flats. On the catwalks, designers from Prada to Louis Vuitton have embraced flats, from wedges and ballet pumps to the edgy green point-toe Nicholas Kirkwood shoe photographed here. Catherine Deneuve became the Queen of Flats after wearing a pair of Roger Vivier pumps in the 1967 movie Belle de Jour. They became a huge hit, and Vivier sold 200,000 pairs in one year. Such shoes are popular, says the label’s designer Bruno Frisoni, because “they are like jewels for the feet: subtle and powerful, sexy but never garish”. But then, as Deneuve herself pointed out, women of her class and era would never have dreamed of wearing heels. “One cannot walk properly in very high heels,” she said. “But also, we believed that having a natural allure was the most important thing.” Cannes, take note.