The entire gait of the French woman has changed with her footwear. Instead of the bouncing buttocks and mincing steps of ‘pre-war,’ there is a hot-foot long stride, picking up the whole foot at once.
– Lee Miller (1907-1977), American fashion model, journalist, and photographer.
This quote dates from circa 1944.
Ms. Miller started her career in fashion as a model. She crossed paths with luminaries such as Man Ray and soon explored photography, which was not unfamiliar to her as her father was an avid photographer. In the 1940s she was hired by Vogue magazine and sent to Europe to cover the war. Hence this quote.
The reason for the heavy-footed gait of the French woman? During the war across Europe leather was in very short supply and so other materials were used for shoes. Wood and cork were common alternatives and the wedge silhouette became popular. There’s not much we can do in a wedge shoe than pick up the whole foot!
Speaking of the wedge, it’s back … again. Not that it ever really went away since its reappearance in the 1970s. But the fashion mags say the trend is bigger this season.