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The Stiletto Story

The Stiletto Story

Who doesn't love to wear a great pair of stilettos from time to time?  Red, yellow, purple, or spiked stiletto heels to name a few.  There are so many patterns and colors to choose from, but where to start?  Right here, where it began!  Friends, the second best to running shoes (might be debatable), the story of the stiletto.

 Painting of a classic black stiletto

Painting of a classic black stiletto

For those that don't know, a stiletto is a short name for stiletto heel which is a long, thin, high heel found on boots and women's dress shoes.

Manolo Blanik classic black stiletto

This popular heel is named after a stiletto dagger, which was first known in the early 1930s.  Stiletto heels vary in length from one to ten inches and are close to half an inch in diameter.  Stiletto-style heels that are two inches or shorter are known as a kitten heel and not considered a true stiletto heel because of it's height.

 A "real" stiletto heel has a stem of solid steel or alloy.  The most common method of production is by molded plastic with an internal metal tube for reinforcement, which is much harder to achieve a true stiletto shape.  This shoe sounds so strong-willed, don't you think so?

Classic outline of stiletto heels

Photographic evidence exists of a Parisian singer Mistinguett from the 1940s wearing stilettos. The shoes were designed by a man named Andre Perugia, who began designing shoes in 1906.  Perugia was the first documented designer of the high, slim stiletto heel.

 A Stiletto dagger

A Stiletto dagger

The word stiletto is derived from stiletto, which is a long thin blade, similar in profile to the heel of the shoe.  It was spotted in print in the New Statesman magazine in 1959, "She came ...forward, her walk made lopsided by the absence of one heel of the stilettos."

 Various styles of stiletto heels

Various styles of stiletto heels

After a short period of popularity in the 1950s, they reached their most refined shape in the early 1960s.  The toe box of the stiletto became slender and more elongated as the heel took it's pointed shape.  The overall sharpness of it's outline, it became common for women to refer to the whole shoe as a "stiletto".  You might say, harder to walk in!  

 A Blanik beauty

A Blanik beauty

A version of the stiletto heel was reintroduced in 1974 by Manolo Blahnik, who marketed his new heel as the "Needle".  

 A beautiful piece of art

A beautiful piece of art

Sharp as a blade, smart as a tack, and as fierce as ever when paired with a power suit.  Reinforced with steel and guaranteed to keep you sharp all day.  These shoes are amazing but i think we need a whole other story on how to walk in stilettos!  The stiletto has a strong history that is built to last and doesn't dissapoint, the only dilemma, which one to chose?

 

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