Author(s): Ivan Vartanian
The high-heeled shoe conjures self-assured allure and erotic intoxication like no other item of women's wear. Just recently the high heel has undergone a massive resurgence in popularity, in part reinventing itself through an overt invoking of fetish, with which the heel has of course always had some relationship. Built around a selection of images of heels from contemporary photography, "High Heels: Fashion, Femininity and Seduction" explores the confluence of art, fashion and fetish in the cult of high heels swooping down the fashion show runways and city streets everywhere. Illustrated with works from photographers such as Guy Bourdin, Juergen Teller, Bettina Rheims, Marilyn Minter, Tim Walker, Steven Klein, David Lachapelle and Vanessa Beecroft, among many others, "High Heels" also includes several important texts: an essay by Valerie Steele on the industry forces behind high-heel design; Tim Blanks of Style.com interviews Manolo Blahnik and Nicholas Kirkwood; Philip Delamore describes the technological developments behind the extreme contours of recent shoe design; Stella Bruzzi on high heels, gender, and representation in film; and an introduction by Ivan Vartanian, in conversation with James Crump, discusses the high heel as a vehicle for discussing a fetish for photography in general. "High Heels" is a visual odyssey through the powerful ideas of beauty, danger and seduction that the high heel evokes.