By Michelle Crowe
Audrey Hepburn wears kitten heel pumps as Holly Golightly in a still from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Oh how happy will our soiree-worn soles be to know that kitten heels are carrying over from fall favorite to spring 2018 stunner?
Jacqueline Onassis and Katharine Graham in walkable heels. Undated, uncredited photo.
For some, this sassy heel height is a perennial choice and for good reason. It’s polished and pretty, offering the femininity of a high heel with the added benefits of being walkable and easy to stand in for as long as a social hour may extend. In millennium-era interviews when he visited Chicago Michael Kors used to say it was an age-based choice. His theory was that every woman loved Manolo Blahnik’s Carolyne slingback in ring lizard, which is inspired by Carolyne Roehm. He laughed knowingly explaining that mothers in their 50’s and 60’s wore it in the 50 millimeter heel while their daughters towered in 105’s.
Tom and Nan Kempner. Note Nan’s 50 mm’s.
A bit of digging into fashion history unearths another theory, one that says the “kitten” came about in the 1950s as a sort of training heel for girls who weren’t yet ready for the emerging stiletto heel.
Taken together the two stories prove that mini heels are perfect for anyone at any age. They’re elegant, easy to wear and cooler than towering heels thanks to the built in insouciance and confidence they project.
Tippi Hedren in a still from The Birds. Hitchcock heroines wore lots of kitten heels thanks to Edith Head.
So many of our favorite style icons were devotees of the kitten heel and we simply refuse to believe that these timeless beauties weren’t wearing the most genius shoes around—and the most stable.
Mary Tyler Moore shows some leg and forgoes flats for kitten heels in a studio shot.
When making “just looking” rounds of the sale racks for the rest of the month or buying for the warmer days ahead purchase kitten heels with abandon. Many are highly embellished, disproving the notion that these are anything but shoes in which to be noticed. Anything from Miu Miu or the special Prada/Moda Operandi collaboration are likely to be loved by those who snap them up, regretted by those who don’t and remembered by style chroniclers for decades to come.