Listen to "These Shoes Are Made for Walking"
Around Christmas, I decided it was high time I bought a new pair of winter shoes. I am not a high-heel fan and I have always stuck to sneakers, Dr. Martens, and in recent years to Magnum military dessert shoes. I started looking up the brand Lisbeth Sandler wears in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I was amazed when I found nothing. There were shoes inspired by hers, shoes that cost loads, but the truth is Lisbeth would have never bought expensive shoes. She was the type of girl who “probably got them from H&M”.
At that point, I started thinking about how the movie industry has influenced our view on fashion and how fashion benefits from our adoration before iconic characters. Having watched “The Big Lebowski”, I was headed to buy a pair of those utterly repulsive Jellies, I remember seeing people wearing them and others laughing at them, but I knew, as those people did, that wearing a brand in real life is a statement you make. Well, naturally, after the tremendous success of The Dude, the price of the Jellies skyrocketed.
Shoes become an iconic part of movies, and later – an object of worship for the fans. “The Wolf oh Wall Street” made fans of the movie go mad about Steve Madden’s shoes. Despite being presented with some mockery in the movie, The Wolf made Steve Madden the Star in women’s and men’s shoe fashion. Margot Robbie brought to life vintage shoes from the 80s, women went crazy about them, and the designers were quick to oblige. Few know that it took her weeks to fit into some of the pairs and that memorable scene with her shoe on Leo’s forehead? Well, she had to stretch those for two months because they were two sizes smaller than hers.
While talking about Margot Robbie, Tarantino’s fans will never forget and will look with longing at the white boots she wears in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. Rather ordinary, full-on 60s, Sharon Tate‘s style, probably expensive at the time, but with this part as Sharon Tate and with her part in Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie reminded women that boots can be white too and sexy as hell.
That being said, Tarantino loves his female characters barefoot most of the time and his foot fetish is often mentioned. However, Uma Thurman’s yellow sneakers in “Kill Bill” caused hysteric demand for the Oitsuka Tiger Mexico 66, which is still a rather expensive item to buy with a price up to 100 euro.
There is a lot to be said about Dr. Marten’s presence in movies. Ever since James Dean put on a pair, the tough boots intended for a completely different purpose slowly became a symbol of rebellion, and at the end of the 80-s and the beginning of the 90-s they were the most desired pair of shoes for people of all ages who had anything to do with and had taken a liking to grunge music and grunge style.
Because of their practicality and literally ever-lasting sole, they are still among the brands that enjoy the most attention amongst teens. Mine was 11 years old when I changed them simply because I moved to live in a place where even sandals were too hot on my feet, but soon after the release of “Singles”, a movie set in grunge Seattle, every teen was begging their parents to buy them a pair of the expensive brand.
We need not mention the massive influence of “Sex and the City” on shaping the attitude of the audience towards certain brands. The blue Manolo Blahnik shoes are the first pair one thinks of. If you are ready to kiss 1 300 euro goodbye, they are available and I should imagine the number of women, who possess this particular pair, is not small.
Sandy Powell‘s Cinderella’s glass slippers are among the first most expensive items Swarowski has ever offered, but don’t you worry – smaller companies have made successful replicas at a reasonable price. After all, paying millions for shoes is only for the privileged. Plus, women nowadays are less passionate when it comes to fairy tales.
The shoes one sees in “The Devil Wears Prada” are way too many, but the Chanel leather boots, covering the whole leg are something only Ann Hathaway can pull off. And speaking of high-knee boots, every woman wanted to be a good-hearted prostitute with great visions of the future, who meets a millionaire.
Yeah, the Pretty Woman looked kinky and confident in the black latex boots over the knee. They were entirely hand-made, but later, the shoe market was flooded with the design, some prices reaching up to two thousand euro. At the same time Matthew McConaughey ruins the rather expensive Guccies, Jennifer Lopez wears in the iconic scene in “The Wedding Planner”.
In her role as Marie Antoinette, Kristen Dunst wears quite a lot of dazzling shoes, but the Manolo Blahnik mules really set shoe-lovers on fire. I have no idea how much they would cost, but I suppose if you are a fan, you would know more than me.
Naturally, the most expensive pair of women’s shoes is the pair of ruby slippers Dorothy (played by Judie Garland) wears in “The Wizard of Oz”. Because of their iconic status, they are among the most expensive memorabilia in the film industry. A pair made of rubies was sold for 612 thousand a couple of decades ago, and later, a version was offered at the price of 2 million.
White sneakers settled in forever since “Dirty Dancing” came out. The Keds Jeniffer Grey wears in the movie are still fashionable and many brands produce them.
The same happened with every single pair Audrey Hepburn ever wore in a movie.
Of course, the shoes Rosa Cebb wears in “From Russia with Love”, starring Sir Sean Connery, are also a weapon. The dagger shoes are not for every woman, but we have seen quite a lot of actresses using the sharp stiletto for defense and attack. These shoes are made for walking, but not only, right?
Forest Gump ran three years in his Nike Cortez. Great product placement!
Nike Mags, which Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) puts on in “Back to the Future II” had the same sale-rocketing effect.
Tom Hanks in “A man with One Red Shoe” caused quite a stir among the male audience, many turning to red sneakers (but you know, in a whole pair).
In the iconic 1985 teen movie “The Goonies” Nike made another astounding appearance, as they did in “Jumanji” (1995) with the Perish Sneaker, later made available to the shoppers. Nike Vandals had the same triumphant success with “Terminator”, “White Men Can’t Jump”, as did Air Jordan 13 which Denzel Washington wears in “He Got Game”.
The MARVEL universe introduced quite a lot of shoe wear which was either their own design or collaboration with other designers. Do you know how Quicksilver can run like the wind? His superpower was supported by Adidas Prime with some additional design changes made by Marvel.
At the time “Aliens” came out, Reebok designed the iconic shoes Sigourney Weaver wears in the movie. The company was criticized for making only man-sized Alien-shoes and they went on to indulge the female fans, too.
The All-Star Converse has been around for quite a while, but in “I Robot”, we are reminded how great they are, when Will Smith takes a long look at them before putting them on.
Harvey Specter, probably the best-dressed man in TV shows, surprisingly relies on Oxford brogues. So does Raymond Reddington from “Black List”.
In “Joker” Joaquin Phoenix wears a pair of rundown two-toned Offord lace-ups, too, while Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” went for black latex shoes, made especially for the movie. His outfit is pretty difficult to recreate.
On the other hand, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) proudly shows the red soles of his devilishly sexy black Christian Labpoutines.
Cowboy shoes have had a stable presence in movies for… ever since the beginning of cowboy movies. They were different makes and designs and every time a great cowboy movie came out, the demand was expectedly high. Chippewa and Wesco engineer boots have been in fashion ever since Marlon Brando appeared in a pair of those in “Streetcar Named Desire”.
I can go on for ages, really, the list is far too long. Yet, there are movies where product placement is entirely excluded. As much as you want a pair of Neo’s or Trinity’s boots from the lobby scene, you cannot buy one at any price, because branding was not allowed in the movie.
You will get a replica, just as you will get a replica of any piece of clothing you see in Harry Potter movies. Sometimes, the movie industry sticks to the actual idea behind a film and does not allow commerce to interfere and sell its products. My deepest respect for that decision-making!
Truth is, the show industry helps fashion, creates fashion, and fashion, returning the favor, keeps the memory of a great movie alive. Sometimes it is planned and prepaid advertising, sometimes the very movie turns out surprisingly good and the designers go with its success, providing fans with memorabilia they simply must-have.
Both movies and fashion sell dreams, offer escapism. Yet, do they really? Let’s not forget that we live in times when people need their heroes, they need their hope kept alive, they need to believe they can be those heroes who will change the world, make it better, jump higher, run faster, outrun evil even not only in stilettos and in shoes made for the few privileged, but for those wearing sneakers from H@M for 15 euro a pair, or second-hand shoes with solid sole for a tenner.
We live in times where dreams are of the highest demand and we hold on to them till it bleeds.
It’s up to us what we choose to do, but as long as it’s for the good of everyone on this planet, I’d say run for it.
Run, Forest, run!