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Heels on a high

This winter, high-heels promise to be in vogue with even pump wearers finding themselves standing taller than ever.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2007 15:20 IST

"I want to take you higher" seems to be the motto adopted by shoe designers for the winter season 2007-08.

Expect an onslaught of high-heeled boots and booties, and even pump wearers will find themselves standing taller than they have done for years.

The practicality of higher heels for trudging through snow and ice pumps is debatable, but such elegant footwear is certainly flattering to wear, and that is important since the hottest fashion trends for men and women are all about showing off the feet and legs to the best effect.

Women's pencil skirts, leggings, skinny jeans and wider tops today's new silhouettes and no-frills clothes designs provide more scope for adding glamour to an outfit by wearing distinctive shoes and bags.

"Accessories can be used to make a statement too and bring some colour to an outfit too", said Jelena Juric, who works for the Frankfurt-based rag trade magazine Textilwirtschaft.

"More volume is the emphasis for women's tops and blouses while skirts are body-hugging. This is great for shoe fashion since it puts the feet and legs in the spotlight", said Katharina Martin of the Deichmann shoe chain based in Essen.

The vogue for geometric design in clothing is reflected in equally clear-cut lines for shoes. According to the GDS international shoe and leather goods show in Dusseldorf, the 2007/08 season will be characterised by almost sculptured, architectural shapes.

"Minimised forms and high quality materials are set to play a prominent role in shoe trends for the coming winter season," predict the GDS fashion scouts.

"Lavish and high shine finishes are big this winter," said Andreas Rose, a stylist from Frankfurt. Metallic finishes are also talk of the town, with silver and discreet mineral hues to the fore. Golden, bronze and coppery tones are expected to dominate for special occasions.

Meanwhile the colour spectrum of the new winter shoe materials is essentially dark, with black and a variety of dark browns taking over, say the experts at the Salamander shoe company in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Highlights are provided by red, purple and ultramarine blue and green.

High quality nappa, suedes, shiny brush and patent leathers exude an air of luxury along with the higher heels. Flat, rounded ballerinas are set to remain popular this winter too and sporting boots will also have their place on the shelves, yet a new mood of extravagance is in the air.

"Elegance is back again and extra-high heels are all the rage," said Jelena Juric, summing up the current direction. The new restrained look bans too many decorative details and so all eyes turns to the shape of heels themselves.

These range from chunky block forms to cone-like tapered versions and massive platform soles. The latter have inspired designers to use their imagination to the full.

"Some of them are virtual works of art", said Stefanie Koehn, a hairdresser and fashion advisor, commenting on the outlandish designs seen such as asymmetrically stacked plateaus.

There is not only a large selection of different heels to choose from, the types of different shoe on sale for the autumn and winter months have grown considerably in number too. Pumps, ballet flats and ankle boots are at the forefront of fashion, according to the German Shoe Institute in Offenbach.

Alongside them are the so-called dandy slip-ons and lace-ups, which bear a strong resemblance to men's loafers, and knee-high boots with stiletto-like heels. Ankle boots were "must haves" for dedicated followers of fashion last winter.

"Now they have really taken off", said Stefanie Koehn. The classic 1980s shoe style has returned with a vengeance with lace-up, slip-on and zip-up versions on offer. Knee-high boots are not being neglected either, although the popularity of the ankle boot has put them in the shade a little.

"From a fashion point of view they are still important though," said Kathy Wenderoth, a buyer with the Goertz shoe company in Hamburg. She sees them as ideally complementing cardigans and straight trousers.

The combination of pumps and platform soles works well this autumn and winter and despite the coming cold, peep toes have also lost none of their allure. Those open-toe Mary Janes - the name given to a shoe style once reserved for children - are available in all sorts of versions too.

Just because the temperature drops there is no need to hide the toes either, thanks to what was once regarded as a fashion taboo, namely wearing open-toe shoes with thick tights or socks.

"Wool is the best bet," said Andreas Rose. The woolly warmers are best worn in dark colours and see-through ones are still to be avoided.

"You can even wear two sets of socks over each other - such as fishnet and wool - to create your own patterns", says Rose.