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step right up, up, up

If ever there were proof that high fashion requires a pain threshold of equal height, it's in this season's platform shoes. Having swelled to dizzying proportions, they're teetering off the catwalk and onto the sidewalk - though we can't imagine much meaningful striding in these.

step right up, up, up

"They're certainly ambitious for anyone to wear," says Susan Rolontz of the Tobe Report, a New Yorkbased group of trend analysts. "But these are the shoes that are influencing design."

At one end of the spectrum: Chanel's patent platform "peeptoes" in cork stitched with the venerable house's signature quilting.

At the other: Gucci's towering spikes. Designer Frida Giannini's spring collection was steeped in '60s sex appeal, and she accentuated her mod miniskirts with these mirroradorned suede sanŹdals.

"In reality, you've got your ballet flats that you wear, but you stop on the corner just before you get to wherever you're going and strap on these," Rolontz says. "I mean, isn't that why we have these big bags?"

So, ladies, climb aboard.

Cory Ohlendorf, Washington Post

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