Vivienne Westwood (born in England, 1941) is a widely respected contemporary fashion designer who is known for her idiosyncratic designs. The pair of platform 'gillie' shoes are typical of her quirky designs that reinterpret traditional dress. Apart from the type of lacing at the vamp, Westwood's shoes bare little resemblance with the traditional gillie worn by Scottish Highland dancers. Rather, Westwood's shoes with their extreme heel and concealed plaform are reminiscent of fetish footwear. The juxtaposition of the traditional with the taboo is characteristic of Westwood's subversive designs.
The shoes were designed as part of Westwood's Anglomania' collection Autumn/Winter 1993 and received much publicity when the supermodel, Naomi Campbell fell on a London catwalk when wearing them. Westwood first designed shoes when she was in partnership with Malcolm McLaren. For their shop 'Sex' they sold stiletto shoes with leopard print uppers inspired by 1950s design. When her own label was established in 1980, Westwood designed two new shoes for each collection until 1988 when she standardised her shoe designs. With each collection since then, she has gradually exaggerated the basic style. The 'Super elevated gillie' which has a 9 inch heel and 4 inch platform was originally shown in the 'Portrait' collection of 1990. Westwood gets her handmade shoes made in the East End of London.
Vivienne Westwood began designing in 1971, helping her partner Malcolm McLaren and using their shop in London's King's Road as a showcase for their ideas. Their designs have been widely influential particularly with the development of the punk aesthetic and New Romantics Movement. Vivienne Westwood launched her own fashion house in 1980 and shows her collection in both London and Paris. Her designs are still considered influential and she is widely acknowledged as one of the most important designers of the late 20th century.
Vivienne Westwood is a very influential fashion designer and her designs are often imitated. The concealed platform on her elevated shoes has been widely copied.