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History and evolution of the creepers shoes

From military clothing to haute couture

History and evolution of the creepers shoes From military clothing to haute couture

The iconic platform shoes have passed into the common imagination as a symbol of the punk subculture, but they are also a source of inspiration for brands such as Prada and Vivienne Westwood and have been animating the catwalks of high fashion in their most extravagant forms for decades.

Their latest appearance? Marni's Pre-Fall 2021, in which the rough hems of Scottish kilts, very high-waisted trousers, feather boas and gold smudges, coexist harmoniously with classic white or red snake-pattern creepers, creating a very modern and contemporary dark universe. at the same time with a retro taste.

Historically, the genesis and popularity of creepers is linked to military clothing and the world of music: when British soldiers returned from World War II battlefields in 1945 they still wore the same boots in durable suede, rigid soles and ice-resistant crampons. that the army had provided to deal with the difficult desert climate of North Africa. Veterans spent their nights frequenting night clubs and brothels on the streets of Soho and Kings Cross with these characteristic boots on, which soon became popular under the name of Brothal Creepers or simply creepers.

The footwear then began to be part of the uniform of the Teddy Boys, young people belonging to the British subculture of rock & roll and R&B enthusiasts, known for their colorful choices in terms of clothing. The creepers soon became so popular that in 1956 Elvis dedicated to them one of his most famous songs, Blue suede shoes. A few years later Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the Sex Pistols, also bought a pair of Mr. Freedom creepers in suede D-ring, being so enthusiastic that he ordered all the other models from the factory to sell them in the boutique he had just opened at 430 King's Road. along with his work and life partner, Vivienne Westwood.

From that moment, the shoe was adopted by subcultures such as indie, punk, goth, Japanese visual kei, was worn by Robert Smith (Cure frontman), Joe Strummer and Johnny Rotten, becoming in the common imagination the official symbol of rebellious aesthetics and underground culture.

After a period of oblivion in the 90s, the trend has come back into vogue several times since the 2000s thanks to the designers who over time have been able to give it an interpretation that is always different and current. Chanel for Summer 2013 launches a model in a sporty-chic key, gold creepers in metallic leather with white rubber sole, closure with laces and buckle with CC logo on the top, an iconic model sold out in all reselling platforms.

Alexander Wang in 2015 dedicated an entire show to them: the collection almost completely in shades of black was based on a raised shiny boot, a goth dream particularly appreciated by Rihanna, who immediately wore them on the streets of New York for less than a week after its launch and drew inspiration for the 2016 Fenty PUMA runway. Pop's favorite bad girl ousted Kanye West and her Yeezy Boost 350, winning the "Best Shoe of the Year" award, the footwear Oscars, with his famous Fenty Puma Creeper.

Prada, on the other hand, after having already experimented with the espadrilles version of 2011, launched in 2019 the lace-up model in brushed leather in the most disparate shades of color, from apple green to red.

From Saint Laurent Fall 2014 show to the extravagant Gucci model with the rainbow sole of 2017, to Yamamoto with the SS2018, to the model with the Comme des Garçons Homme buckle during the PFW 19, or from adidas Originals and Kazuki Kuraishi with the their mash-up between sneakers and creeper, to the elegant Monk Strap Creeper by Nicholas Daley & George Cox: the creepers have never ceased to amaze us. Versace, Valentino, Marc Jacobs have shown us with their latest fashion shows how platform models are now an integral part of the fashion DNA of the 22nd century, but it is precisely with the latest Marni collection, which returns to the classic model with rings and laces on sight, that we have confirmation that the creepers is a phenomenon destined to last forever.