Head to YouTube and you'll find any number of 'catwalk fail' videos in which models lose their footing on the runway owing to the vertiginous – and increasingly ridiculous – heels designers put them in (with Naomi Campbell's 1993 stumble at Vivienne Westwood possibly the most famous of them all).
It’s these shoes – these towering, totter-inducing stilettos, platforms, and wedges – that are better built to star as the centrepiece of a shop window display than actually find their way onto someone’s feet – that fascinate the freelance fashion journalist behind the footwear fails account @larslala.
And fails they are. Whether it’s blistered balls stuffed into nude Louboutins or little-toes cliffhanging from an open-toed Dior platform, the whole point of the account is to, in his words, “point out the ridiculousness of heels,” although he’s quick to add that they make “everyone look beautiful – men too!”
@larslala started as a personal research account, but as its founder trawled Vogue’s catwalk archive and various other runway snap sites, he unearthed a countless number of poorly fitting shoes. “It’s just the fact that these successful designers spend millions putting on shows yet fail to make sure the shoes fit,” he continues, “so many of (the images) are from vogue.com, and it seems insane to me that a company like Vogue allows photos like this to go online?”
His captions also capture the feeling of these painful posts – “walking to work on Monday” beneath a broken heel, “when it’s cold out but you still wanna heaux” under a pair of Edwin Mohney toe-sock stilettos. We’ve all been there.
“Painfully footy!” is how he would describe their Instagram aesthetic, but the purpose? “To laugh mostly. And also as general research for myself. It’s fun to track these fails.”
And while it is admittedly funny, the painful shoe picture will forever be a fascinating critique of everything fashion’s built on: yes, the shoes are gorgeous, aspirational, powerful, glamorous – but is it really worth it for that they do to your feet? Especially when you’re dropping more than your rent on them?
The painful luxury shoe is the ultimate paradox, and the lesson we’ll never learn. And whether he’s here to teach us or not, @larslala is presenting the pain of pumps to remind us all that not all that glitters is gold. It’s actually red and blistered.