The “bubble up” fashion theory refers to the movement of an item from the street, or the bottom end of the market, to the top. Adopted by designers and arbiters of style, the appropriated article becomes high fashion. I was recently reminded of this phenomenon watching an old episode of award-winning Australian comedy series Kath & Kim. Suburban mother Kath Day-Knight appeared in her usual 1980s “look-at-me” garb, completed by a pair of white leather ankle boots. Once a signifier of unsophisticated taste, this footwear is now the dernier cri in fashion circles, with the ubiquity of white leather trainers helping to smooth the way.
With its elegant slanted heel, Balenciaga’s Talon Slash ankle boot (£790) is a sell-out design, popular among fashion editors – and hence street style photographers – outside the spring/summer 2019 shows. Another low kitten-heel style is the Coco leather ankle boot (£1,025) from fashion’s favourite minimalists, The Row. For more drama, the patent leather Rosetta Getty boot (£700) has a sculptural, curved kitten heel. And Chloé’s trademark studded ankle boot (£850) with a three-buckle fastening is available in white.
The cowboy boot has also been making a slow comeback over the past few seasons. Cowhand-to-couture footwear is another example of the trickle-up, low-to-high transition. Designed by Raf Simons, Calvin Klein’s 205W39NYC collection celebrates elements of the American West, and hence the cowboy boot is a recurring theme, including a white glossed leather version (£845). Joseph’s footwear collection features Albias, an off-white leather ankle boot (£520) with chunky wooden heel, while Maison Margiela has a classic western-inspired ankle boot (£830) with a pointy elongated toe.
For flat shoe aficionados, Hillier Bartley’s collaboration with Crockett & Jones is an appealing proposition: the label’s ivory Chelsea boots (£425) are available exclusively at Matchesfashion.com. Grenson’s calfskin Nora ankle boot (£240 from the spring/summer 2019 collection) has charm. And Swedish brand ATP Atelier’s striking Clivia Chelsea boot (£400) is available in white vegetable tan leather with a sporty, black Vibram rubber sole; perfect with a pair of cutting-edge joggers.