Decoding The Importance Of Footwear And Why Heels Are A Compulsion At International Red Carpets

What is the one thing that is common at all international red carpet events? Well, apart from the glitz and glamour, the enormous scale on which they are organised and the fact that everybody is dressed in designer garments, the one thing that is common among the women is that they all sport towering heels.

Most red carpet events have strict fashion rules, especially for women. The Cannes International Film Festival mandates that women wear heels for screenings, although there is no mention about the height of the heels.

In 2015, there were reports that some women who turned up for the screening of Carol at Cannes were turned away for not wearing heels. Later, a festival spokesperson clarified that the security had made a mistake. Women who do not adhere to the given dress code, including the mandatory 'footwear rule', ultimately have to bear the consequences.

But, some women make their own rules. They are the fashion rebels. For them, comfort comes before style. And we have seen glimpses of a few women who have refused to give in and have even dared to walk the red carpet barefoot to register their protest.

In 2016, actress Julia Roberts walked the Cannes red carpet completely barefoot for the premiere of Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster. By doing so, the actress registered her protest against the 2015 'Heelgate' controversy.

Recently, actress Kristen Stewart too voiced her opinion on the mandatory high heels for women attending red-carpet screenings. Stewart told Hollywood Reporter in an interview, "if you're not asking guys to wear heels and a dress, you cannot ask me either."

Recently, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and supermodel Gigi Hadid flaunted their flats at two different red carpet events. While Gadot turned up in flats for the premiere of her hit film Wonder Woman, Hadid rocked a pair of sparkling Stuart Weitzman loafers at the CFDA awards.

And while all of them looked amazing showing off their comfortable yet stylish footwear, it was the missing heels that had caused several fashion critics to raise their eyebrows.

So, we got on board with us Neha Kumthekar, Co-Founder Oceedee, an accessible luxury footwear brand for women in India that allows its clients to customise their shoes through its online design studio, to know about the importance of footwear in the overall look of a person and to decode why heels are a compulsion for women at red carpet events.

"Shoes are an integral part of the fashion ensemble. You can tell a lot about a person from the kind of shoes they are wearing. Women more than men, have a special affair with their shoes. Shoes are like small islands of emotions for them. They are everything she is or wants to be," said Neha Kumthekar in an exclusive interview to when asked about the importance of footwear in the overall look of an individual.

On being asked why is there a compulsory stilettos rule for women at red carpet events, Kumthekar said that it's probably because heels complement formal dress code. "Most of the red carpet events have a formal setting. Heels complement formal dress code, especially gowns beautifully, and hence are often the go-to styles for such events. Furthermore, high heels accentuate legs and body posture adding a sensual glamour to the ensemble."

When asked if flats would replace heels at international events in the near future given that it is gradually becoming a trend to break the stereotype and sport flats, Kumthekar mentioned that she does not see that happening. She said that flats will never replace heels and added that for celebrities it was more about creating a unique identity for themselves and not just about following the trend.

She, however, added: "The organisers will have to be less stringent on these rules."

"The requirement is of a 'smart footwear' which can be interpreted very differently by people. A lot of flats as well give a formal look to your outfit. As long as the shoes do not go against the dress code of the event, for example walking in wearing beach wear or flip flops, the invitees should be allowed by the organisers."

Oceedee has had successful designer collaborations for Lakme Fashion Week, India Couture Week, and has dropped a pin on the global map with its collaboration with Indian designer, Rahul Mishra at the Paris Fashion Week for his S/S'17 and A/W'17 collection. The brand's innovation in design was also recognised at the International Fashion Showcase 2017, London where the company designed shoes in collaboration with designer label, Kaleekal.​

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