Left to right: Marc Jacobs, Haider Ackermann, Christopher Kane and Paul Smith Spring 2012
The heels-or-flats debate may always divide opinion, but there is no denying that the right flat shoe has become a must-have item for even the most trend-conscious customer, thanks in no small part to the 'Flat Pack' --a host of style-savvy starlets like Kristen Stewart who like to keep their feet quite literally on the ground.
Leader of the Pack is undoubtedly Alexa Chung, the flat shoe's biggest celebrity ambassador and face of Italian plimsoll brand, Superga. If her love of brogues, loafers and pumps wasn't why the public voted her their 'Style Icon' for the second year running at the 2011 British Fashion Awards, then it certainly didn't do her any harm.
Flanking Miss Chung, Flat Pack regular Agyness Deyn's androgynous look has lent itself to lace-ups and boyfriend boots, while Fearne Cotton has lately favored Spatz-inspired loafers and purple Joker-chic treads. Bringing up the rear, Olivia Palermo has taken to stepping out in patent silver Derby shoes, whilst Gwen Stefani, Pixie Lott and Kelly Osbourne have all been leaving the heels at home and earning their Flat Pack stripes. Even rapper Nicki Minaj went against type and put aside her pop star platforms in favor of metallic hi-tops at the recent American Music Awards.
Designers, too, are embracing the fact not every woman is willing, or indeed able, to trot their way through the day, SJP-style, on six-inch spikes, as shown by the array of flats that strolled comfortably down the catwalks of the spring/summer shows.
Christopher Kane's acclaimed collection of flower-speckled shifts and skirts was accompanied by rubber-soled sandals with embroidered and jewel-encrusted straps. Elsewhere, Marc Jacobs showed two-tone loafers in his Twenties-tinged collection and came over a little Sporty Spice with multi-colored hi-tops for his diffusion line. Paul Smith's bright yellow and turquoise loafers were no less colorful than his classic tailoring and Acne's oversized tassels made theirs just as dramatic.
The foremost flat for spring, however, must be Haider Ackermann's brogue-clog hybrid. Presented in all manner of rich colors and intricate prints, there's a broque for every girl.
Expect to see them on the Flat Pack's feet come spring. Will you be joining them?