When Emily Dickinson wrote “Hope is the thing called feathers” just over 150 years ago, she never could have imagined that plumed evening slippers would one day revolutionize the 21st-century fashion scene. But the rebellious impulse, as the belle of Amherst surely knew, can express itself in many ways—sometimes it is as weighty and lengthy as an epic poem, sometimes as heavy as your heart as you attend yet another demonstration, sometimes as light and goofy as the big pink bow on a Roger Vivier satin slide, a cartoon homage to that musty old notion of femininity.
Who says being an elegant grown-up means having to strap your toes into vertiginous prison cells, forcing you to hobble from Uber to entrance? Why can’t you sneak out of a black-tie dinner without your little piggies shrieking ouch, ouch, ouch all the way home? No one—not us, not Emily!—is saying you must banish your stilettos if you really, truly think they are fun to wear. But almost exactly a century after American women fought and died for the right to vote, we can at last feel free to frost our evening frocks with ferocious flats and kooky clogs: Attico’s rhinestone-fringed babies; bejeweled sneaker-sandals by Jeffrey Campbell; Simone Rocha’s satin dolls; Nicholas Kirkwood’s silver oxfords with pearl-encrusted heels—all ready and set to go dancing and stomping.