There’s a scene in the Sex and the City film where Carrie, rushing to comfort Miranda late one evening, leaves her apartment dressed in a (now iconic) combination of pyjamas, sequin beanie, fur coat and gleaming white heeled booties. I couldn’t help but wonder: is this the outfit we should be taking style inspiration from for the 2020 party season, rather than cocktail dresses and evening gowns? If so, Carrie’s spirit serves as motivation. Heels are cheering. Glittery ones even more so. 

Dolce & Gabbana grosgrain and crystal sandals, £675. Loewe calfskin and pearl Flower pumps, £895
Dolce & Gabbana grosgrain and crystal sandals, £675. Loewe calfskin and pearl Flower pumps, £895 © Maisie Cousins

Our urge to splurge on pick-me-up styles is apparent in recent shopping habits, confirms Cassie Smart, head of womenswear buying at MatchesFashion. “We’ve all been spending so much time in flat shoes over the past six months, but we have started to see that customers are investing in feel-good, more dressy styles of footwear to wear for special occasions,” she says. Smart points to Valentino’s ornate Atelier rose heeled pumps and Bottega Veneta’s padded intrecciato square-toe mules as bestsellers – both of which carry an air of classic glamour.

Prada leather and bead pumps, £1,410. Gucci satin, grosgrain and crystal pumps, £970
Prada leather and bead pumps, £1,410. Gucci satin, grosgrain and crystal pumps, £970 © Maisie Cousins
Dior tulle, grosgrain and strass J’Adior slingback pumps, £1,250
Dior tulle, grosgrain and strass J’Adior slingback pumps, £1,250 © Maisie Cousins

Edoardo Caovilla, CEO and creative director of Italian shoemaker René Caovilla, has similarly seen an increasing appetite for sumptuous party styles. One of the brand’s most glamorous stilettos, the pointed Juliette slingback, is currently among its bestsellers. He also notes the Virginie style, a heeled bootie bejewelled with black rhinestones, as one of his favourites for the season.

Lanvin leather and rhinestone J sandals, £755
Lanvin leather and rhinestone J sandals, £755 © Maisie Cousins
Aquazzura leather and crystal Tequila 105 sandals, £885. Emporio Armani leather and crystal sandals, £480
Aquazzura leather and crystal Tequila 105 sandals, £885. Emporio Armani leather and crystal sandals, £480 © Maisie Cousins

But we’re not compromising on comfort, notes Smart. Shoppers have been looking to Amina Muaddi’s curvaceous designs (favoured by Rihanna, no less), which provide glitz and stability in equal measure, with a thin stiletto that broadens into a wide-based heel at the bottom. Platforms have been a hit too, providing both comfort and the thrill of a high heel. Smart namechecks Aquazzura’s glittering Evita platform sandals and Gucci’s classic low platform, the Houdan ankle wrap sandal, as current bestsellers.

René Caovilla suede and rhinestone Virginie boots, £1,915. Giuseppe Zanotti leather Catia sandals, £572
René Caovilla suede and rhinestone Virginie boots, £1,915. Giuseppe Zanotti leather Catia sandals, £572 © Maisie Cousins
Clockwise from top left: Gucci satin, grosgrain and crystal pumps, £970. Dior tulle, grosgrain and strass J’Adior slingback pumps, £1,250. Dolce & Gabbana grosgrain and crystal sandals, £675
Clockwise from top left: Gucci satin, grosgrain and crystal pumps, £970. Dior tulle, grosgrain and strass J’Adior slingback pumps, £1,250. Dolce & Gabbana grosgrain and crystal sandals, £675. Photographer’s agency, Concrete Rep. Set designer’s agency, Webber Represents © Maisie Cousins

“Brands are paying more attention to heel height, and we have started to see more kitten styles appear for pre-spring/summer 2021 again,” reveals Smart. Loewe’s pearl-embellished flower leather kitten heels have only just landed on the website, she says, but they’re already flying off the shelves. These – and designs such as Malone Souliers’ gold-chain mules and JW Anderson’s low stilettos (which are adorned with a glorious, large diamanté hoop) – show that compromising on height doesn’t mean sacrificing on glamour or impact.

Whether for venturing out or dressing up to stay in, sparkly shoes are bound to lift the spirits. As Roger Vivier once said: “To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give a reality to one’s dreams.”

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