In the mid-1950s, Vivier was employed as a cobbler for the prestigious fashion house of Christian Dior. To accentuate the Dior gowns being designed during that period, Vivier produced shoes that created the illusion of longer, sleeker legs. The shoe style was -- and remains -- nike air max popular because it combines the delicate nature of a thin heel with the provocative assertion of height. International museums, including Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Germany's Deutsches Ledermuseum, have staged critically acclaimed exhibits of Vivier's handiwork. His personal clients included the barrier-breaking performer, Josephine Baker, and Queen Elizabeth II. He brought skills learned in elite sculpting classes to his mastery of shoe making.

Stiletto Innovators

While they may not have gained the level of exposure and commercial success that Vivier (1913 -1998) did as the signature shoe designer for the house of Dior, there are other legendary names in fashion renowned for their exploration of the stiletto aesthetic. In the 1940s, the Parisian shoemaker Andre Perugia was acclaimed for creating footwear that appeared to be without heels for the star stage performer, Mistinguett. And in 1947, nike free 5 0 the Italian immigrant Salvatore Ferragamo won the the coveted Neiman Marcus Award for innovation, thanks to shoes with heels that appeared "invisible" compared to the blocky heels most women wore.

Iconic Stilettos

Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner made stiletto part of the official uniform for Bunnies who served as hostesses at his signature nightclubs during their heydays of the 1960s. Stiletto heels have made enigmatic cameos in memorable Hollywood films: In the suspense film "Single White Female" (1992), a stiletto was used as a murder weapon; Elizabeth Taylor stole a scene in "BUtterfield 8" (1960) by stabbing her heel into a man's foot; and Jane Mansfield, star of "The Girl Can't Help" (1956), gave the style a boost when she admitted to own hundreds of pairs. For more than half a century, stilettos have embodied sex appeal and figments of female strength.

Modern Masters

Several shoe brands with distinctive characteristics currently dominate conversation and consumer devotion surrouding stilettos heels. Among them are: Jimmy Choo, with their exceedingly high arches and customary straps over the forefoot; Christian Loubutin, with their trademarked red soles; nike free and the Italian labels Versace, Gucci, Fendi and Prada, which constantly push the envelope of putting women's best elevated foot forward.