This whole story began with one shoe—specifically, a single heel from creative director Demna Gvasalia’s debut collection for Balenciaga. After spending hours drinking in and dissecting each look under Gvasalia’s new vision of the nearly century-year-old luxury brand, from the pulled-down puffers to the exaggerated boxy silhouettes, it was this stiletto planted underneath both patent boots and satin pumps (see above, top right) alike that had us riveted. The shape itself wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but how it was positioned was something to note—it was awkwardly and deliberately angled inward to create the illusion that it was broken. Subtle, discreet, yet completely fascinating.
And from there, we tasked ourselves with finding the most interesting heels from the fall 2016 runways. There were those unforgettable billion-inch-high skyscraper platforms from Marc Jacobs with a trunk of a heel that widened ever-so-slightly at the bottom, Rodarte’s pearlescent pointed cone, and Dries Van Noten’s wonderfully cylindrical heel—some draped with pearls, while others were blanketed in a shocking shade of violet. After a season of having to choose between a skinny or a block arrives a delightful buffet of heels in every shape, size, and form. But don’t just take our word for it—scroll through to see them for yourself.
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Of course J.W. Anderson can turn a concept as dated as a kitten heel into something so modern and cool—a super-skinny low block heel that’s still very lady, but with a 21st-century edge.
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Ruffles abound! The frills add on the sugar to a sleek cone heel.
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Francois G. Durand/WireImage
With a croc finish and a graphic stomp-tastic chunky heel that elegantly curves out into a wide bottom, this boot is the kind that demands attention.
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This is no ordinary cone, thanks to its gilded graphic outline and a skinny metal bar that deliberately protrudes from underneath.
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A mirrored cylinder bent every so slightly to create a distorted “house of mirrors” effect.
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Crush anything and anyone in your way with billion-inch skyscraper-high platforms that boast a trapezoid-shaped heel.
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The glove shoe gets a lift with a contrasting triangular heel. Minimal, with maximum impact.
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Curved on the outside, straight-and-narrow on the inside, this heel gives the illusion of jutting out from underneath the sole.
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Traditionally, a stacked heel follows the line of the heel counter, but this one has shrunk in size and centered directly underneath for a neat, refreshing spin on the block.
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Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/FilmMagic
This one’s a beaut—a pearlescent pointed cone that doubles as a work of art.
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Creative director Demna Gvsaslia introduced a new heel for his debut Balenciaga collection for fall—the “broken” stiletto awkwardly and deliberately angled inward for a discreet, but completely fascinating effect.
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Dries Van Noten
A spherical ball and an asymmetric cylindrical shape make up Dries Van Noten’s unforgettable heel shape for fall 2016. While some were draped with pearls, others were blanketed in a shocking shade of violet.
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Versace’s silver hardware—the trapezoid heel shape and zipper detailing—gives this pointed bootie the right amount of futuristic appeal.