Thursday, January 31, 2013

High Heeled Wheels

John Fluevog Shoes are known for their offbeat designs and bizarro Hobbit mushroom shoes, but the most exciting development in Fluevog’s designs is the return of the platform shoe, i.e. high heels for men. I reported in an earlier blog (“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”) about the Fluevog Perry boot with its blue snakeskin design and 3-inch heels.

It was followed up by the Prince George (pictured down below), Fluevog going even more extreme with a 4-inch heel, and boy is it solid. To date I jumped off a stage with them on, drove my Prius through downtown Los Angeles on a Friday night with them and neither I nor the shoes were damaged.

Egged on, no doubt by robust sales Fluevog followed up these classics with a newer design, the unisex Swordfish Edwardian boot. The Fluevog press release describes it as thus: “An iconic Fluevog line from the 80s, popularized by its distinctive pointed toe shape, The Swordfish has been re-imagined by John into this killer boot. Using tough, aged Texas leathers, tunite soles, instep zippers, straps and buckles, it's no wonder The Swordfish are cherished and collected by Fluevogers everywhere. The Edwardian also includes a 3.5" leather-wrapped Cuban heel that brings the Fluevog flair way over-the-top”. As far as I’m concerned it can never go too way over the top, but then again I’m a graduate of Rodney’s English Disco, Class of 1973.

Coincidentally, last week BBC News ran a piece online called “Why Did Men Stop Wearing High Heels?” The article, written by William Kremer submits the revelation that high heels were originally designed for men in Persia as a form of riding footwear.

"When the soldier stood up in his stirrups, the heel helped him to secure his stance so that he could shoot his bow and arrow more effectively," said Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario. “A wave of interest in all things Persian passed through Western Europe. Persian style shoes were enthusiastically adopted by aristocrats, who sought to give their appearance a virile, masculine edge that only heeled shoes could supply. As the wearing of heels filtered into the lower ranks of society, the aristocracy responded by dramatically increasing the height of their shoes - and the high heel was born”.

The most notorious wearer of high heels at the time was Louis XIV of France, who was a wee 5’4” and sported 4-inch heels to enhance his physical stature. The article also states that his soles were always red, yup, just like Christian Laboutin’s signature look!

By the 17th Century women in Europe were adopting men’s style into their fashions, and you guessed it, high heels made the transfer. During the Enlightenment men renounced luxurious trappings like excessive jewelry and looking more, well punk rock so their heels got shorter for utilitarian reasons.

According to the article high heels were phased out of society not just by men but also by women, as well, and didn’t make a fashion comeback until, believe it or not, French porno produced in the early 20th Century. Some of this sounds kind of far-fetched, but the truth is always stranger than fiction. And nothing could possibly stand in the way between me and my new high-heeled Fluevogs!


The fetish club scene has suffered two significant losses in the past few months: that of John Napier,lead singer of Ethyl Meatplow, and James Stone, of the Fetish Ball, which not only hosted leather & rubber fashion shows but also hosted bands like The Cramps and The Specimen, as well.

John Napier’s death was announced on November 11, 2012(11/11, how weird)from a drug overdose. I remember seeing Ethyl Meatplow performing at The Fuck Club and John being the best thing about the show. He had all the most important elements to being a great performer: he was dynamic, funny and always surprising to watch on stage. Plus he did a better version of “Close To You” than The Carpenters, so there.

I also remember John as being a gracious and funny guy. We had dinner together on Santa Monica Boulevard (where else?) and had a lot of laughs. There was none of this bullshit band rivalry or jealousy being served at all, so I have nothing but friendly memories of him, and offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

James Stone sadly passed on January 23, 2013, from bladder cancer. His well-deserved notoriety was from promoting all those great Fetish Balls usually held at Parkview Plaza and sometimes at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The Fetish Ball, for people who haven’t gone, is a sort of fetish fair where leather and rubber goods (read as S&M or B&D) were sold by vendors like us and fetish fashion shows and actual goth-glam-trash bands played. James always got us a good spot to sell our corsets, bustiers, bracelets, chokers and extras to all those kinky kids.

We later did a lot of cool business with him when he was a buyer at The Pleasure Chest, the sex store on Santa Monica Boulevard (where else?). He was always pretty down-to-earth and easy to work with, not to mention generous with his contacts for us, a class act all the way. While I’m not given to making sweeping statements like the Golden Era of Hollywood Punk Fetish is over, the lights on the seedy streets of Santa Monica Boulevard and evil Silver Lake will be a lot less bright and glittery than they used to be, and these real gone geezers will be terribly missed.

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