The Millionaire shoe set a new red-carpet standard in opulence in 2002 – and the footwear wizard has done it again.
It’s a modern-day fairytale to warm the heart…and put a covetous glint in the eye. Every year, fabulous footwear designer Stuart Weitzman picks a rising star to be his ‘Hollywood Cinderella’ and wear his latest eye-wateringly costly shoes to the Academy Awards. As every paparazzo knows, this event doubles as America’s premier catwalk event to rival all the Fashion Weeks put together. The first ‘Cinders’ was Laura Harring, Oscar-nominated for her role in Mulholland Drive, who hit the red carpet in 2002 wearing Weitzman’s iconic Platinum Guild sandals. Encrusted with 464 diamonds set in pure platinum and worth a cool $1,090,000, her dates on the big night were three burly security guards.
The whole idea of the Million Dollar Shoe grabbed the world’s imagination and caused a global media frenzy that made Weitzman a permanent fixture on the Hollywood radar. He has designed a special Oscar series most years since – in fact, celebrities such as Eva Mendez, Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé, Kate Winslet and Angelina Jolie have all turned to Stuart Weitzman shoes to carry them through their red-carpet moment.
This year, he marked the tenth anniversary by doing it all over again with a clever new take on the original: the Millionairess is the name he gave to this most recent confection: strappy, skyscraper sandals of such exquisite delicacy that they send not just a frisson, but a veritable tidal wave of excitement over women everywhere – and not just women, either. Cleverly reprising the original with an updated, contemporary spin, the Millionairess is a triumph of skilful engineering: a vertiginous, needle-sharp stiletto soars to meet the sole, held to the foot by slender straps studded with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, and finished on top with a tear-drop diamond.
Truth be known, we women enjoy swooning over shoes almost as much as wearing them. Luckily for us, then, legendary fashion photographer Mario Testino has captured them for posterity on the feet of lissome, leggy supermodel Natalia Vodianova. The effect is a winning combination of deeply sexy and ultra tasteful – the only difference is that this time round, in a nod to the rather different global circumstances, he has put the brakes on excess. The Millionairess is not an outrageous splash – it’s a thoughtful take on an earlier statement at the relatively affordable price of $595.