High fashion sneakers? Chanel, Dior send couture kicks down Paris runway.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chanel's models wore custom running shoes with each outfit, while Dior's Haute Couture Fashion Week collection included three pairs of sporty and sparkly slip-ons. Will upscale tennis shoes replace high heels as the favorite footwear?

The models who showed off Chanel’s latest couture collection in Paris Tuesday had an extra spring in their step.

Why? They were all wearing sneakers instead of stilettos.

Karl Lagerfeld, the French fashion house’s outspoken, sunglass-wearing creative director, decided to pair each of his looks with matching, upscale running shoes.

“In the history of fashion, around 1800 to 1840 or 1845, women had flat shoes. Even with a ball gown, they had flat shoes," Lagerfeld said in a video interview posted on Chanel’s website.

 

The sneakers gave the show a youthful and athletic feel. The models, some of whom were wearing corsets, skipped down the stairs to the runway. The sophisticated sportswear spirit was furthered by accessories like knee and elbow pads.

 

Chanel’s custom kicks were made by atelier Massaro, and it reportedly took at least 30 hours to complete each pair.

But Chanel wasn’t the only design house to embrace sporty chic footwear. Dior’s runway show on Monday included a few pairs of bedazzled slip-on sneaker-like shoes. These looked more like aqua socks, but they still seemed like a more comfortable alternative to high heels.

Fashion fans rejoiced when they saw that these high-end brands were showing comfy couture footwear. Does this mean the days of suffering for the sake of high fashion are over?

Maybe. Chanel’s luxe sneakers will be available for purchase — but only if you buy the whole couture look, the company told Fashionista.

The price tag will likely be around 3,000 euros ($4,100)

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