Crystal stuffed platform shoes

Bette Midler strutted her considerable stuff in these

Big initial MIt wasn’t a sophisticated Frenchman, an outrageous Englishwoman, or a sexy Italian shoe designer who brought sky-high, crazily decorated wooden platforms to America’s glam rock crowd in the 1970s. It was a man with the workaday name of Fred Slatten, who opened his shop in a former Santa Monica, CA, pet store.

The folks on The Fashion Spot blog put it best:

“On any given day, you could walk in and find a pair of heels eight inches high, festooned with 5,000 rhinestones. Those cost about $275. Some pairs came decoupaged with David Bowie’s face and other pairs housed live goldfish or teeny-tiny birds inside the wedge. Sonny and Cher were regulars. So were Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Gene Simmons, Nancy Sinatra, Lana Turner and Elton John, who reportedly bought every shoe Slatten ever made.”

Fred passed away earlier this month at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy of over-the-top shoes, some of which are still available on ebay or etsy, if you are lucky. Here are some other examples, plus an early advertisement for his new “invention”!

Vintage wooden platform shoes1970s advertisements for Fred Slatten’s outrageous wooden platforms

vintage wooden platforms

vintage wooden platformsFred Slatten’s vintage wooden platforms with rhinestones galore.

vintage rhinestore-covered wooden platformsHis shoes were made in Italy, but the rhinestones were applied in the U.S.

In closing, we offer our own tribute to Fred in the form of these sky-high platforms that a fellow wearable artist asked us to go all out in embellishing. Here’s a step-by-step to how we created them.

Carmen Miranda platform shoes

Late 1960s wooden platforms garnished with painted-on palm trees, faux leaves, and fake fruit galore

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