If you've been spending your allotted fashion watch time analyzing the true meaning of flats at NATO festivities, you may have missed this spring's most telling footwear: YSL's Cage Shoe.
The Cage Shoe is a shoe, actually a whole collection of shoes, that form a cage around your foot.
I'm wildly open to extreme fashion, in fact I long to live in a khaki free, T-shirtless, eccentrically dressed world, but this shoe set off all kinds of alarms for me.
The question with fashion is always: is it interpreting or creating the zeitgeist? The best does both. Echoing back and amplifying a current in our culture.
The Cage Shoe nails our moment which is absolutely and completely about how free we are and will be.
Because of this, now is a time to say no to boxes, pigeon holes or prisons of any kind. Of course it's not so hard to say no to a cage when a pair of them costs $900 - 1300 USD's. But the Cage Shoe got me wondering about how many other cages I happily pay to put myself in.
The Cage Shoe is brilliant in how it illuminates the nature of a cage. Where boxes are obvious, cages are subtler, trickier. Our culture sings the praises of transparency. But a cage creates a sort of transparency, they're transparent-ish. You can see the picture, but you can never get the full view out, or in. You can never see the view without the grid of the bars. Or be seen without the grid patterning itself on you.
A cage is any structure which requires you to see reality through its matrix. Or requires others see you with that matrix gridded over you. Any structure, be it political, scientific, religious, artistic or intellectual that requires you to experience your own reality through its matrix.
The Cage Shoe does make a certain amount of "green" sense: it's grid reduces leather consumption. Spranq recently did a similar thing with their ecofont. Although if you want to free yourself from the matrix of printer ink - and who doesn't? - the easiest thing to do is print in gray instead of black. Plus gray ink reminds me to embrace the gray areas of life, the areas in which the mystery and freedom lie.
And I'll give this to YSL - in the summer it's liberating to have more skin available to the air. Though I can't help but imagine that the strips of leather caging would be digging into your hot swollen summer feet about 15 minutes after you strap in. And that pain, whether it's in your feet or in your heart, or dare I say soul, that desire to be out, is why the famous caged bird sings.