x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

You know you've made it when you can run in heels

The fashionistas will always be wearing heels, and remembering how to run in them is much like riding a bike.

They shouldn't call them fashion shows. "Fashion shoes" would be more accurate. Never mind what's going down the catwalk. What about the fancy footwork worn front row?

Although the headcount among guests during fashion shows in Milan, London, New York and Paris isn't much - usually no more than 200 per event - never underestimate the power this lot have over cherry-picking what will be and what won't be the hits and misses of our times. Especially when it comes to shoes, or - let's cut to the chase - heels.

Heels are always in fashion at shows. There's never been any glossing over the fact that fashion editors, stylists and glossy magazine editors play a game of one-upmanship (literally) when it comes to heels. It's possibly a power thing combined with vanity. Heels make you look thinner.

Fashionistas wear heels when they are in fashion. And they most certainly wear them when they are not. Queen bees such as Anna Wintour wear kitten heels 24/7 perennially, year in and year out.

Carine Roitfeld and Anna Dello Russo are possibly only about 4ft tall but thanks to their towering heels, look about 8ft.

You'd hardly believe this was meant to be the season flats were tipped to topple the stiletto, given the footgear of fashion's finest over the past few weeks. Despite the best efforts of trailblazing designers such as Albert Einstein, - sorry, I mean Elbaz at Lanvin - to champion the brogue, I didn't spot one pair.

Even models (who normally love flats) are wearing heels to dash to and from shows, often catwalk-hot, a present from the designer. This possibly has a lot to do with the fact they are now ferried across town in grand limos with darkened glass, giving rise not just to leg and shoe but also "car envy" by editrixes having to slum it in Fiat 500's.

Running in heels will be a familiar sight this week in Paris, too. Here, editors and buyers on a budget will be seen emerging from Metro stations in Yves Saint Laurent platform Tributes, sprinting past joggers wearing trainers. It's one of the rites of passage a young fashion editor must learn. It's like reading or riding a bike. Once you know how to, you never forget.

Expensive high heels are usually better made than cheap styles, although there are exceptions.

My favourite show shoe story occurred when a fashion editor friend of mine returned a new pair of Pradas to the Milan shop because the heel had snapped.

"What were you doing in them?" asked the shop assistant, raising an eyebrow. The heel was so high the shopkeeper wouldn't have believed her if she'd answered "sprinting", which was the truth.

When Beyoncé Knowles launched her House of Dereon collection in Europe during London Fashion Week, I watched in awe as editors raced uphill manoeuvring steep ramps - the show took place at the top floor of a multi-storey car park - and all the while dodging bouncers before leaping to their front-row perches. As the lights dimmed, I couldn't help notice how many allowed themselves a few minutes respite, removing their shoes and giving themselves a mini foot-rub.

This season, given the soaring temperatures (Milan was hotter than Hawaii, apparently) wearing anything from the current autumn/winter 2011/2011 season - besides Prada's mermaid scale sequin tunics, as demonstrated by Dello Russo - has been out of the question. So shoes had to do a lot of making up for displaying what's currently hot.

What were the top 10 fashionista styles/shoe brands?

We've seen curved banana heels by Prada; glittery Mary-Jane 1940s styles by Miu Miu and - scarily - the "nail" heel, no thinner than a pencil. Louis Vuitton's patent "bow" with the 12cm "extreme" heel has been popular along with Yves Saint Laurent stack heel wedges. I spotted Arizona Muse wearing a pair of these in London, which resemble the Ferragamo classic tricolore platforms.

Isabel Marant's tassel wedge-heel boots were a favourite footwear choice of trendy stylists, who teamed them with shorts playsuits.

I spied some Chloé classic round-toe courts with snakeskin heels, too, along with winter "sandals" that could have been Jimmy Choo or Gucci. Or equally Primark. That's the thing with heels. It's not about the brand or, if I'm honest, the type of heel.

If you ever get an invitation to a catwalk event, just wear heels, the higher the better. Although you might think the point of a fashionista is to stand out, by wearing heels she will always fit in with the fashion sisterhood.