Why do people drink champagne out of high heels?

Christian Louboutin champagneDrinking champagne out of stilettos is one of the weirder things people do with high heels. So when did it start, and why do people do it?

The practice of quaffing champagne out of a slipper appears to have first been used to pay tribute to the artistry of female dancers prior to 1900.  Perhaps in those male-dominated times it was seen a more appropriate way of showing respect than simply grovelling at the dancers’ feet. However the exact origins of the practice are a little hazy.

Christian Louboutin’s shoes for champagne swilling

In 1999, Christian Louboutin and champagne maker Piper-Heidsieck combined to create a package comprising a bottle of champagne and a crystal heel shaped glass from which to drink it. The limited edition package was called Le Rituel and it retailed through high-end stores for $500.

When promoting Le Rituel, Louboutin referred to a practice of Russian tourists in 19th-century Paris, who would apparently drink vodka out of ballerinas’ slippers. For this reason he said he decided to model his crystal champagne flute on a Cinderella theme, not “dirty old Russian guys in the 19th century.”

The designer may have been correct in suggesting that vodka was served to Russian tourists in this way. However, what is not in doubt is that the female cabaret dancers of Folies Bergère in Belle Époque Paris would regularly serve champagne to gentleman admirers from the inside of their dancing shoes during this period.

Drinking from high heels in Russia… and maybe England

We also know that this ritual was itself inspired by the ballerinas of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow in the 1880s. While multiple sources say that the Russian ballerinas used champagne for this ritual, it is perhaps possible that vodka was not also used on some occasions there too. The theory is not widely implausible as there is an established custom in Ukraine of drinking vodka from a bride’s shoes on her wedding night.

Although the custom of drinking champagne from a slipper is widely credited as beginning in Russia in the 1880s, one source has been identified which suggests it may have been around a lot longer. The source – a review in a newspaper from 1893 – attributes the practice of drinking champagne out of a figurante’s white satin slipper to Fop’s Alley in the reign of William IV (1765 to 1837). Fop’s Alley was the passage through the centre of the pit in an 18th century opera house or theatre.

Drinking from high heels spreads to the USA

However it originated, the best-known example of a person sipping champagne from a stiletto occurred in America’s most famous brothel in the early hours of 4 March 1902. That venue was the Everleigh Club in Chicago, where Prince Henry of Prussia was being entertained with a lavish banquet.

As part of the celebrations, Vidette, the best dancer amongst the Club’s butterflies, was dancing on a table to the music of the Blue Danube waltz. In the middle of her routine, she kicked and her silver stiletto flew across the room and hit a bottle of champagne. A man standing nearby picked it up, raised it high and drank the champagne from the shoe.

This started a chain reaction, as Karen Abbott writes in her acclaimed book Sin in the Second City:

Prince Henry’s entire entourage arose, yanked a slipper from the nearest girl, and held it aloft. Waiters scurried about, hurriedly filling each shoe with champagne.

“To the Prince.”
“To the Kaiser.”
“To beautiful women the world over.”

After this, it did not take long for the trend to spread beyond the Everleigh Club. Charles Washburn charted its progress in his 1934 book Come into my parlor : a biography of the aristocratic Everleigh sisters of Chicago:

A custom soon to gain momentum across the land was dedicated. Wine was sipped from a slipper for the first time in America.

It was the only interlude ever to be broadcast from that celebrated revel. In New York millionaires were soon doing it publicly, at home-parties husbands were doing it, in back rooms, grocery clerks were doing it — in fact, everybody was doing it. What? Drinking wine from slippers! It made a more lasting impression on a girl than carrying her picture in a watch. No wonder it became so popular.

Drinking from high heels becomes part of pop culture

By the first half of the twentieth century, drinking champagne from stilettos was seen as an act of extravagant decadence, which was sometimes parodied in the art world. Oscar Hammerstein II referred to it in the lyrics to his 1927 song “Life Upon the Wicked Stage” for his Broadway musical Show Boat. In the 1939 MGM film At the Circus, Groucho Marx humorously reminisced:

That night I drank champagne from your slipper. Two quarts. It would have held more but you were wearing inner soles.

By the 1950s, women too were getting in on the act. In 1951, American actress Tallulah Bankhead sipped champagne from her slipper during a press conference to celebrate her arrival in London. And in 1957, English actress Julie Andrews drank a toast to the cast of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella by sipping from her glass slipper.

Drinking from high heels in modern times

In modern times, the most famous example of alcohol being consumed from footwear comes from renowned shoe-lover and director Quentin Tarantino. In 2010, Tarantino’s muse Uma Thurman let him drink white wine out of one of her stilettos.

The pair were at the New York Friars Club Roast at the Hilton Hotel to honour Tarantino, and the shoes in question were black velvet high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. To the amusement of the audience, Thurman filled the second of her shoes with wine and had a drink from it herself.

So, why do people drink out of high heels? As the history of this quirky practice suggests, there are different reasons. What started as a way to salute dancers has now become a tribute to female beauty generally.

But it can be also be more than that: a symbol of extravagant decadence, or of high celebration. A way of combining the sex appeal and beauty of heels with the luxury of champagne. A way of revelling in the great things in life, or perhaps a grand romantic gesture. Or maybe it is just a way to ruin perfectly good champagne?

Drinking in high heels

Get the trend: 4 purple lace ups to tie yourself up about in 2016

Steve Madden sandalia

Sometimes shoe trends are obvious, but this isn’t one of them. At least I didn’t think that purple lace up heels would suddenly become a “thing” until they did. Fortunately, the strappy fuchsia look has become a major trend for 2016 and all the shoes catching the wave are fabulous.

Thanks to our affiliate partnership with Zappos, we’re able to present 4 of the best purple lace up high heels that are on-trend for 2016. The links will take you to the Zappos website which offers fast, free shipping and returns (sales are to US customers only).

Steve Madden lace up sandal

Topping the charts of our fantastic fuchsia beauties is Sandalia, by Steve Madden. Sandalia is not just beautiful but it is also practical. The shoe’s structured real-leather side straps provide strong support for the foot, allowing the laces to shine in their own right as a detail but without having to pull them tight to prevent yourself from falling out.

A 4 inch heel, leather upper, padded insole and clever design all mean that this heel is a winner in its category. Comfortable, stylish and just plain fun, Sandalia is available via Zappos for $129.95.

Closed toe purple pump

If you prefer a closed toe look, then Sam Edelman’s Dayna is what we think you should be considering. Once again the lace up straps here are mainly decorative: this 4 inch pump in purple kid suede leather has a pointy toe and over-sized heel-up to fit securely to your foot. With a small, sneaky d’Orsay cut, these purple Sam Edelman stilettos can be shopped via Zappos for $120 with free shipping and returns.
Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita’s impressive entry into the purple sandals list comes courtesy of Hazeley, a bold stiletto sandal with an orchid suede leather upper. With Hazeley the laces do more of the work to hold you securely in the shoe, allowing the sexy open arch to out itself as an equally compelling feature.

The fabulous Hazeley by Dolce Vita in orchid suede is available now for $120. Shipping is free.

purple open-toed high heeled sandals

Ending where we start, we have a second purple high heel from Steve Madden to round out our collection of 4 show-stopping purple stilettos for 2016.

Natila has a fushia upper made of genuine nubuck leather and sits atop a gentler 3.5 inch heel (measured on a size 9). The single strap across the vamp of the shoe is very much on trend, while the slingback strap holds these heels firmly in place.

The real fun comes with the tie-up ankle lace which you can arrange to suit your own style. While it is a head-turner in its own right, the ankle lace is purely decorative: it can be removed for a more classical look when the occasion demands.

Natlia retails from Zappos for $89.95 with free shipping and returns.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day

Happy Valentine’s Day wherever you may be in the world and whoever you’re sharing it with.

Valentine’s Day says sexy stilettos so I’ve published this classic picture of some double strap sandals from Ellie. The shoe is called the Maggie-510 and it has been a popular seller for years.

The heel is 5 inches high and the straps are manmade.

It seems that the shoe has changed little since its inception but it does look like the red inner sole may be replaced by black on later versions. You can find the shoe for sale at Amazon.com from as low as $27 depending on the retailer.

Ellie black sandals

6 tips for writing about high heeled shoes for the internet

writing about high heeled shoes for the internet

Shortly after I started HighHeelsDaily.com, something about its subject matter quickly occurred to me: shoes are a hard thing to write about for the internet. People like to *look* at pictures of shoes and many people even like to sketch pictures of shoes. But actually just reading about them, not so much.

My day job is as a writer not a photographer so I kinda thought I had picked the wrong topic for a blog. Sometimes I still think that way.

However there are some things that I can hopefully teach aspiring shoe-bloggers that might help. I’ve tried to put all my tips for writing about shoes in this post. I’ll revisit it from time to time if there are more things I can add and would be grateful for any feedback.

Rule 1: Be authentic

In the early days of this website, I needed *a lot* of help. I went searching for shoe-writing inspiration. When I did, one name stood above all others: Manolo the Shoeblogger.

Ten or so years back, Manolo – or “the Manolo” as the definite article-loving, fictional fashionista would style himself – wrote hilarious commentary about shoes and the celebrities who wore them for his website. His affiliate program with Zappos (yes, we have one of those too) gave him a portion of sales generated when readers would purchase the shoes that his articles were (loosely) about.

Manolo’s site was mentioned in Vogue Magazine in 2007 as “the first fashion blog – the prototype from which all others struggle to keep up.” It was successful for years before ultimately all but fizzling out. In 2015, historian Howard Miller revealed himself as the previously anonymous Manolo, with Miller now going on to new ventures with a website about the history of food.

The Manolo the Shoeblogger model struck some trouble in the GFC but it is still a model that I’d love to have emulated. The trouble is that the Manolo is (or was) hilarious. My writing is not particularly funny.

Eventually I stopping looking to other people and just started doing things my own way – learning as I went. Some of the early stuff is bad but it did get better. That’s the key.

The lesson is to be authentic. If you can create a fictional voice that is better than your own, then go for it (who would have believed that the creator of the irreverent Manolo the Shoeblogger’s was a highly educated, Christian man with four kids who lived in Iowa? True story!).

However chances are you can’t create an amazing character like the Manolo. So why try? When you’re shoe-blogging, I think it is easier and ultimately better just being yourself.

Rule 2: you have to love heels to buy them

I’ve also learnt that high heels are a product that is not quite like other products. With high heels, a potential buyer has to *love* them – in fact to *fall in love with them* – in order to want to take them home.

Yes, the functional details are of some importance but they’re secondary. If a pair of heels leaves a woman swooning and gushing with adoration then chances are she’ll want to buy them. If they don’t excite her, then they’re not going in her wardrobe no matter how grand the craftmanship.

All of which leads me to…

Rule 3: sexy is sexy and beautiful is beautiful

When I studied journalism, I was given a list of words that could be used instead of “won” and “lost” when talking about sports results. Diversity of language is generally good when writing.

When writing about high heels though, there really isn’t any word that replaces “sexy.” And there isn’t one that is the equivalent of “beautiful” either. People understand what a sexy, beautiful high heel is and I aspire to write mainly about those heels rather than others. If they’re apt and the heel is sexy and beautiful, just use those words. It is what people understand.

Rule 4: Descriptions are kind of naff, but some things are important

When shoe-blogging, it is generally a waste of time to give a detailed description of the shoe. A picture paints a thousand words and you should let the image do the talking.

However, some details are important. The heel height and platform height are important because they help a reader decide whether heels are appropriate for work or really just “taxi shoes.” Also important is the material that the upper is made out of. Like a lot of high heel fans, I don’t like plastic shoes so I am careful to state whether a heel has a leather upper or not. But to vegans, the opposite is true. So it is helpful to many people to include this information.

Rule 5: If you can’t be brilliant, be brief

This is a rule which is often quoted for public speaking but it is true of shoe-blogging too. Experts (real and self-proclaimed) may tell you that long articles (200 words or more) are good for SEO and so you should write long posts.

That might be true, but there is no point writing long posts if they’re just waffle. Your audience will get annoyed. As I’ve mentioned above, with shoes, often the picture will tell the story. Let it do that.

Rule 6: the art of writing is the art of re-writing

I’ll finish with another one of my favorite sayings: the art of writing is the art of re-writing. Re-reading, editing, re-working, deleting and amending articles is what makes them good. You should always leave a post overnight and then come back and look at it afresh before editing. Sometimes I have to redo nearly every word. It’s totally worth it.

I know that’s a general tip about writing, not one about shoe-blogging specifically but here’s the rub: the real tip to take away about writing about high heels for the web is that the principles of good writing are universal. Shoes may be a tricky topic to blog about but the subject matter is highly diverse and new styles and trends are never-ending. If your writing is good, you will do well. Good luck!

2016’s best black work pumps

There’s a true art to finding the perfect pair of black work pumps: they must be super comfortable, they need to be reasonably priced and they’ve got to be hard-wearing and versatile.

The heel height should be no higher than 4 inches, and it is essential that the uppers are made of leather not a synthetic material. The perfect pumps have to look great too.

BCBGeneration high heels

We’ve reviewed the best black work pumps that fit this criteria for 2016, and there’s one clear winner in the sub-$100 category.

The shoe is called Treasure by BCBGeneration. It has a perfect 5/5 rating on Zappos.com, with reviewers labelling it “super comfortable,” “very comfortable” and “comfy, sexy, classy.”

Treasure is available in 3 different shades of black, including black patent pictured above. This classy leather work pump retails online for only $70 via Zappos with free shipping and returns.

If Treasure is not your style, or you want to compare this shoe with others on offer, you can check out the full range of black, four inch pumps stocked by Zappos here (currently over 120 pairs).

Please be aware that our links are affiliate links to our partner Zappos. This means if you click through and buy we’ll get a small percentage (you do not pay any extra).

Kylie Minogue: my adult life as a high-heeled stunt woman!

It is amazing to believe that its been nearly 29 years since Kylie Minogue’s debut single The Locomotion was released in July 1987. Perhaps equally hard to believe, the music video for the track did not feature Kylie dancing around in her trade mark high heels.

Although many of Kylie’s fans were not even born when Kylie first cracked the big time, if they had been alive the music video (which you can see below) might have surprised them. They would have seen a 19 year old Kylie doing the Locomotion with a giant blonde perm and wearing cute red flats!

These girls have been working hard!

A photo posted by Kylie Minogue (@kylieminogue) on

In the nearly 30 years that’s passed since, Kylie has definitely graduated from the flats towards high heels. In fact she loves posting pictures of her shoes to her Instagram account – like these hard-working Dolce & Gabbanna gold stiletto sandals posted in August 2015.

Kylie has confirmed that flats are now well and truly out when she is on stage performing: “I wear flats sometimes but not when I’m working – you’d never see me,” the singer told the April 2012 edition of Marie Claire magazine.

In the same interview, Kylie also confirmed that her shoe choices these days were either dead flat or sky-high: “I used to wear medium heels but now it seems to be either really high or flat.”

The high heels have paid some dividends: last year, Kylie claimed that she thought of her famous butt as an entity in its own right – and attributed the success of it to her love of heels. In an interview with the Daily Mail Kylie referred to her award-winning bottom and explained:

“I think of it as something entirely separate to me. Probably the reason for it is the fact I’ve spent most of my adult life dancing around in very high heels.

“If I’m ever honestly asked to explain my job I’d say I was a high-heel stunt woman.”

Kylie confessed to the Mail that there was a downside to her heels though: “High heels are very bad for the back but they are great for the thighs and the butt. And then the other secret is great lighting.”

Check out Kylie Minogue’s original 1987 Locomotion music video below. This retro gem was filmed in Melbourne Australia at Essendon Airport and at the ABC’s television studios.


Smart new slingback sandals from Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein stilettosOne of the most recognised brands in the world in Calvin Klein has just dropped a great new slingback sandal at Zappos. The patent leather heel is called Mirian and it is available in 4 different shades each on a 3.5 inch heel.

The four parallel straps create a striking look on what these perfect evening sandal. They also secure your foot firmly for wherever the night may take you.

Mirian is pictured above in sandstorm and is new to Zappos for $119 with free shipping and returns and 24/7 customer service.

This smart slingback sandal from Calvin Klein is also available in lipstick red, deep coral and black (all pictured below).

Calvin Klein heels

Calvin Klein high heels

Calvin Klein mirian

Metallic mules are on trend – and drop dead sexy too

Ted Baker metallic mules

Metallics are super trendy right now and so are mules. That makes this double strap, metallic mule by Ted Baker a very fashion-forward high heel. It’s drop-dead sexy too.

The chic double strap mules are called Chablise and a 4 inch stiletto heel. They have patent leather straps and a lightly padded footbed for comfort.

The mules are available for $195 from Zappos where they have a perfect 5 star rating (more pictures below and via the link). Shipping and returns are free.

silver double strap metallic mules

Metallic mules


Converting high heel heights from inches to mm

In this post we explain how to accurately convert heel heights from millimetres to inches (or vice versa).

The simple fact is that there are no tricks to converting heel heights! It is just easy math, with the key formulas being that 10mm = 1 cm and 2.54cm = 1 inch.

In reverse, 1mm =0.039 of an inch.

The need to convert arises because European manufacturers will usually use millimetres or centimetres to refer to the height whereas Americans will typically use inches. But then almost all online retailers go by inches meaning that they convert from mm even where the heels are European.

Generally, heel heights are rounded approximately when they are converted. For an example of the conversion, we will use Christian Louboutin’s popular 100mm (ie 10cm) Pigalle heels. These heels are advertised by Louboutin with the height in mm not in inches.

Converting 100mm to inches gives a height of 3.94 inches. However, these calculations are almost always rounded so the 100mm Pigalle is generally referred to as the 4 inch version of the pump.

In a similar way, a 4 inch pump converts to 101.6mm but would ordinarily be referred to as a 100mm (10cm) heel.

Conversion guide for heel heights

An approximate conversion guide for common heel heights is as follows:

3 inch heels = 75mm
4 inch heels = 100mm
5 inch heels = 125mm
6 inch heels= 150mm

Sometimes errors in the conversion come because the high heel heights have not been measured correctly. You may find it helpful to read our post on measuring high heel heights too.

Platforms – the shoe trend that Paris Hilton loves and Manolo Blahnik hates!

platform high heels
If you want to get *really* high on heels then there’s a simple answer: platforms! Combined with a high heel, a platform can add many inches of height but without the pain from a really high spike stiletto.

The key to these awesome leather ankle-strap stilettos is indeed in the platform. While the heel is 7.9 inches high, a 2.4 inch platform makes a net rise of a manageable 5.5 inches.

The platforms featured here are available right now at Milanoo via this link.

Platforms are just fine with celebrity socialite Paris Hilton who is a devotee of the stepped-up look, and the comfort that platforms bring. Paris has confessed her love for platforms on her official website, saying:

I love front platforms. The trend is amazing because it makes shoes more comfortable while keeping the height to make your legs look longer and leaner.

But not everyone is a fan of platforms. Those who are against the trend even include legendary high heels designer Manolo Blahnik. Manolo once confessed that he “can’t stand platforms.”

Judging by the number of platforms on the market though, Manolo might be alone in thinking that.

platform heels

Heels, stilettos and women's shoes daily