L.K. Bennett and Bionda Castana's Collaboration Proves That Midheels Are Here to Stay
With flats, heels, and something in the middle, L.K. Bennett and Bionda Castana’s new spring collaboration is versatile to say the least. And while every single piece is lovely, it’s that neither-her-nor-there heel height that really got us talking when both brands flew to New York City to unveil the range.
“We’re designing them better I think. They used to be a bit meh…”
“It was very difficult to make it sexy, and now that’s completely changed.”
That was, in order, Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman, cofounders of Bionda Castana, and Robert Bensoussan, L.K. Bennett CEO (both are British companies, especially fitting with the fashion flock currently roosting across the pond for London Fashion Week). The item eliciting all those so-so responses was the low heel, a traditional shoe silhouette that’s had sartorial life breathed into it thanks to editors and trendsetters around the globe slipping on a pair. The Glamour offices love the trend too, giving a sweet treatment to our favorite pairs.
“Fashion is going lower, and it’s nice to have a variation [in a collection] that’s not just the same style in different colors, but to offer it in a flat shoe too,” Barbieri explained of the choice to have the collaboration include three different heels in each style grouping. L.K. Bennett, footwear favorite of Kate Middleton, instructed the Bionda girls to use color and pattern, and they took it a step further with the height range. It’s why you can browse the offerings, find yourself drawn to, say, a graphic checkered pattern, and then decide whether you’re in the market for sexy date-night shoes or about-town flats.
The trio all agreed that the emergence of the mid-heel trend is due in large part to there being a better selection than ever before. Bensoussan recounted the way the shoe business used to be designers presenting stilettos to buyers who’d come back to them with a request motivated by what would actually sell. “They were saying, ‘Hey, I need the lower heels,'” he explained, suggesting that the quick back-and-forth meant the original design was done in a slipshod reproduction. “Now you look at the care, and it’s not just the same heel reduced.”
Portman agreed, even suggesting it’s harder to make a really great mid-heel look chic or sexy compared to an inherently sultry stiletto.
“Just because you have a certain detail on a high heel doesn’t mean you can’t have it on a mid-heel. In the past, a lot of people just didn’t do it, but our ethos has always been to offer our customer, and subsequently L.K. Bennett, the choice,” she said. “You want something as pretty or feminine on a midheel…you don’t compromise on the design.”
All three said the trend toward lower heels has been percolating in the market for awhile now, and if influencers are to be believed, it’s not letting up anytime soon (especially once shoppers realize that, per fashion math, it’s actually a much smarter buy than something spindly).
“We’re seeing [mid-heels] everywhere through street style, so even if you don’t work in fashion you see it. It’s becoming more acceptable,” Barbieri said. “People are understanding that spending money on a flat or a mid-heel instead of a stiletto is a great investment because you’re more likely to wear it more often. It’s not a taxi shoe.”
See some of our favorite flats, heels, and midheight pieces here, ranging from $475 to $595, then shop here.
Watch our fourth-grade correspondent at New York Fashion Week.
Photos: Courtesy of brand