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 > summer special 2000
For the year 2000

GOVERNANCE
The Best Government Reformer
How Asia Is Governed
The Best Local Administrator
The Best Activist


BUSINESS
The Best Dealmaker
The Best IPO
The Best Stock
The Best Advocate of Shareholder Rights
The Best Fund Manager
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The Best Airport
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ENVIRONMENT
In Tune with Nature
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THE WIRED WORLD
The Hottest Video Game
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POP CULTURE
The Hottest Fad
The Hottest Toy
The Hottest TV Show
The Hottest Album
The Best Movie
The Best Short Film

 

Fad | Toy | TV Show | Album | Movie | Short Film
What's A Foot?

Tony Yu Asiaweek.
If the shoe fits, be careful of wearing it.

Fashion is a despot that must be obeyed. So step up and into our hottest fad

There was this mountain witch, see, and all things considered, she looked pretty hip. In brief, that is Japan's take in claiming to have reignited the craze for platform shoes. You thought the clunky monsters died out in the '70s, along with Kiss? Boy were you wrong. Repopularized five years ago by pop star Namie Amuro, the shoes are part of the yamamba look — so named for that hideous witch. The platforms provide the mountain height. To these add white lipstick, silver eye shadow and dyed blonde hair. Voila! Instant cred.

Well, that's the idea: the witch thing. A survey in Japan recently found that 40% of all 20-something women own at least one pair of lunar-like shoes. Do they all have blonde tresses? Of course not. What they DO have is height. Platform shoes mean women are no longer looked down upon. According to sociologist Shinji Miyadai, modern, height-enhanced women are more willing to take the lead than men. In fact, their extra centimeters are partly intended to intimidate the "weaker sex." What a dull place the fashion world would be without sociologists.

Sure, there are a few drawbacks in toeing the 30-cm-high mode. Vertically challenged pop starlet Baby Spice suffered a cracked ankle, a sprained arm and (abject horror) a bruised nose when she fell off her funky footwear. Supermodel Naomi Campbell got away with (ultimate horror) a bruised ego when she tumbled over on a catwalk. Platform shoes have been blamed for at least three deaths in Japan, and in Osaka they are banned for drivers. At the Chicago stock exchange, shoes taller than 5 cm are also taboo. Those affected are mainly men, who have been trying to stand out, or up, in the trading pits.

Personally, we blame that Uber retro icon Kim Jong Il for re-kick-starting the fad. The North Korean leader bravely stuck it out through highs and lows of platform fashion — an inspiration to the genetically down-at-heel — to emerge as a man with real sole. Beneath those floor-length trousers, we reckon, a revolutionary design may be responsible for lifting Korean relations to a whole new footing.

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