What do Prada’s fall 2023 runway and Kate Middleton have in common? Train your gaze on the feet of the Milanese fashion house’s models, and you’ll find your exceptionally well-heeled answer. After seasons of foot frosting—when it was a case of the more outré your embellishment, the better—the black court shoe (a longtime wardrobe staple of the Princess of Wales), has click-clacked its way back onto the catwalks.
And it’s not just at Prada, where Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons delivered a pair of black court shoes with a razor sharp point that managed to be both exceptional and quotidian. Other notable styles for fall 2023? Like the soundtrack of purring cats at Christopher Kane’s show, editors were murmuring with pleasure over his pared-back courts. The shoes told a similar story at No21, Tory Burch, Huishan Zhang and Moschino (even if Jeremy Scott’s iteration had heels that pooled like black ink—inspired by Dalí’s melting clocks).
A palate-cleanser is right—much like a lot of the other pared-back, silhouette-focused pieces that have cropped up on the fall 2023 runways thus far. The New York catwalks in particular were focused on “real” clothing: caramel pea coats at Proenza Schouler, double-breasted tailoring at Michael Kors, chunky knit dresses at Gabriela Hearst. Is the style set finally sparkled out? “So many evening shoes these days are in-your-face – covered in crystals and feathers and straps,” Pithers adds. “Of course those are fun to wear. But they can also make you feel a bit like a clown if you’re not in the mood. With courts there’s something elegant about a clean, streamlined silhouette.”
Now the court shoe is well and truly back on the catwalks, and the oft-overlooked pump suddenly looks loaded with an appeal that extends well beyond the office nine-to-five. Forget the trainers; commuters might just keep these heels on all the way home.