It's Back: The Shoe That Made Sex and the City Famous

The buckled heel that Mr. Big used to propose returns in new designs—along with another cinematic footwear icon

by: Rebecca Malinsky

Originally published November 2, 2018 in The Wall Street Journal

From left: Manolo Blahnik Pumps, $1,025, Saksfifthavenue.com; Pumps, $925, Roger Vivier, 212-861-5371 PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

From left: Manolo Blahnik Pumps, $1,025, Saksfifthavenue.com; Pumps, $925, Roger Vivier, 212-861-5371 PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

THOUGH BUCKLES began to replace ties on shoes in the mid-17th century, the purely ornamental buckle is a newer breed. In 1967, it played a key supporting role on the Roger Vivier pump that Catherine Deneuve slipped on in the steamy Luis Buñuel movie “Belle de Jour.” That prepossessing shoe—reworked as the “Très Vivier” with an even bigger buckle, chunkier heel and a more comfortable footbed—returns this fall. As the French brand’s new creative director, Gherardo Felloni, explained, “It’s really rare that you can have [a design] live for 50 years...That’s why this buckle is beautiful.”

Perhaps no woman has appreciated a decorative buckle more than the fictional Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City.” When the ever-elusive Mr. Big finally proposes to her in the 2008 “Sex and the City” movie, he forgoes a ring, presenting Carrie instead with a blue satin rhinestone-buckled Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pump.

PHOTO: NEW LINE CINEMA/EVERETT COLLECTION

PHOTO: NEW LINE CINEMA/EVERETT COLLECTION

That shoe’s engagement cameo propelled it to icon status, encouraging a generation of young women to associate marital bliss with footwear. And now, 10 years later, Mr. Blahnik has designed a mini-Hangisi collection inspired by the movie and New York City itself. Four patterns pay homage to the film, including an illustrated grid of Manhattan streets and a graphic print in pink, blue and “cosmopolitan” gray (shown). 

They’re guaranteed to be part of a beautiful relationship between you and your accessories. Who needs Mr. Big?