How To Strut in High Heels

Who can forget the downfall of Naomi Campbell? Not the reported air rage attack, mobile phone flinging, or community service stint in the States, but her now world-famous 1993 catwalk tumble in Vivienne Westwood platforms.

Naomi's fall showed that even supermodels can get the art of walking in high heels wrong.

We've all been there - trips, tumbles, shuffles, slips, and the dreaded moment when your stiletto gets stuck between two paving stones.

While some women take to walking in teetering heels like a duck to water, for others it's a skill that requires practice, practice, practice.

Don't keep your favourite heels hidden in the shoe box. The Gillette Venus High Heel School experts give us step-by-step instructions on how to parade your heels to the max, from figure fixing through to walking the walk.

Make like shoe aficionado Gwyneth Paltrow and put your heels firmly in the limelight.

:: THE SHOE FOR YOU

Sarah Jessica Parker practically sent the female population giddy with her fierce Dior gladiator heels in the Sex And The City Movie. But celebrity stylist Hannah Sandling says that not every heel works for every figure.

"Shoes have the power to make your legs look long and lean or short and stumpy, so the size, shape, height of heel is very important," she says.

Hannah has the following advice for choosing your dream heel:

:: HEEL TYPE:
"Not all heels suit everybody, it really does depend on your leg," Hannah says. "If you have wider legs, avoid chunky platforms because they will make your leg look chunkier but wedge shoes are great as they balance out bigger thighs. If you have very thin pins, avoid spiky stilettos as they will make your legs look gangly."

:: STRAPS:
"Looking for the right straps will really lengthen your legs," Hannah advises. "If you have chunky calf muscles, you shouldn't be wearing straps as they chop your leg in half. Open shoes elongate your legs."

:: COLOUR: "Colour is important," Hannah says. "Really pale pins? You shouldn't wear pale shoes or bright acid colours as it's not going to be a flattering look."

:: MODEL STRUT

If you don't think you can ever get a super-stride like Gisele, think again. Lee Lapthorne, fashion consultant and show producer for London Fashion Week, says a good walk can be learned.

"When teaching models to walk, I use a technique of breaking their steps down and pinpointing mistakes by mimicking their posture to demonstrate where they are going wrong," he explains.

"Practice in private. Walk around the house in heels to get used to the height, and use a full-length mirror to see how you look."

As for technique? "Keep legs close together and as straight as possible," Lee advises.

"Imagine a straight line in front of you and walk to it. Keep each step slightly elongated and placed in front of the other. Add a sexy vibe with a slight strut, cross each step over the previous one."

Lee's favourite catwalk star is Erin O'Connor, but even the six foot-tall model can reap the benefits of higher heels.

"A high heel elongates the body and makes models look more elegant on the catwalk," he says.

"But even supermodels fall. If it happens to you, simply pick yourself up and gracefully continue with confidence."

:: WALKING TALL

Once you've purchased those dream shoes and polished off your walk, it's time to put the finishing touches on your fashionable stride.

"Remember that high heels are like portable pedestals - they draw the eyes up," says Camilla Morton, fashion writer and author of How to Walk in High Heels. Having worked with shoe god Manolo Blahnik, here are Camilla's expert tips on how to pull off even the trickiest heel with model-like aplomb:

:: Get the right tools for the trade. They don't have to be the most expensive pair of shoes, it's just what works for you. Remember it's often false economy to buy cheap shoes.

:: Know what surface you're going to walk on. A grassy field and spiky stilettos don't mix.

:: Find your centre of gravity to help retain your grace and poise. Let your heels get slimmer the more adept you become.

:: Work out your legs and thighs to get them into shape. Forget the treadmill, even shopping counts as a workout - especially at the supermarket. Get a trolley and a new pair of heels to test drive and you'll soon be gliding along the aisles.

:: Keep your legs smooth, silky and slimline. Grooming matters, so remember to exfoliate, shave with a razor designed for women's curves, then moisturise.
Snapper

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