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PORTFOLIOS|Fashion|Big-booted girls

BIG BLACK BOOTS: Simultaneously cute, sexy and dangerous (Photo: Gothic Image. Model: Reina Misaki)

In praise of big-booted girls

Fetish imagery endlessly reveres the stiletto-shod she-devil. But there’s another kind of footwear favoured by many that says as much, if not more, about female empowerment and attitude. Dave ‘Master Darcy’ Edmond celebrates the cult of the big black boot

Cute girls in big black boots. New rock riot girls. Dr Marten's fetish platform nurses. Buffalo Bills go ’round the outside. Japanese girls in giant platform boots. Panzerhalle tank girls. Atari teenage riot girls. St Trinian's girls in bigger boots. Platform punk dominatrices. Soul disciples. Big black boots and blood red lipstick…

Maybe it was Tank Girl that started it, or maybe it was the skinhead girls of the ’60s. Maybe it was Gloom Cookie, or maybe it was the girl bike gangs.

Then again, it is never really important who came first, unless you are a chicken, or an egg. There is something simultaneously cute, sexy and dangerous, about girls in big boots — the bigger the better.

In fact, if it looks like the boots are wearing the girl, that's as good as it gets. Let's make it clear: we are not talking here about fetish girls in shiny black stiletto thigh boots. We are talking about BIG boots, big clumpy boots, Doc Marten's, Buffalos, New Rocks, engineer boots, biker boots, and particularly Transmuters: the biggest, deadliest, sexiest boots in the world.

I always thought girls looked cute in big boots: punk girls in stripy tights, distressed Buffalo girls, black-on-black gothettes, squat rock crusties, and those new ones that no-one has given a name to yet, who like Blink 182, Slipknot and Avril Lavigne.

They tend to wear baggy clothes, no make-up, and have small skateboarding brothers with hooded Korn sweatshirts, and they always wear big boots.

Initially, I kept this to myself, until one day wandering around Yahoo, I stumbled upon black boot culture and realised, in the words of Chris Carter, ‘we are not alone’. There are probably close to a hundred Yahoo groups celebrating big black boot culture in all its manifestations.

For years, style pundits have sought to discover, photograph, record, and exploit, new youth movements. A trip into any big record store will excellently exhibit the diversity of style culture and fraternities.

A classic pair of big black boots transcends the distance – real, perceived and aesthetic – between gutter and catwalk

What's so great about big black boots culture is that it has a foot — both literally and metaphorically — in all of them. A classic pair of big black boots transcends the distance — real, perceived and aesthetic — between the gutter and the catwalk.

Big black boots today have a cujltural significance not unlike that of the black leather jacket about 30 years ago, when it was still worn by rebels.

These days, the black leather jacket (and if you haven't figured out by now that I mean motorbike jacket, you shouldn't even be reading this) is worn by everybody and their grandmother.

ut most especially it is worn by by doctors, accountants and the lowest form of human life, lawyers, who ride Harley-Davidsons at the weekend, in a desperate attempt to recapture the wild youth that they never actually had.

Whoever said “men spend all of their youth chasing money, then all of their money chasing youth” had the right idea.

Where big black boots culture wins out is that the ‘normalati’ of this world will never be able to embrace that culture, because the essence of looking good in big black boots is attitude, and attitude, in most cases, is something you either have, or don't have.

You could watch one of about 20 music channels, study it, practise it, and take it out for a test run, but beyond a certain age, you probably wouldn't see it if it stole your parking space at Sainsbury's.

A leather jacket is a garment that you put on and zip up, but big boot culture is more like a secret language, with its own reference points and nuances, such as the colour of the laces, whether the boots are laced or not, and in the case of Transmuters, which panels you attach.

A leather jacket is a garment that you put on and zip up, but big boot culture is more like a secret language, with its own reference points and nuances

One picture speaks a thousand words, although this is a loose estimate, and we are close to big boot culture, so let's settle for five hundred.

Once you know they are there, you will probably start to see big black boot girls everywhere. They transcend nationality, age, race, and religion, they spread across all musical tastes, and you can find them in most parts of the world.

You can definitely see them on MTV, and at fashionable parties, in night clubs, and at concerts, but you can also see them in the dole queue, on welfare, and begging for change.

Sometimes, in the early morning, in that state between dreaming and waking, I imagine a landscape of urban decay, peopled by teenage girl gangs, looking cute in stripy tights, battered leather jackets and danger-chick attitude, roaming the streets like a pack of Clockwork Orange wildcats.

Their mission: to search and destroy lawyers, barristers and solicitors, wherever they may be. In my imagination they would have names like…

Sewer Squad. Camden Underground. Grave Angels. Gothic Ninja Sexecutioners. Texas Spiders. God Squad New Testament Vigilantes. Trans Bozazuko Infidels. Disastafarian Techno Taggers. Sao Paulo Yakuza. Mayhem Mafia. Amsterdam CrashTest Dummies. Anti-Data Fatwah…

Sometimes I imagine a landscape of urban decay, peopled by teenage girl gangs, roaming the streets like a pack of Clockwork Orange wildcats

Based on an original article by Dave ‘Master Darcy’ Edmond writing with Jules Forman

Sunday, 6 July 2008


About the author:
Dave ‘Master Darcy’ Edmond

Dave Edmond, aka Master Darcy (above), grew up in Birmingham, discovering fetish tendencies at the age of 9 via Dianna Rigg in The Avengers, Lillie Munster, and Fenella Fielding in Carry On Screaming.
“Deserting hooliganism at 17,” he says, “I moved to Bournemouth to pursue the exotic girls of Bowie and Roxy Music.”
Later he would enter the youth culture fashion market in London, becoming involved with Westwood and McLaren, BOY London and the early punk, goth and new romantic scenes. Inevitably, this led to his attending the first night of Skin Two in 1983 — “the real, original, Daniel James, David Claridge, Leslie Herbert one”, as he is careful to point out.
He started one of the first latex fashion labels, Pure Sex, in London’s famous Kensington High Street fashion emporium Hyper Hyper. In the 1980s and ’90s he worked on numerous scene clubs, creating Switchblade Sisters, Adventures of Gwendoline and the first official Rubber Ball Weekend for Skin Two.
After this came a stint as a prodom at New York’s legendary dungeon Pandora’s Box before he returned to London, where he is a familiar face around the clubs, especially at Torture Garden, frequently supervising its dungeon and bondage performances.
Writing and photography credits include i-D magazine, Blitz, Vogue, Ritual, Zeitgeist, Skin Two, Interview, Alternative London, Salvation Films and Transmuters, and has has editorial roles at American Dommes, Fetish World, Vault and Roué. He has also created and contributed to numerous fetish Yahoo Groups, a selection of which are listed below.
Edmond describes his main interests as Louise Brooks, thigh length boots and 6inch heels. “Show me a girl with black bobbed hair in a skirt that’s too short, thigh high boots with heels that are too high, too many tattoos, problems with drink and cocaine, vague morals, a switchblade in her boot, red lipstick and too much make-up,” he says, “and I'll show you my new girlfriend.”

Yahoo Groups: Transmuters Boots
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