Dr Marten I Presume. from Workwear Staple to Iconic Fashion Statement: The Boot Is Back, Thanks to Aggy

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 16, 2009 | Go to article overview

Dr Marten I Presume. from Workwear Staple to Iconic Fashion Statement: The Boot Is Back, Thanks to Aggy


Byline: LIZ HOGGARD

AGYNESS Deyn likes hers in cherry red. Model of the moment Alice Dellal prefers hers with biker jacket and ripped fishnets.

Daisy Lowe has them in bright pink.

The Dr Marten boot is back. At Paris Fashion Week, Jean-Paul Gaultier sent models out in the label's 20-eyelet chunky boots. According to chief executive David Suddens: "Sales are up five per cent in Europe and we are expecting an even stronger year this year despite the recession." The brand -- which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year -- has gone from workwear staple to emblem of youth rebellion. More than 100 million pairs have been sold since it launched here on 1 April 1960 (the best-seller, the 1460 eight-eyelet boot, is named after the date). And now they're high fashion again -- tying in with the new flirtation with all things punk.

You can wear them with the most feminine dresses, for that essential hint of butch. And their airconditioned sole, plus grooved side walls and chunky heel loop, gives you ballast. A dancer friend tells me they're great for having sex standing up on trains (you'll have to take her word for it).

Its history is fascinating: Klaus Maertens was a doctor in the German army during the Second World War.

After he injured his ankle skiing, he began adapting his standard-issue army boots with an air-cushioned sole.

Soon he was manufacturing them using discarded rubber from Luftwaffe airfields. In 1960, British shoe manufacturer Griggs bought patent rights to manufacture them here (they anglicised the name, added the yellow stitching, and trademarked the soles as AirWair). …

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Dr Marten I Presume. from Workwear Staple to Iconic Fashion Statement: The Boot Is Back, Thanks to Aggy
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