The over the knee boot has had a revival in recent seasons, so much so that it has become a ‘classic’

The cuissard (French) or Over the Knee (English) boot has had a revival in recent seasons, so much so that it has become a ‘classic’ in the wardrobe of every woman, but also of men – on the catwalks it has been seen on the feet of male models (after all, the boot was born primarily for men). In stretch materials like a second skin or in softer and more enveloping ones, in a flat version or with vertiginous heels, this boot can rise a few centimetres above the knee or climb right up the thigh.

A bit of history

The boots were born as protective footwear worn by soldiers at war already in ancient times, safeguarding the legs when fighting on horseback. In France, in the first half of the seventeenth century, the musketeers, whom Louis XIII had chosen as his personal guard against the attacks of Cardinal Richelieu, wore bottes à chaudron, the typical cuffed boots, called ‘funnel boots’ or ‘musketeer boots’. They were also adopted by the aristocrats to flaunt bravado or as a symbol of courage.

How can we forget the fable of Puss in Boots, transcribed into its best-known version by Charles Perrault in 1697? Huge and tall, they seem to swallow the animal that uses them in its raids to help its owner.

In the years of protest and feminism, the cuissard became a cult thanks to Roger Vadin’s 1968 film Barbarella, where Jane Fonda wore a pair of white patent ones. Ignored by critics upon its release, the film became one of the most cited in the history of fashion over the following 50 years, as the costumes were designed by Paco Rabanne, the then enfant terrible of French fashion who inspired so many brands and designers.