Platform Shoes

Elevating Venetian Chopines
Historically, platform shoes were known to have existed in such faraway fashion meccas as ancient Greece, where they were worn onstage to increase the height of certain theatrical characters. They also appeared throughout the centuries, gracing the feet of various characters, such as high-class prostitutes in Venice (the shoes were called chopines), wealthy citizens of China and have even been spotted on such illustrious figures as Krishna in Bhubaneswar, India.

Krishna's platforms. Image source.

70s Flamboyance
However, in modern terms, although platforms and wedges were worn in the 1940s, the platform shoe really really reached its zenith post-60s, via the flamboyant fashions of the 1970s, when they eventually became more or less a mainstream fashion item. Great for short girls, they were however, prohibitively elevating for anyone on the extra tall side.

From Tommy -  shoes with vertical attitude
No article about 70s platforms would be complete without obligatory reference to the film version of the of the 1975 rock opera, Tommy,  which showcased the extravagant excesses of 70s fashion. The excess culminated in Elton John's absurdly high bother boots, designed to give the wearer a surrealist edge. In braces and boots, the character of Tommy reflected the London street bully and the footwear was modelled on classic Doc Martens, the boot of choice for skinheads, though Elton John looks more comical than intimidating.

Although in r/life platform shoes didn't get quite that elevated, there were some spectacularly high shoes around in the era. Cork platforms were favoured among female Australian Sharpies [an offshoot of the skinhead subculture], often in a retro girly T-bar style. Platforms could give off the illusion of height and power, though for walking, running and driving, they were something of a hindrance.

Platform Revival
Modern Vintage 70s inspired contemporary platforms
Platforms continued to be worn off and on in the decades that followed and according to some sources,were the most prolonged shoe fashion fad in history. At one point in Japan, platforms got so absurdly high, they were banned for drivers, as it was discovered they were contributing to car appears  Japanese girls love their high-rise shoes, with some platforms reaching as high as a whopping 12 inches.

Eccentric British designer Vivienne Westwood helped propel the platform cause along in the 1990s by including them among her high fashion collections,- a situation that famously caused Naomi Campbell to trip over her own nine inch platforms on the cat walk..

The weirdly fascinating 1990s Japanese "Black Face"look, complete with ultra-high platforms. Image from outrageousjapanesefashion
FLY London modern platforms
Platforms are still pretty popular in the 21st century. These days it's hard to be outrageous, as we are so accustomed to extreme fashion, it sometimes feels more like the norm than the exception - platforms come in all shapes and sizes for men, women and children. In the 60s/70s, when they first appeared, high platforms were considered a bit edgy but like everything all eventually slides into the great mainstream fashion vat.
Variation of a platform. FLY London tangy sandals.