WHEN the first Dr. Martens came off the production line in 1960, they were the anonymous all-purpose work boots worn by British postmen, policemen and factory workers. By the late 1960s, skinheads from London's East End had adopted them as their own, and soon the shoes were punk, Goth, grunge, metal, Mod and military-chic. Now they're runway fashion too.
Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, known for his love of black and detachment from contemporary trends, is collaborating with the every-rebel shoemaker for his fall collection. Yamamoto left the standard translucent rubber sole, yellow stitching and heel loop untouched but added such features as an inside zipper, a pointed toe, a "YY" logo and buckled straps. Both men's and women's boots will be available in July at Barneys in Beverly Hills for $490 to $1,250.
Yamamoto wasn't the only designer channeling the iconic boot. Hedi Slimane's Dior Homme fall collection featured high black-laced boots. At Chloe, chunky, Doc-like boots in classic cherry red and other colors were paired with artsy dresses. Diane von Furstenberg protégé Nathan Jenden gave his retro party dresses a 1980s twist with lace-up creepers.
But don't expect Henry Rollins or Siouxsie Sioux to wear anything but DMs anytime soon.