Monroe in 1952
Flappers 1925Marie Lloyd, music hall artiste circa 1900.
Apparently high heels began as a Venetian fashion among courtesans in the fifteenth century. Catherine De Medici brought the craze to France in 1533 when she married the future Henri II and by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries both sexes had taken to the elevating attire.
Marie Antoinette even went to the guillotine in them!
See the Guardian slideshow.
And check out the article by Hannah Betts.