The world of shoes is one that confuses me hugely, mostly because I just don’t understand shoes in the way that women do. Or more specifically my wife and her friends. In the linked piece, for me the extreme slowmo and reverse movement somehow gives license to the outlandishness of the footwear. Along with the unusual music by Susumu Yokota.
Shoe mechanics are complicated, but not as complicated as shoe aesthetics. The height of the heel is inversely proportional to the perceived broadness at the hip. The higher the heel, the longer the perceived leg, the narrower at the hip and the tighter the buns. What do I know? High shoes make your ass look smaller? All I know is that that amount of mass being concentrated through a tiny area in the guise of a high heel is enough to mark any floor. Regardless of the gazelle-like qualities of the wearer.
Maybe we have evolved to the state where the more outrageous and unsuitable the garment, the more we’re trying to emphasise our devil-may-care attitude about life in general. Look at us, look how we don’t need to be able to walk with stealth through forests – we’re too affluent and over-fed to do that, look how much we don’t need to run to escape – we don’t need to worry about the basics of life like finding food or a mate or somewhere warm to sleep; maybe the shoe is an outward manifestation of our material insouciance. Which in turn is a development of civilisation. And entropy.
I don’t need no stinking food, I need me a pair of Manolo’s.
Which reminds me of an evening spent at the Taste of Dublin a few months back in the Iveagh Gardens, when the weather was wet. Really wet. Regardless of the weather, there was a contingent of shoeistas out there persevering in the muck, their elevated footwear no match for the inclement conditions. Sinking shank deep in the ancient old mud, knocking back the sweetbreads and Prosecco. Enjoying their grub mind you, but with the distraction of a damp insole and tarnished uppers.
Suffice to say, shoes are a constant source of bewilderment to me and amusement/love for my wife and her sisters and friends.
I suppose on the other hand (foot?), a corollary as it were, I have the facility to drone on about music, film, politics and football, topics I actually know very little about in real terms but will insist on doing anyway. Last time I played football I broke my leg – wrong footwear, Readers, leather-soled brogues and dry grass don’t mix. And just wait till the Rugby World Cup starts up in a few days time, I’ll be spouting knowledgeably about tactics and form, physique and stamina even though more than half my life has elapsed since I actually played it. (In my own defence though I refuse to use the nicknames – absolutely no Dricos or Rogs for me).
This from someone who has spent a large part of their teens and twenties (and on into the thirties & 40s but we don’t talk about that) wearing such delights as Docs and other multiple-holed booties in accordance with the punk and new wave ethic at the time; functional and stout to be sure, but on mature reflection maybe not the most sartorially elegant shoe a man could wear. However I never wore ox-blood and I never shaved my head. And I don’t know 33 ways to lace a boot. But that’s another matter entirely …
Stunning film noir image above courtesy of Julie O’Donnell. Click on the image for a full size version on flickr.