Friday 15 January 2010
the red shoes
I had a beautiful pair of red shoes once. They were a perfect true red- the colour of routemaster buses, post boxes and Hollywood lips. They had a very low kitten heel so that from the front they looked almost flat- but the heel was enough to tip you forward and be flattering. At the front they came to a point and were extremely low cut so that you could see the beginning of my toes. There were two little bars of leather that made a kind of short T above the toe cleavage.
The red shoes became very comfortable in the end but initially they and my feet had to learn a way to get along with each other. When it rained sometimes they turned my feet a bright shade of pink. To start with I didn’t have rubber soles put on them because I love the clip of leather soles on London pavements- eventually I did and they were quieter but the heels still made a satisfying sound. They were bought in an LK Bennet sale for less than half price- they didn’t really look like they were from LK Bennett- which isn’t meant to disparaging, they just weren’t one of their standard styles or colours or heights and I suspect that is why they were in the sale.
When I bought them I was certainly pleased but they weren’t a pair of shoes I had longed for and I didn’t look at them endlessly in their box as I have been known to do with some new shoes. I started wearing them almost immediately and unusually for me didn’t keep them for special occasions but wore them whenever I wanted- which ended up being virtually all the time. A really good pair of red shoes can have an amazing impact on the way an outfit looks, they can make something classic look a bit quirky and something plain look interesting and the wearer becomes blessed with an Amelie type quality. Most importantly looking down at your feet and seeing a really joyful red looking back at you gives you a spring in your step and the confidence that follows.
The red shoes and I went all over town and memorably they came to Paris where they passed the pavement test (how many men and women look down admiringly at your feet) with even more flying colours than they did at home. They were resoled many times and polished to keep their lipstick sheen; they got wet; they got mud on them from walking through the park; I even think they got salt from snow on them and I worried that I wouldn’t get the white marks out, but I did.
Then one day the leather started splitting where your foot bends and for the first time they had lost some of their cherry zest and I knew that the cobbler wouldn’t be able to do anything more for them. I didn’t wear them again but they did stay in my room for quite a long time, just neatly by some drawers because they still looked so interesting. They were an accidental purchase but I have never been able to find their like since- it was truly like they had a little personality of their own. They found me and we had adventures and now they are gone but I still remember them- even though they were just shoes. I was getting dressed this morning, putting on some red tights and I thought how fine my red shoes would have looked today and I just smiled. We had fun.
Picture of the red shoes from 'The Red Shoes'from Verdoux blog via Around the Edges blog.
Dorothy's shoes from Scene stealers here.