This famous painting by Sandro Botticelli (circa 1482-84) that hangs in The Uffizi Gallery depicts the voluptuous goddess standing on a giant oyster sans a single scrap of cloth and (gasp!!!) footwear. I’m no art critic but that seems to me an inaccurate portrayal given the unreasonable love affair between women and their shoes.
Bottecelli did get one thing right though, the painting doubtlessly articulates the other great passion of women, jewellery. Venus must most definitely be standing on an entire bed of pearls.
Venus, goddess of erotic love and beauty, was born out of the foams that formed on the shores of Cyprus when her father, Uranus’ castrated genitals were cast into the sea. Naturally the shoes that adorned her feet would probably be fashioned out of fishbone carpeted with seaweed (for comfort) and topped with starfish as toegrips.
Primitive yet au naturel, thus the first ever pair of shoes would be invented. And henceforth begins the inseparable partnership between women and their shoes.
A SHOE BY ANY OTHER NAME…
Women are arguably the more sensible sex concerning most matters, except when it comes to our choice of footwear, we can be led like mules by dangling a carrot at the end of a pole. This was probably how shoes of the same name were conceived. And no small coincidence why the quest for the perfect pair of shoes remains elusive, not to mention our obstinate insistence on looking for them.
Next on the agenda, we discuss the pumps. The de rigueur footwear in the boardroom, the pumps get their name from the sound they make when the heels hit the floor of the hallowed conference rooms. But this author imagines a very different scenario…
Salvatore Ferragamo’s Vara Pumps without a doubt “pumped” women to giddy heights when they debuted (imagine a carjack pumping a stranded vehicle off the ground to facilitate the changing of a flat tire), the better to facilitate the brainwashing of women, quite possibly into parting their hard-earned cash for yet more shoes!
But seriously the elevated heels endowed women with more height; we acquire a more commanding stature instantly, empowering us thus.
Next on the list: the stilettoes. Stilettoes were either a macho joke or a warning to women everywhere. They remind men of the weapon of the same name and were just as lethal on our feet and backs. The high heels forced a woman’s body to lean forward, giving the illusion of perkier breasts, and pushing the buttocks outwards. Higher, firmer, rounder buttocks pronto! Dangerous curves indeed.
Ladies, leave the fate of the world to the boys. Indulge them in their search for The Holy Grail. We have more pressing issues at hand — our Holy Crusade for those divine heels. Just as every lady deserves her perfect mate, each outfit in every woman’s wardrobe demands the perfect pair of shoes. Nothing less.
Ergo the delicate quest for those precious heels is not dissimilar to the chase surrounding Cinderella’s glass slippers.
This world-famous fairy tale was written in 1697 by Charles Perrault. The publisher made a mistake, substituting “vair” (fur in French) for “verre” (glass in French), and the impossible pursuit ensues for Cinderella’s modern predecessors. Are we doomed to wander the malls forever in search of our very own glass slippers? The unfortunate answer is a resounding “YES!!!” but we won’t have it any other way.