Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A designer-clad foot in the fashion door

London Fashion Week is almost upon us, with the opening catwalk show slated for Friday.

Now this might not seem particularly newsworthy – except for the fact that I know that it’s happening. And when. And in advance.

This is the girl who spent much of her childhood wanting to be a boy – or at least wanting to be allowed to play football, which was pretty much the same thing at the time; a girl who disappointed her mother with a worrying lack of interest in clothes, handbags or make-up – the very things that it is assumed all girls naturally like.

My mother, who was determined to rectify such shortcomings (regardless of my thoughts on the matter) escorted me to Boots with some Christmas money shortly after my 13th birthday. There she selected what she considered the appropriate make-up. Blue eyeshadow (this was the 1970s), a compact of powder and a medium purple lipstick: the latter was a small thing and I eventually threw it out around 10 years ago. Which tells you something of how much – or how little – I used to do make-up. There was cleanser and toner and moisturiser too.

This had to be applied for church going at the least. God presumably thinks a touch of slap essential for worship, although on the basis of what was excluded from that shopping trip, mascara is just a tad too tarty in divine circles.

But here we are, some 30 odd years later, and I know when London Fashion Week starts.

All due, of course, to a newfound dedication to the glossies. Not that they’re for reading, but for ogling: porn for apprentice fashionistas.

So I really know what this season’s caged boot is, and I know that it comes from Yves Saint Laurent.

Kinky, eh? And probably a darned good thing that I’m not good in heels and designers don’t make things to fit me.

Let’s be quite clear – I’m not a shoe slut: but only because my feet are such an obscurely awkward size.

To be frank, with size three tootsies (wide fitting) and a bra size of 40H, I feel like a cross between a Geisha and Dolly Parton. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I don’t fall flat on my face more often.

So shoes are out.

Or were, until I happened upon a pair of patent pink Marc Jacobs pumps in Harvey Nicks, Bristol, while working in that city in January. A photo will follow shortly for Irene. But they were an historic find: designer shoes that fitted. And suitably credit crunched by around 50% in the sale. A rarity – and the exception that proves the rule.

Still, there are always handbags.

Lovely, lovely handbags.

But that’s a story for another day.


  1. Syb,

    Do you thing those (still unphotographed) Marc Jacobs pumps make you any less intelligent? Any less of a feminist? Any less of a person?

    A while back, I wrote a little story and posted it on the infowebs. I pointed out that the character, under stress, had a mind that would tend to wander to things like fashion, celebrity gossip, and reality tv. To demonstrate this, I have her mentally reviewing her outfit. She is after all, meeting an old flame for lunch. You would not believe the shite I endured from the various lady posters over it. My poor little neurotic was instantly shoved into the SATC (Sex and the City) box and left there to rot. And there wasn't even any sex anywhere!

    I've also taken heat in certain quarters because I plan to take the Wilde Child to New York for a fun and fashion weekend. I'm told I'm sending the wrong message to focus on outward appearances, but isn't conveying our inner selves through our outward appearances part of establishing our identity? Isn't what we wear a huge visual signal to people that establishes, quite literally, how they "see" us, be we men or women or, sometimes, a little of both?

    I thought we lived in a post-feminist world?

  2. Irene, it's something that annoys me intensely. It's as thought we've swapped being ruled over by the patriarchy to being ruled over by a self-appointed, unaccountable matriarchy.

    Indeed, on a personal level, I'd say that I don't think it any coincidence that my own interest in fashion etc has come at a time when my vocabulary has increased, my ability to think has increased, my ability to read 'better' books has increased ...

    Funnily enough, I've just posted a piece today that deals with the question of dress a little more, so I'll leave you to read that and see what you think.

    In the meantime – enjoy the trip to NYC with the Wilde Child. I shall look forward to reading about it. :)