Sunday, March 8, 2009

Column Inches

Went to a glamorous party last night, where lots of ladies were wearing very beautiful, extremely high-heeled shoes. It got me thinking . . . 4-inch platforms aren't meant to engage in anything as pedestrian as actual walking, apart from the precarious journey from car to bar. No, the role of these shoes is to act like twin plinths, or pedestals, lifting the wearer up toward the sky like a goddess.

Interesting, I think, that in their long history high heels have also played a practical role . . . see Edward Penny's 1764 engraving of a housemaid cleaning the sidewalk -- she wears high-heeled "pattens" to lift her skirts away from ground level, to keep them free from mud.

(I'm not sure why the gentleman to her right seems so alarmed, but maybe he's recalling a rude encounter with the carpet-beater she holds . . . the engraving is English, after all . . . )

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