Don’t you think that the urban shoe-aholic-that contemporary chick with the mania for purchasing vast numbers of trampy, strappy shoes and then talking about them ad nauseam-has become a teensy bit of a cliché? This inescapable modern archetype, jump-started by the excesses of ex–Miss Manila Imelda Marcos and subsequently made groovy by actress (and mom!) Sarah Jessica Parker, has totally lost her/its cutesy self-indulgent resonance. As we brace ourselves for the final round of the television version of Sex and the City , maybe it’s time for all you Carrie wannabes to find another shtick. Non ?
If attention is your goal, how about substituting something contentious for your footwear kvellings? Whenever you feel a shoe moment coming on, reach for the New York Post , which-admit it-is always close at hand, and parrot some of the bracing invective from the editorial page. My personal fave is agitated arch-conservative Michelle Malkin, whom I picture sporting a sensible black patent-leather mid-level career heel. Whether denouncing the body-piercings of pop singer Christina Aguilera as “ridiculous” or railing against the laissez-faire of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, M.M.’s abrasive common sense is bound to stun your annoyingly über -liberal claque into silence and focus their attention on you .
Re shoes: Why not, instead of buying gobs of shoes, just buy one pair of shoes at a time and wear them relentlessly-as some punk chicks did back in the 1970′s-until the heels erode? Or why not do as Jeanne Moreau’s character does in the 1966 Tony Richardson–directed movie Mademoiselle : Buy one pair of kinkily evil black-patent stilettos and wear them only when you’re actually feeling kinky and evil. (During your non-stiletto time, try this season’s trendy Y3 Yohji Yamamoto–meets–Adidas sneaker-$250, exclusively at Barneys Co-op in early February.) In this pretentious but riveting movie, a young and austerely chic Mlle. Moreau plays a repressed schoolteacher who spends her free time stroking and polishing her kinky patent high-heels. Her sublimated sexual urges erupt every now and then, occasioning her to don the shoes and kill people and farm animals.
The screenplay for Mademoiselle was written by none other than Jean Genet while recovering from the suicide of his Arab circus-acrobat boyfriend, who had plummeted to his death after M. Genet goaded him to perform excessively risky feats. Director Richardson’s gripping out-of-print autobio, The Long-Distance Runner , details how he found the playwright and mayhem magnet living, improbably, in a Norwich, England, hotel, drowning his guilt and sorrow in an infatuation with a young, married English racing car driver. Mr. Richardson further speculates that Genet agreed to write the script in order to buy his chap a new Porsche or Mercedes.
If you aren’t into such mayhem or you simply can’t bear the thought of wearing worn-down shoes (i.e., you’re too old to pull off the dégagé of such a radical gesture), then pick a snappy black shoe and buy multiples thereof. There are plenty of governess-goes-to-hell stilettos to choose from. This season’s shoes have, thank God, become more shoe-like and less strappily conceptual and confusing. From Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, I heartily recommend the black patent kinky-yet-sweet peep-toe with the bow ($505, closed-toe or sling-back). Christian Louboutin’s Piratata in black kid ($425) is a dominatrix-ballerina hybrid guaranteed to stimulate mayhem. From Manolo Blahnik, yes, it’s the Caroline, the No. 1–selling staple of the Blahnik oeuvre for years, a wicked sling-back with a pointy closed toe that is named after 80′s socialite Carolyn Roehm ($425 and up at the Blahnik store at 31 West 54th Street, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys).
Cash-poor girls should check out Spiegel.com, wherein lurks a surprisingly kinky black suede T-strap for $89.
Re blathering on about shoes: Here’s an updated stiletto anecdote that will make you refrain from ever referring to your footwear again for as long as you live. Remember that story about the mangled Lizzie Grubman victim who begged the fireman not to cut her Jimmy Choos? And the rumor that some aggressive P.R. mayhem-maven nabbed the moment for Mr. Choo? Well, rumors are raging through the shoe community that what she specifically ordered was: “Don’t cut my Sergio Rossis.” Quel scandale!
Follow Simon Doonan via RSS.