Friday, March 30, 2012

God Save my Shoes

The Bata Shoe Museum hosted a preview of God Save My Shoes, a documentary film about women's passionate and often obsessive relationship with shoes. The film features top shoe designers Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahink,  and Bruno Frisoni, as well as women shoe lovers/collectors from New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Milan, including Dita von Teese and Fergie. Experts, including Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Curator of the FIT Museum, and Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum, give thought-provoking interviews on women's obsession with high heel shoes.

This movie looks at the reasons why 5-inch stilettos have become contemporary symbols of femininity, embodying pleasure and pain, sensuality and seduction, but also effectively hobbling women's gait and impeding their mobility. Elizabeth Semmelhack compared such shoes to the chopines worn by women in Renaissance Italy as well as to "hooker" shoes, showing actual examples thereof. Although some people might argue that high heels are a symbol of women's power, she suggested that if such shoes really represented power then men would also wear high heels.

Some of the quotes from the film:

"A shoe tells who you are."  Fergie

"These are S and M shoes. Stand and model only." Christian Louboutin salesman

"For me, a high heel can never be too high." Christian Louboutin

"Sexual commodification is an important part of high fashion today." Elizabeth Semmelhack

"There was a time in my life when I was really unhappy and the only thing that made me happy was a pair of new shoes." Beth Shak, Shoe Collector

The documentary DVD premiers in New York tonight - March 30th, 2012. See it if you can. It is a beautifully crafted and thought provoking film written by Julie Benastra.

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