According to SHOE OBSESSION, the current exhibit at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), “shoes are an intimate extension of the body that convey a wealth of information about an individual’s sexuality, social status, and aesthetic sensibility.” High-heeled shoes, in particular, embody our complex feelings about sex and power, which is what this provocative show is all about.
As I stroll through this exhibit in my comfortable flats, I’m awed by 150 styles of towering high heels that are works of art. Or perhaps they’re works of art masquerading as shoes. In either case, they are beyond amazing. They are beyond gorgeous. And just in time to check my drooling, I think most of these shoes would be “beyond painful” to wear.
So why are so many women passionate about shoes?
The short answer goes something like this: Shoes give us a chance to amp up our sexuality by just slipping them on. It worked for Cinderella. Her glass slippers changed her self image in a flash, and became her ticket for landing the prince of her dreams.
Shoes tell the stories of our lives. They’re shorthand for who we are. They’re enabling dreams that let us act out who we long to be. They make us look taller and slimmer. They continue to fit our feet even when our bodies change. They make men notice us. They boost our confidence without the price tag of psychotherapy. Unless, of course, we share Carrie Bradshaw’s obsession for Manolo Blahnik.
Of course we know heels are bad for our feet. They’re bad for our backs, bad for our posture, and bad for our checkbooks. But in this very serious and crazed world we live in, shoes are the wearable, harmless playthings of our adulthood. They are our loyal friends.
If you find the time, visit FIT’s SHOE OBSESSION. Whether you wear your 5 inchers, or your most comfy running shoes, you’ll love what you see. In fact, I’ll bet my only pair of Jimmy Choo’s on it.
Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
Exhibit ends April 13th
Admission is free