Monday, July 23, 2018

Symbolic feet and why women dress to attract attention to their legs

The Greek word for foot and female genitalia come from the same phonemic pattern and words like foot, sandal, earth, and shackle have identical etymological origins. The foot has also been used as a symbol of speed, vitality and success and in the ancient cultures was inscribed on coins, amulets and tablets.

Achilles, Harpocrates and Mopsus all had sacred feet or heels. The foot symbolically takes us from mother and brings us back again. Feelings about our feet bear the imprint of our unconscious beliefs and fantasies as gleaned from ancient language and mythology.

For physicians the careful explication of the unconscious meanings of their patient’s references to feet and to foot symptomatology reveals rich and significant psychological data. In Three Essays on the theory of sexuality (1905) Freud notes the foot serves as a sexual, mostly phallic symbol, symbol of mythology. Later he expanded to include shoes and slippers were symbiotic to the female genitalia (1910). He considered the foot served as the fetishist choice due to its coprophilic significance. He observed only the foul smelling foot became the object of sexual interest, while the pleasure of smell remained largely repressed. In 1910, Freud when exploring early life traumas and the castration threat, By 1927, he described the foot as a substitute for the invisible penis. The fetishist attributes the penis to the women whilst simultaneously denying it. Some people with a fetishism may find the sight of a women wearing uncomfortable body corsetry and footwear, sexually exciting. According to Freud, women dress to attract attention to their legs (emphasising the sexual significance of their appendages).

(Video Courtesy: AMIClubwear Youtube Channel)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fending off the Evil Eye

The Evil eye is found in nearly every culture with the earliest reference found in the cuneiform script of Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, around 3000 BCE.

The ancient Egyptians used eye shadow and lipstick to prevent the evil eye from entering their eyes or mouths. Both the Old and New Testaments mention the evil eye. Superstitions surrounding the evil eye strongly persist in Mediterranean countries. Overlooking describes the deliberate use of the evil eye and was thought to produce such misfortunes as illness, poverty, injury, loss of love, or even death. The power of the evil eye was so greatly feared in the Middle Ages, witches had to walk backwards toward their judges. Almost anything could cause the notion that some person possessed an evil eye. Seen looking at children or livestock prior to illness or death was definite confirmation.

Strangers were viewed with great suspicion and anyone with unusual characteristics such as the colour of their eyes was in danger of being classified as evil eyed. Some babies were thought to be born with the evil eye, corrupting everything they looked at. These children were referred to as demonically possessed. The evil eye was likely to strike in good and fortunate times. Many of the family's riches were deliberately hidden from children just in case they gave them the evil eye. Likewise, success was never bragged about. The community would seek help for their wise elders in matters of the evil eye, animals under the spell were referred to as "blinked". Amulets were used in antiquity as protection.

In Roman times the phallus was used as protection from the evil eye. Today Italian men will still hold their genitals as protection from evil or any misfortune. Another name for Priapus was Fascinus and some referred to the evil eye as fascination. Spitting is thought to be a powerful aversion to the evil eye. Frogs and horns were common shapes used by witches. Horse brasses on the harness were thought to protect from the evil eye as was tying ribbons on children's underwear. Garlic and the shamrock have also been used as a protection and many gardeners plant jack beans around their gardens to the same effect.

Hindus believe barley can help and represented a symbol of thunderbolts of Indra. Other cures against the evil eye include reciting incantations usually passed down from mother to daughter within the family. Italians will often put a few drops of olive oil in a bowl of water (occasionally salted) The oil may scatter, from into blobs or sink to the bottom. The formation is then interpreted to determine the source of the attack. Once this is done more oil is added to the water while reciting the incantations and making the sign of the cross on the victim's forehead. If this fails a powerful sorceress is sought for a more effective cure. Foot superstitions like ‘first footing’ were used to ward off the Evil Eye.

(Video Courtesy: Nooni1233 Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 21/07/2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

James Brown - Get on the Good Foot

(Video Courtesy: '00s Grits & Soul Youtube Channel)

Moon foot print conspiracy

The Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 has long since been the subject of critical analysis among conspiracy theorists. Many claim the moon exercises were all elaborate hoaxes staged at terrestrial facilities. These claims have all been shown to be fallacious. However, something which recently rekindled conspiracy claims relate to the first footprints on the moon.

American astronaut, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, historically captured by his Apollo 11 colleagues. These photographs included footprints made in the moon dust which at the time made headlines across the world.

However, when his A7LB Space Suit was photographed in 2015 on presentation to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, there was a discrepancy between his boot treads.

Transpires the iconic moon prints were not made by Neil Armstrong, but rather his fellow astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, took the iconic photograph of his own footprint to allow scientists to study the tensile strength of the lunar surface. The tread on Aldrin’s boot, as documented in a picture taken by Armstrong as Aldrin descended the ladder from the LEM to the moon’s surface matches the tread.

The astronauts wore overshoes (with treaded soles) to give the explorers extra protection from rips, tears, and dust.

The distinctive footprints, which are still on the Moon to this day.

(Video Courtesy: mrmovieman34 Youtube Channel)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Crocs go high

Demna Gvalia is the creative director of the luxury fashion house, Balenciaga wants to invigorate Crocs and make them an It-shoe. He already introduced 10cm-soled platform Crocs last year at the Balenciaga's Spring/Summer 2018 Show.

Now the designer has a pair of bubblegum pink, high-heeled Crocs which quickly sold out.

Crocs have their own heels dubbed the Cyprus V Crocs

When two tribes go to war: Fighting Footwear

When two tribes go to war, how many people count the cost of keeping them in shoes? In the Great War it is estimated some 2,500,000 pairs of shoes were made for the Allied troops. Laid end to end this would mean the shoes would cover the complete coastline of Western Australia. An estimated 380,000 cattle were required to be slaughtered to provide the equivalent of 17.5 million square feet of leather or 400 acres to make the boots. The soul leather alone weighed 4,000 tons; metal for nails was 1,150 tons; with 55 tons of thread; and 78,000,000 eyelets. War has always meant big business to the shoe and textile industries. Sadly this has not always brought the best from friendly suppliers and it is estimated human greed can account for almost as many casualties as enemy fire in modern warfare.

When soldier’s boots are poor quality for the conditions of combat then their fighting ability is undermined. During the American Civil War, for example, the US cavalry were demoralised because of shoddy workmanship. Supplied with sub-standard cardboard, cowboy boots, their feet and legs were cut to ribbons.

During the Second World War footwear supplies to the front were fatally delayed because vital supplies were misappropriated by Black Marketeers. It was quite common to find non-combat units wearing superior footwear intended for their colleagues at the front. Trench foot was first described in the Great War and was attributed to the feet being immersed in very cold mud for long periods of time. The forces footwear was no match for the atrocious conditions of the trenches. In the Second World War, trench foot was responsible for putting more Allied Forces out of action than the German 88 (artillery). In December 1944, northern Europe's witnessed it's coldest winter during which 45,000 men - the equivalent of three full infantry divisions, were pulled out of the front line because of trench foot. Three days before the Battle of the Bulge began so great were the casualties to trench foot, men unable to walk were carried from sheltered pillbox positions at night to firing positions in the day time. Behind the US Lines it was decreed any soldier suffering trench foot would be tried for court martial. Senior officers were suspicious some soldiers were hoping to avoid combat by actively encouraging symptoms of trench foot. One reason why trench foot was so common was soldiers slept with their boots on. During engagement they were recommended to dry and warm their feet as best they could, and sleep with their boots off. This was often impractical and most ignored the directive.

Conditions in the Falklands War were extreme. The British soldiers were severely challenged by their inferior boots. The direct molded sole failed to keep their feet dry and water poured through the lace holes. The impermeable sole provided a perfect reservoir and feet was immersed in cold water for long periods. Trench foot was commonplace and a major concern to the assault forces. The Argentine boot, on the other hand, was superior in every way and provided ideal protection to the elements hence it became a valued prize of war.

The crossover trend from military wear to fashionable is not new and was seen during the Napoleonic Wars. The Wellington and Blucher boot were proudly worn as a tribute to the Great War heroes. Paradoxically of course although Napoleon lost the war his style of boots became the prototype of all modern cowboy boots. The Engineer boots was popular after the Second World War and was taken into civilian life primarily by those young men who now rode motor cycles. The high ankle protectors meant the skin was not burnt by the hot exhaust pipe and of course this gave the fashion for biker boots. "Its an ill wind that blows no-one, some good ".

The misfortunes of a US boot making companies were transformed with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although 90% of US shoes are manufactured overseas there is a US federal law which states all military footwear should be made from cow hides of American cattle. War meant a new lease of life for ailing traditional industries. At first the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan was a major challenge to the boot designers. During the winter in the mountains the snows can be anything from waist height to over the head and since much of the campaign covert tell tale boot prints gave away the presence of strangers. Landmines were a major problem and despite the sophistication of design and material, no army boot has yet been able to prevent injury. Official US Government research indicates the spectrum of lower leg injuries is the same whether wearing sandals or standard army boots. At best the purpose of the army boot is to prevent below knee amputation for small charges and above the knee for large charges. Combat troops keen to avoid detection wore sandals made from old tyre treads.

Further Reading
Combat Boots: Then and now

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Incredible Freda Kahlo (1907-1954)

When surrealist painter, Frida Kahlo was a child in Mexico she contracted polio, which left her with a limb length discrepancy in the right leg. As a teenager, she suffered near fatal injuries in a serious road accident coming home from school. An iron handrail impaled her through her pelvis, fracturing the pelvic bone. Frida spent a month in the hospital and two months recovering at home. Combined with post-polio complications Kaho suffered chronic pain for the rest of her life. She did want to become a doctor but realised it was no longer possible so decided to become a medical illustrator, and combine her interests in science and art, and began to paint. She had a specially-made easel to enabled her to paint in bed, and a mirror was placed above it so she could see herself. Painting became a way for Kahlo to explore questions of identity and existence.

In 1922, she first met Diego Rivera when painting a school mural and he was impressed with her works. Despite their age difference, they began a relationship six years later and married in 1929. Kahlo, was too frail to work but Diego paid for her expensive medical treatments and they became a celebrated couple courted by the media. At first, most of her paintings were portraits of herself, her sisters, and school friends. Initially influenced by Renaissance masters she began to integrate the avant-garde .

Conscious of her deformity she always struggled to walk but kept up a brave face and dressed spectacularly in Mexican costume, with starched bouffant skirts falling below her ankles. In 1938, she painted a self-painting entitled “What I Saw in the Water or What the Water Gave Me," The right foot shows a bleeding sore between the deformed big toe and second toe

After her maiden exhibtiton on New York in the same year, she fell ill and it was discovered she had a trophic (penetrating) ulcer under her right foot. Her spine was adversely effected and some historians believe she may have been born with spina bifida. For the next decade, Frida was in constant pain from her back and right foot. She wore a series of body casts and was forced to take to her bed for long periods. In her short life, the artist endured over 30 surgeries, multiple hospitalizations, and countless months of bedrest.

Eventually in 1953, after gangrene set into her right leg she had a below knee amputation. Frida suffered constant pain and self medicated with brandy and pain killers. Devistated, she. tried to make light of the loss, writing the poignant phrase, "Pies para que los quiero, si tengo alas pa' volar?" (Feet, why do I want them if I have wings to fly? She also fixed a bell to her leg brace and petticoats which jingled as she moved.

Sadly Frida died in 1954 from a self-administered morphine overdose.

(Video Courtesy: William Earwood Youtube Channel)

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up V&A, London

Buddy's brown suede shoes

Buddy Holly wore brown suede shoes. One of his many hits and popular evergreens was “Peggy Sue” then later “Peggy Sue got married”. The song lyrics relate not to a girlfriend of Buddy, but that of Jerry Alison a member of the Crickets. A country girl, Jerry and Peggy were childhood sweethearts and married early, much to the consternation of Buddy. In the fifties for a pop star to be married had less market appeal to the teenage fans and marriages were either discouraged or kept secret. When Holly came to New York he was a success and courted by the glitterati. Keen to keep a cool public image he became concerned at the look of his cort├Ęge.

Peggy Sue was attractive but lacked city sophistication and encouraged by her husband she was sent out to gear up. Peggy Sue dressed in a fashionable pencil tight skirt and stiletto high heels returned from her shopping spree. Later that night she and Jerry dined with Holley and his friend Phil Everly. Peggy Sue was soft on Everly and keen to impress him. The couples were attending a prestigious film premier. As the celebrities emerged from the chauffer driven limo in full view of the paparazzi, Peggy Sue could not negotiate the tight skirt and stumbled over her heels. One of her heels lodged in the subway gate and snapped off. She fell her full self in front of the glitzy New York crowd. Buddy, a knight in shining armour, came to her aid. He convinced her to jettison the steels and walk with him barefoot. Obviously the dress code then allowed barefoot patrons onto the premises or maybe because it was Buddy Holly but the rest of the evening went without a hitch.

Buddy Holly came to Australia and landed in Sydney on January 30, 1958. The tour had Jerry Lee Lewis and Paul Anka. Jerry Lee Lewis offended Australian fans finer feelings when he accused them of being so dumb, when inebriated as to not be able to tell the difference between piss and beer. To illustrate the point he urinated into a beer bottle in a Brisbane bar, and put it in front of a patron. Sharp as the fellow it took him a couple of slugs before he registered this was not his usual brew. Better perhaps? Holly also insulted Australia’s great pretender, Johnnie O’Keefe when he was asked to comment on O’Keefe’s version of Jesse Hill’s “ Oop Poop A Doo.” At a radio interview in Melbourne. The droll Texas star relied “Pretty horrible.”

(Video Courtesy: martyrocks Youtube Channel)

Talk about putting your brown suede shoes in it!” Johnnie was actually present in the studio at the time and dismissed the put down as “(Buddy) you’re hysterical.” Fortunately O’Keefe was fan of the bespeckled Lubbock star.

(Video Courtesy: Daniela Rodrigues Youtube Channel)

Amburn E 1995 Buddy Holly: A biography NY: St Martin’s Press

reviewed 19/07/2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dancing shoes: Take care of the pair

Like all sporting activities (by that I mean. controlled movement which requires specific and learned activity) shoes can be an asset or drawback. Now that dancing has become popular again, there has never been a better time to review what the experts say about dancing shoes. Conventional wisdom prefers lower heels if dancing for long periods. Also shoes with straps are preferred to get a better fit with less foot slip. These are called ‘character shoes’ and help the foot and shoe act as one. Unlike outdoor footwear the dancer wants to have as little friction between the sole and the dance floor as possible. This allows the dancer to spin; hence dancing shoes need leather soles or non-grip rubber soles.

(Video Courtesy: Donny Robbins Youtube Channel)

Glamorous footwear need to look sharp but if damage to the toes is to be avoided, then the shoe should have plenty of room for all five toes and some room for the foot to expand after a heavy session of dancing. This requires a soft upper, which can accommodate changes in volume. When properly maintained and lovingly cared for dedicated dancing shoes will last a lot longer than a pair used for every activity. Most competition dances are very superstitious and will have rituals they follow just like all competitors. Favourite shoes feature highly in the psyche.

Tired or aching feet by the end of the night should not be ignored or borne stoically. A handful of table salt dissolved into a basin of warm water (46 degrees c) is the ideal medium for a footbath. Bathe the feet for longer than 10 minutes. Application of a foot massage with cold cream is itself worth all the effort of the physical exertion of dancing.

As with any sport it prefers a certain type of physique, chronic injuries weaken the architecture of the leg and feet and should be avoided if at all possible. This is not always possible so do not ignore repetitive warnings like arch fatigue, tight tendons, or ankle sprains. Most professionals have warm up and warm down exercises they complete at competitions. Injuries are easier to prevent than cure it has to be said and foot supports are common accessories.

(Video Courtesy: KBMTALENT Youtube Channel)

Sometimes to the novice it appears you need a degree in podiatry to make sense of the insole requisite array, as seen at your local pharmacy or sport shoe shop. Rely on the experience of other dancers who may have tried everything and have a magical combination. Usually quality retailers will have staff willing to share these secret messages. Remember you often only get what you pay for and be prepared to replace the cheaper inlay more frequently. Prescribed foot orthoses are useful when part of managed care but by themselves serve no purpose. If in doubt, see your podiatrist.

(Video Courtesy: disc070s Youtube Channel)

tongue + chic exhibition at PHILLIPS

The tongue + chic exhibition will bring together an exciting selection of one-of-a-kind sneakers featuring collaborations with Trevor "Trouble" Andrew, KAWS, Daniel Arsham, Stash, Daniel "Mache" Gamache, theheyyman and Shantell Martin, among others. Curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, in collaboration with Arnold Lehman, tongue + chic celebrates these utilitarian objects which have become highly coveted works that straddle the divide between fashion and art.

The exhibition is at PHILLIPS 450 Park Avenue, New York from 16 July – 31 August with viewing Monday-Friday 10am-6pm

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Portraits Completed

Ogilvy Chicago had a brilliant campaign entitled "Portraits Completed", for the shoe polish brand Kiwi . Portraits Completed. won two prizes in Print and Publishing at the Cannes Festival in 2017. The award-winning campaign displayed the masterpieces with what the subjects might have been wearing on their feet.

(Video Courtesy: CasualVideoGinger Youtube Channel)

How Dr. Martens' Are Made

Shoes of Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Australians seldom needed shoes or sandals to protect their feet. The soles of the feet became hardened by going without with the toes flexible and capable of acting like fingers. In some parts of Australia such as the central part and Northern territories some tribes wore a form of sandal made from cord or bark to protect their feet. Among the Aranda people (Northern Territories) men who wore interlingua or urtathurta were revenge killers. These shoes made from emus feathers and were tied with fur or human hair. The shoes were the same pointed shape at the toes and heels and it was said no one could tell the directions in which the footprints came from. The shoes worn by the Kurdaitcha had magical properties and many Aboriginals believed the shoes left no tracks at all. This is just as well since the belief was the mere sight of the tracks was enough to cause death to the culprit. The emus shoes were used for several purposes. They were supposed to have been worn by fugitives to obliterate their tracks. Their principal purpose was to assist in acts of sorcery and revenge.

The Kurdaitcha man was the tribal executioner killing those who offended against the unwritten tribal laws. The shoes or slippers were matted together with human blood. Before wearing them the Kurdaitcha man's little toes were dislocated and protruded from holes the upper of the shoes. These were thought to be eyes enabling them to be seen in the dark. When the Kurdaitcha man was not himself a sorcerer he was accompanied by the worker of black magic. When on the trial he carried churinga to make him invisible. As he approached his victim he performed the usual procedures of bone pointing or injecting of magical crystals and healing of the wound so that the afflicted man might go about for several days before succumbing to the magic operation.

Batterberry M &A 1977 Mirror mirror: a social history of fashion NY: Holt Rinehart & Winston
Reed AW 1969 An illustrated encyclopaedia of aborginal life NSW: AH &AW Reed.