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Monday, March 06, 2006

The Oscars: Cowboys and Kinky Boots

Now the red carpet for the Oscars has been rolled up for 2006 and we now know the winners included Brokeback Mountain and Walk the Line looks like, if the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was anything to go by. Cowboy Boots will be the height of fashion this coming season. But before you run off for the spurs you might contemplate a pair of kinky boots. The Kinky Boot Factory is W.J. Brookes , which makes the Divine Range of erotic shoes for both men and women. Divine, is tucked away on a street in a small village which is hardly the place you might expect to find a business catering for exotica. The film Kinky Boots was based on the true story of W.J Brookes & Co, a Northampton boot and shoe company, which was faced with closure with the market down turn for quality footwear. W.J Brookes & Co, reputation was well known and when Laces in Folkestone, contacted the company with a new proposition the fortunes changed. Market research indicated eager customers ready for exotic footwear so the firm started to produce fetish designs for men and women. This was confirmed when the company exhibited their wares at the Dusseldorf footwear show . They had plenty of interest and set to manufacturing sexy boots and shoes. Whilst sales were slow to begin with gradually their reputation for quality boots became acknowledged. Media interest followed the transition and people began to take an interest in Divine. Shrewd business practice and financial analysis give greater cost benefit until sales began to take off. Now the company sell accompanying apparel as well as footwear and have an established markets in the US and Europe. One of the successes of Divine’s Drag Queen range is the footwear was made for men. Prior to them entering into the market a lot of fetish shoes were made on ladies fittings. Divine’s bootmakers kept the ladies sizes from three to six but for sizes seven up to thirteen they made new lasts based on a traditional man's brogue but for a thigh length boot or court shoe. This robust innovation accommodates bigger and broader feet and the company have now kindled interest in the female market. Catering for the drag sartorial, the company wanted their catalogue to illustrate their shoes on male feet. So confident was the managing director of Divine, Steve Pateman, he shaved his legs and has modelled for the range, ever since.

The film is based on a true story is another Mirimax comedy which blends humour with a light pathos set in working class British melieu. Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton) inherits his father’s shoe factory in Northampton . The bottom has fallen out of the market for quality footwear and unless the hapless Charlie comes up with a brilliant idea then the factory will close and the craftsfolk will be made redundant. Charlie goes to London to try to secure sales when by chance he meets Lola ( Chiwetel Ejiofor ), a drag queen with heel problems. When Lauren (Sarah Jane Potts ), accuses him of giving up on the business too easily Charlie seeks the help of Lola with the comedic consequences of a drag queen in a provisional town in middle England. Lola and Charlie bond and help each other overcome their challenges as the story progresses. The excellent climax makes this film worth the watch.

Kinky Boots makes for enjoyable escapism and if you enjoyed Priscilla and Connie and Carla , then you will love Kinky Boots . Nothing new here but a good yarn none the less and light inoffensive comedy. Of course if you are (like me) interested in shoes this is a fine film because it used authentic factory settings and the action includes shoe making. Good performances from Joel Edgerton, whose accent is perfect, and Chiweel Ejiofor whose performance as Lola is the business. He reminded me of Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Show . Look out also for The Don played by Nick Frost , definitely a face we shall see in the future. Nick is the macho yob who eventually sees he has been wrong in his character judgements.


Interesting Site

Shoe factory panoramas

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