Sunday, November 12, 2006

Politics , avarice or sex?

With Sofia Coppola’s new biopic, Marie Antoinettepoised for general release, popular interest in famous people who collect shoes is bound to attract the attention of the media. Collecting shoes is wrongly described as a fetishism and is more likely a symptom of a compulsive disorder. Unless you are having sex with the shoes (restifism) we tend to misunderstand and trivialize those who collect shoes. This is seen on Coppola’s film which according to Caroline Weber in her book Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution would be a gross oversimplification of the political truth. Marie Antoinette used her position to demonstrate to her enemies and distracters she was powerhouse and flaunt convention and spend and dress exactly as she pleased. Her shoe collection was only a small but important political statement. Like her predecessor Catherine de Medici , she shocked France into taking her seriously, the result of which was Marie Antoinette lost her head. Imelda Marcos by comparison amassed a shoe wardrobe of 3,000 pairs of shoes collected before her dictator husband, Ferdinand , was ousted as president of the Philippines in 1986. She collected shoes because she could out of avarice and not because she had too. Our fascination with Imelda‘s footwear collection has added to the lexicon with the term “Imeldific” meaning vulgar, over-the-top ostentation. Now, septuagenarian Imelda has launched a new shoe collection. This time it is to sell and far from the high fashion styles she famously collected, the mid priced range is ath-lesuire footwear. Imelda Marcos's notorious shoe collection is housed in the The Marikina City Footwear Museum in Manila was opened by Imelda Marcos in 2001.

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