This is the story of my friend Irene Bohan, she of the teeny tiny feet, and a shoe lover of the highest order – I mentioned her in my shoes dream on the Ongoing Work pages ( scroll down through to the 5th post) here is her own sad story – but with a hopeful ending! So we know we are dealing with a serious collector when we look at her shoe cupboard below – she actually draws each shoe and pastes this onto the boxes – which I must admit is a better system than mine – I use the boxes for storage in my studio and the shoes get chucked into the bottom of the wardrobe.
Her comment on this practice of labeling is “yes I am that sad that I draw pictures of the shoes and stick them on the boxes, but each shoe has its own story” . So the beautiful shoes at the head of the page were “bought for the opening night of the first show I ever did on Broadway – I was meant to buy a present for the set designer but bought these instead and he was more thrilled by these than a gift – I arrived at the after show party and said ‘your first night gift is on my feet’ “.
Oh yes did I mention that she works in the theatre – we are talking the type of work where you are expected to wear shoes like this!
Now it is a terrible truth but I have what a good friend used to call “Grunewald feet” do you know the artist? – think of the ripped, torn and nailed feet in 16th century German paintings of crucifixions – I wear shoes as camouflage. So these beautiful Manolo’s above are my idea of shoe heaven – not only could I never have afforded them I never ever could have worn them…….however Irene didn’t buy them ” These were a first night present from the same designer – several years later – also in new York – I didn’t take them off my feet for 36 hours ! Yes I did sleep in them”
” Can you imagine – when the podiatrist said – well you have to wear trainers – I cried – but I did what I was told went and got measured for proper trainers came home – cried again – threw them in the bin and went and spent a fortune on Stella McCartney trainer-ish shoes – so there are ways round it but I do miss my heels !
So – she is now developing a rather good selection of gorgeous brogues and riding boots but sometimes just takes a pain-killer and puts on the Manolos !!! These brogues are lovely but I can’t imagine her dollying down Broadway to a premier in them……
P.S. when we were emailing one another to put this post together Irene sent me this heart- felt message “I’m sure people think I’m shallow being so upset by it – but my shoes are so much part of what I am – and now I’m a suede brogue, albeit a stylish one, not a killer Manolo ! my answer to her is this quote from the Rev. Sydney Smith
“Do not assume that because I am frivolous I am shallow: I won’t assume that because you are grave that you are profound” – Thanks Irene I have been waiting years to use this quotation – which I think just about sums me (and you) up………….