How glamorous does one person really need to be? Isn’t Elle McPherson fabulous enough just being alive and walking around on those legs with that hair and that smile, those lovely boys and that international business? These days, though, it seems that’s not enough.
Not only do you have to be the yummiest of mummies, and delightfully devoted, taking your kids to school yourself – you have to do it in towering high heels. Shoes with heels so wickedly spikey high the designer himself called them after the devil.
Let me be clear, I am not criticising Ms MacPherson here. She looks amazing. She’s not just wearing those jeans, she’s working them, and there’s no doubt the Christian Louboutin ‘Lucifer’ shoes propel the outfit from every day comfy to high-octane glamour. But really… is this now the bench mark for working mothers’ daywear?
What makes it hard to take is that later the same day, Elle was photographed, by some nasty intrusive paparazzo, sitting in the hairdresser’s, joyfully taking the Lucifer shoes off and rubbing her aching tootsies.
It’s all part of the conspiracy of the high heel. A living lie of ambitious women tottering around in towering heels for the most mundane of occasions and playacting an air of insouciant comfort.
‘These old things? Oh I just knock about in them…They’re like slippers to me. I can’t wear flats.’
I’ve lost count of the number of Anna Wintour wannabes who proclaim they only ever wear Manolos. One that particularly sticks in the mind was a New York plastic surgeon, who wears them while she operates. I don’t know about you, but I would really rather have my surgeon concentrating on her scalpel, than her stilettos.
Victoria Beckham is another power mum always seen in punishing heels, despite the fact that wearing them has gnarled her poor feet to such an extent, she might have to have bunion surgery.
Back in 2007 she told a journalist from London’s Daily Mail, ‘I always wear stilettos but they have given me awful feet. I hate my feet, they are the most disgusting thing about me. Part of the reason I wear such amazing shoes is to take the eye away from my horrid feet and on to the stunning shoes.’
Yet four years later, despite knowing the heels have ruined her feet, she’s still trooping around in them. Of course, that’s her look out, but what bugs me about the Killer Heel Conspiracy is the impact on young women, of celebrity role models perpetuating this lie that high heels are a good idea for every day life.
I’m not against heels per se – they’re fun and yes, they do lengthen the leg and make you look taller and slimmer – but I’m fiercely against the idea that they are a casual shoe.
Wearing them every day has become a kind of competitive prestige behaviour. As though you’re not a true wonder woman if you can’t dance backwards in high heels – whilst also being a perfect mother, supportive partner and a peer-revered internationally successful businesswoman. If you can’t hack the heels you’re not in the club.
In this way the Killer Heel Conspiracy damages not only the feet of those who fall for it – but the self esteem of those don’t. Let’s not give it further credence.