I recently attended the Fete Blanche at The Ritz-Carlton. For those familiar with the French language they’ll know it means something about white stuff and a party. I don’t have what you’d call an abundance of “blanche” clothes lying around, still I went digging through my closet and found a couple of lost souls in the form of a cotton long-sleeved V-neck top and matching skirt. Alas recent visitors and social events had turned the outfit from a flowing comfortable ensemble into a tight white bandage, but I managed to squeeze myself in and just about sit down without fainting. All I needed now were a pair of great shoes…
I have never been a shoes or handbags kinda gal. I’ve always had a few pairs, but mainly practical ones with sensible height heels – probably because I’m always racing around everywhere so stilettos are impractical. However in the last couple of years I have suddenly found a renewed interest in foot candy. Maybe it’s thanks to all the weight I lost in 2009. It’s much easier to teeter around in 5” heels when you’re not essentially putting the pressure of 1000 atmospheres on the head of a pin. That being said, as the night waned merrily on in the Silver Palm Lounge, I marvelled at what women were willing to risk their ankles for. I found myself wondering how they managed to walk, nay – DANCE in such instruments of torture. I also wondered how men would fare in (literally) the same shoes, walk a mile in our shoes…you get the gist.
I host a lot of events, which usually require me to be on my feet for the majority of the evening. There must be hours of security footage collected over the years of me wandering barefoot down the corridors of one venue or the next, high heels in hand. It is rare that I manage to make it all night without succumbing to the pain, which is why I admire ladies that can still walk after an evening of carousing. I’ve read reports of film stars who say that the agony is worth the look. Really? Beyond the fact that it’s, well…agony, is it really elegant to limp everywhere? How do they stand it? I’m reminded of the original Little Mermaid tale (not the feel-good Disney version) where the witch warned her that if she changed her tail into feet, every step would feel like she was walking on sharp swords. I hear ya sista. I purchased a pair of red 6” beauties in Miami last year and marvelled at how initially (operative word there) comfortable they were. I handed over ready cash and took them on my next vacation. I hadn’t walked many yards before my toes slowly made their way into the pointed front, bringing my big toe almost physically impossibly within swatting distance of my little one. Ow! Ow! Ow!! Determined to carry on I hugged the wall which led to the restaurant, finally standing in front of the Maitre D’ in the manner of someone who badly needed to use the facilities. Sensing urgency he got us to the nearest table. I sat down and nearly wept with relief. They have sat in the wardrobe ever since.
I have a dear friend who is also a brilliant shoe aficionado at Nordstrom in West Palm Beach, and therefore a rotten influence. Joe has taken the simple job of choosing and fitting shoes to an art form. These run small, those run wide, and so forth… He has managed to find me some of the most comfortable pairs I’ve ever worn – which brings me to my Fete Blanche night at the Ritz. I had purchased some black (I had to wear SOMETHING apart from white) towering strappies a la Diane Von Furstenberg at the last sale and was eager to show them off. With my large noggin, huge hair and already 5’ 7” without the shoes, I was more female WWF than DVF but I loved ‘em so I was wearin’ ‘em! I got from the house to the car with no problems; Step 1 complete. I was walking as though on clouds through the doors of the Ritz as I looked down benevolently upon the doormen. Flying through Step 2! And so it went for the rest of the evening. Bar – check! Restrooms – check! Dancing to the funky new hits – check check!! No one could believe I was boogeying in those things, but boogeying I was! I caught my reflection in the darkened windows and swelled with pride at the giant dandelion smiling back at me. By midnight I was convinced that these were magic shoes. Eager to push them to their full potential, we readied ourselves for Elements nightclub.
We got to Elements, and as we headed up to the Air bar, I felt a twinge on the ball of my right foot. I dismissed it. It continued. The left foot took up the charge in sympathy, and by the time I had gone up two flights of stairs, across the balcony and over to the bar, my feet were turning into pumpkins just like the fairy-tale and the slippers were indeed beginning to feel like glass.
I removed them to sit at the bar, but it wasn’t long before my friend Lynne and I decided to call it an evening – it was late. I went to put the shoes back on. Not only had my feet grown, but they were thumping. It wasn’t much better barefoot – like tootsies released from a Chinese foot binder they were going to take time to come around. I assumed the position – strappies hanging from one hand, bare feet on the floor. As I limped across the club, down the stairs and along the pavement back to the car I realized that I had broken my previous record. At some point though I had to accept that even Cinderella knew when it was time to go home.