Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Looking for a sure-fire gift item for a lady friend?

Let me recommend Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More by Linda O'Keeffe.

A chic, palm-sized book full of sumptuous photographs that will leave you incredulous, thinking, "Are they kidding? Can women really walk in those?"

I'm not convinced they can, but that does not diminish the aesthetic enjoyment of this book's shoe-gazing.

Oh, in case you're wondering--no, I don't have a fetish for shoes, I don't think.

The idea of shoes as cool, aesthetic objects was probably first planted in my unconscious by the films of Spanish director Luis Buñuel.

In 1964, Buñuel remade Renoir's Hollywood film Diary of a Chambermaid, and cast Jeanne Moreau as the maid who humors the perversions of her elderly employer. (The Renoir film is marked by different preoccupations, those of its director).

About his film, and his own fetishism, Buñuel said with characteristic intelligence and humor: "I found Jeanne Moreau charming and saw that she was very good for the role--above all, her manner of walking with that slight swaying of her ankles. That was very good for the scene where the old fetishist asks her to put on some old high-buttoned boots and walk in them..... In reality, feet and shoes -- either men or women's -- leave me indifferent. I am attracted by the idea of foot fetishism as something picturesque and humorous. Sexual perversion repulses me, but I'm attracted to it intellectually."