Saturday, September 12, 2009


We've all had moments when time seems to slow to a pace akin of a bad telemovie. This is usually a moment that is not so great, when danger is near, or your favourite bowl is plunging toward the nadir of a tiled kitchen floor. Three minutes feels like thirty and we can hear ourselves screaming NOOOOOOOOOO, with desperation reminiscent of Rocky Balboa bleating for his wife Adrian in Rocky 2.

I have had one such moment.

Tastefully dressed for a Christening on a sunny Sunday, I am thrilled I have managed to style myself in the problematic dress code typical for such events; smart casual. Smart casual is one of those landmine dress requirements that is truly an art form. Pull it off and you look effortlessly chic. Go wrong and your attempt will be the topic of ridicule and discussion for weeks.

Managing to pull off the unimaginable, I affirm my classic black and white couture of choice with a quick nod at the mirror and we are out the door.

Of course I am wearing heels requiring significant concentration and a concerted ball-of-the-foot teeter so as not to put too much pressure on the decadent heel. A diminutive price to pay when they look fabulous.

Sitting through a grueling Minister’s sermon, while he exploits the possibility of converting the unconverted, and chasing my child around the parish to ensure she doesn't play in the holy water I manage to accomplish this walk with precision. Executing my pew dismount to gather outside for the post service recap, then striding across the car park enroute to the next venue is all done with almost gay abandon.

Once back at the home of my friend, shoes are being removed so as to make the wearers more comfortable and I opt to maintain my elongated calf and additional height in my much sought after designer runway shoes, circa 1998. We sit down, chat, and have a well earned glass of champagne. Realizing I have left my camera in the car I spring from my seat and march up the driveway.

Enter champagne induced momentary lapse of concentration.

There is a sound that only true shoe aficionados fear. I imagine it is somewhat like the noise of one’s arm ejecting from its shoulder socket. More like a gut wrenching pop than a crack.

That's when I hear it. A loud pop reverberates through the thick summer air. My slow motion scene begins; arms flailing, mouth open – aghast, over-exaggerated lunge toward the ground clutching my shoe. Imagine a sprinter’s response as she is closing in on the finishing line, unexpectedly hearing the crack of an ankle and experiencing the scalding blade of pain intensifying throughout her limb as she accidentally weight bares post fracture, and there you have the picture. NOOOOOOOOOO!

If you have not had the displeasure of this unpleasant incident then it is difficult to explain the pain associated with it. You see, a high-end heel is a most exotic creature. Beautifully styled, beginning generously by enveloping the heel of the foot with cradle like reassurance then elegantly whipping itself to a chic point. A designer shoe is all about the heel. One can usually recognize a designer specimen over a clever reproduction by the architecture of the heel.

A blessing and a curse I have discovered. The quandary is that there is no replacement heel for a designer runway shoe. You can't just pop down to your local shoe guy and ask him to replace the fractured heel for a new one, because replacements of this nature don't exist.

To clarify, you can acquire replacement heels but they are such poor comparisons that you can not go close to matching the unscathed heel and you certainly would not commit the deplorable crime of ripping the other one off to match. As much as local shoe guy will insist this is the best case scenario, this is just not an option.

Unperturbed by this information, designer shoe must be taken back to designer boutique. Once inside the compassion I am seeking, that only staff at such establishments can grant, is finally bestowed upon me. There is even a point where having tears well in my eyes almost seems justified.

I feel validation and reassurance. Briefly. Right up to the point that designer boutique minion returns from her back-of-house phone call to 'head office' and her expression has morphed from sympathetic to defensive. Apparently there is nothing they can do.

Frankly, it hasn't happened to anybody else. Ever. I am the only one and while she does feel my pain she has no answers for me. Despite the fact I am willing to pay for a replacement heel and I understand it's not the poor shoe's fault it's my fault, she is unrepentant. A few tears, threats to never shop there again (which could by the way, unquestionably affect their bottom line) mixed with a touch of begging and I am out the door.

Anguish and melancholy subsiding, I am back in problem solving mode. Right. Shoe guy can't help. Damn designer boutique that sold me a shoe worth more than a Tiffany ring can't help. Fashion designer friend! He will know someone or something to remedy this. Surely.

Pouty lips, sad eyes and lots of back pats and ‘darls’ later, this hope too is dashed.

It is time to come to terms with the undeniable fact that this just may be the end for designer runway shoe and I. Even slipping into the shoe boutique de jour doesn't help modify my state of mind. Nothing it seems is going to replace the fabric ribbons that caress my legs and the three month wait list I was on to get them in the first place. I have suffered a loss.

Eventually I will find a pair that fill the void left by designer runway shoe, one perfect for the occasional long days or nights where a comfortable yet visually stunning shoe is obligatory. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that they will never replace the ones that got away, but I will learn to love them.

Designer runway shoe and I still date. We find an occasion now and then that can accommodate our needs. Short nights guaranteed to have no lapses in concentration (because that would not end well, fractured heel would become snapped heel), minimal standing and ball of the foot walking and we can still look fabulous together.

It's not the same but it could be worse and I won’t feel this way forever. Next season is just around the corner and I know that one day, I will have healed sufficiently to fall in love again.

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