High on heels
Footwear craze is peaking in the city with Kochiites acknowledging it as vital for an image makeover, finds SWAPNA RAGHU SANAND.
BOLLYWOOD ACTRESS Celina Jaitley has a fetish for shoes. A wall-to-wall wardrobe of brand names in shoes, which she wraps in expensive tissue paper to prevent them from damage, Ms. Jaitley owns more than 800 pairs! Gosh, 800 pairs!
Footwear was a very plain concept to Kochiites till they woke up to the fact that shoes are not just what we wear daily to the workplace or to the neighbour's house or to a wedding. The concept of footwear to suit one's clothes grew gradually and now the fashion in footwear, particularly for women, is at an all-time high.
Hot on heels
Sequins, beads and even shells on evening wear shoes are a sizzling rage and to make it more interesting, heels of shoes are getting all the attention. Heels are now accentuated with mirrors and beads because fashion trend is that the heels (girls, please pay attention to cracked heels) is becoming the focal point of the feet.
What's in, what's out
Sneakers are out of fashion. So are shoelaces. Polka dots and animal prints are this season's rage. Structured shoes with the Peter Pan look of early '50's is also popular. Italian heels are always popular as they blend in with both salwar kameez and western wear.
Slip-ons are all time favourites and comfortable for the feet. Stiletto boots with velvet lining are a rage in the North of India and Bangalore but have not gained much popularity in trendy Kochi. Retro pumps and kitten heels in denim embellished sequins and beads are also popular. Mohit, whose parents live in Kadavanthra, says, " My mother has around thirty pairs of footwear and she buys the latest styles. What's wrong with that? If it is alright to have many clothes, why not shoes, why the hypocrisy?"
Shalini, an ex-Teresian who is very clear about the kind of shoes she looks for, says, " I wear shoes that suit my mood and style. Bad shoes reflect bad taste. I buy trendy shoes that go with western wear and sandals for eveningwear and sensible shoes for jeans. I buy mostly from Bangalore because in Kochi, there is no variety and the fashion trends reach us last. Even if shopping for shoes drains our pocket money, it is important to be well styled. I cannot imagine wearing the same pair of footwear to my office and to a wedding. It is unthinkable."
Shree, 40,a `model' in Ernakulam says, " I am very choosy about my footwear. I buy it after checking the brand, the style and cut, the quality and of course the trendy look. I have footwear matching most of my saris. I wear sneakers for jeans. "
In Kochi, simplicity and sophistication make strange bedfellows but the truth is that there are mixed opinions about fashion in footwear even among college students.
Hameed, a sales man in a well-known shoe shop narrates an incident when a girl came to buy a pair of stylish sandals for her `pennu kannal' ceremony. "In old days, this was unheard of," he says.
"Footwear shouldn't be to show off to people that you have plenty of money to waste. That's what is happening in Kochi. I don't look at brands. I am not a model or actress. I cannot understand why three or four pairs of footwear are insufficient. For many girls from top brass, having fifteen or twenty pairs of shoes is a status symbol," asks Susan, a medical college student. Vineetha, a retired maths teacher from Edakochi smiles, and says, " I don't know about foot wear fashion. Even for my wedding, I wore some elder cousin's sandals! Fashion is a craze today only because people have plenty of money to waste and they want to compete with one another say it is fashionable. "
How do men feel about this new fetish for shoes among the womenfolk? Anand, a medical representative, says, " Shoes are part of one's appearance. A girl who wears bad shoes catches attention and people judge her as untidy or careless in appearance. We live in an era where the image we project to the world is more than our real self."
Best foot forward
This is so true. Revathy,a house wife from Mattancherry shares her experience, " I went to a relatives home on a visit and my sandals were in a terrible condition. I kept putting off going to a shoe shop. At my relative's house, I kept my sandals outside. I overheard my relative saying , `Look at her sandals, just shows she is not as well-off as she pretends to be'. This comment hurt me so much. I realised how even people closest to you can shrug you off if you are not dressed with style. From then, the moment my sandals show signs of tear, I buy a new pair."
All in all, Kochiites are acknowledging the importance of footwear in an image-developing society.
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