Janet Haigh : Her Work

Textiles: ideas, drawing, design, stitching….

Sad Shoe Story

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the shoe bought for an opening night on Broadway.

This is the story of my friend Irene Bohan, she of the teeny tiny feet, and a shoe lover of the highest order – I mentioned her in my shoes dream  on the Ongoing Work pages ( scroll down through to the 5th post)  here is her own sad story – but with a hopeful ending! So we know we are dealing with a serious collector when we look at her shoe cupboard below – she actually draws each shoe and pastes this onto the boxes – which I must admit is a better system than mine – I use the boxes for storage in my studio and the shoes get chucked into the bottom of the wardrobe.

Irene's shoe cupboard

Her comment on this practice of labeling is “yes I am that sad that I draw pictures of the shoes and stick them on the boxes, but each shoe has its own story” .  So the  beautiful shoes at the head of the page were “bought for the opening night of the first show I ever did on  Broadway – I was meant to buy a present for the set designer but  bought these instead and he was  more thrilled by these than a gift  – I arrived at the after show party and said  ‘your first night gift  is on  my feet’ “.

Oh yes did I mention that she works in the theatre – we are talking the type of work where you are expected to wear shoes like this!

the shoes I really really want to wear.

Now it is a terrible truth but I have what a good friend used to call “Grunewald feet” do you know the artist?  – think of the ripped, torn and nailed feet in 16th century German paintings of crucifixions –  I wear shoes as camouflage. So these beautiful Manolo’s above are my idea of shoe heaven – not only could I never have afforded them I never ever could have worn them…….however Irene didn’t buy them ” These were a first night present from the same designer – several  years later – also in new York  – I didn’t take them off my feet for  36 hours ! Yes I did sleep in them”

So now IMAGINE how she feels when she is diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma, which is basically a damaged nerve and probably caused by constant high heel wearing – it is flats from now on

the full horror revealed – the shoes that made her cry.

” Can you imagine – when the podiatrist said – well you have  to wear trainers  – I cried –  but I did what I was told went and got measured for  proper trainers  came home – cried again – threw them in the bin and went and spent a fortune on Stella McCartney  trainer-ish  shoes – so there are ways round it but I  do miss my heels !

pretty trainers

So – she is now developing a rather good selection of gorgeous brogues  and riding boots  but sometimes just takes a pain-killer and puts on the Manolos !!! These brogues are lovely but I can’t imagine her dollying down Broadway to a premier in them……

there maybe some consolation from these suede brogues

P.S. when we were emailing one another to put this post together Irene sent me this heart- felt message “I’m sure people think I’m shallow being  so upset  by it – but my shoes are so much part of what I am  – and  now I’m a suede brogue, albeit a stylish one,  not a killer Manolo ! my answer to her is this quote from the Rev. Sydney Smith

“Do not assume that because I am frivolous I am shallow: I won’t assume that because you are grave that you are profound” – Thanks Irene I have been waiting years to use this quotation – which I think just about sums me (and you) up………….

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One thought on “Sad Shoe Story

  1. Heartfelt identification with the state of Irene’s feet! I just love the history of lives through a person’s possessions.

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