God Save My Shoes

An interesting insight into why women go crazy for footwear.

God Save My Shoes.
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Director: Julie Benasra
Starring: Stacy Ferguson, Kelly Rowland and Dita Von Teese

As someone who mistakenly thought the brand Jimmy Choo was known as "Jimmy Shoes" for years and who owns a grand total of eight pairs of shoes, I'm obviously not the target audience for Julie Benasra's reverential look at the stiletto.

Nevertheless, I'm fully aware that many members of the fairer gender don't share my frugal approach to footwear, and are afflicted with a rapacious desire to own as many designer-labelled high heels as their gold card will allow them.

God Save My Shoes is a light-hearted exploration into the causes of what can become an all-consuming obsession for many ladies. And so we meet a string of celebrity shoeaholics, including the likes of Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas and Dita Von Teese, and listen to them effuse over their footwear, then get a glimpse of their oversized wardrobes and the rows upon rows of multicoloured high heels therein.

We also learn about how high-heel running races are becoming a popular event in Europe, in which women sprint in their stilettos to compete to win prizes of, you guessed it, vouchers for shoes. Then we sit down with shoemakers such as Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik to hear their take on why the sight of their handiwork in a shop window can transform otherwise intelligent women into slavering idiots. Finally, we hear anthropological evidence into the erotic power of footwear, including the conclusions of one scientist that will mean you'll never be able to slip your toes into your stiletto in the same way again.

The parade of finely crafted, sleek footwear on screen will surely cause many viewers' pupils to dilate with pure desire, but aesthetically gratifying as it was, I felt the documentary had a number of major flaws.

Firstly, we get no idea into whether obsession with shoes is a historical phenomenon. The director claims that it began with Carrie Bradshaw and her Sex and the City cohorts, but whereas she may have popularised the affliction, surely some women had a mania for footwear before the advent of the TV series? Were there Native Americans with tepees full of moccasins or Russian ballerinas who were enslaved to purchasing pointes? I'll never know.

Also, the movie completely ignores the negative aspects of addiction. Of course, if you're a mega-famous celebrity, you'll have the means to afford a wardrobe full of Louis Vuittons and Jimmy Choos. Yet, there must be hordes of average wage slaves out there whose lives have been ruined by their insatiable lust for buying designer footwear. And surely many more must have brought crippling injuries upon themselves by trying to jam their foot into an ill-fitting pair? A better documentarist would have given us these stories, rather than just filling the screen time with trite observations and pretty footage.

But maybe I'm missing the point. As I've said, this movie wasn't made with me in mind, and shoe-fanatics may well find immense pleasure in this heady exaltation of their favourite item of clothing. As they say, if the shoe fits...

There is a standby-only screening of God Save My Shoes for women only tonight at 7.15pm at Vox 4, and on Thursday at 2pm for a mixed audience also at Vox 4.