No matter how hard we try, it is almost impossible to escape the culture of celebrity. Even the casual observers -those enlightened few who, rightly, see it as nothing more than trivial piffle more akin to cartoon than reality - should take heed for they are not immune to its influence. No, wander deep into some uncharted rainforest, where the native people run free of clothing, prejudice and electricity, and I’d bet you a nickel they’d know at least one of the ample-bottomed Kardashian sisters. One can find this total saturation of inanity amusing at a distance, but that’s the insidious thing about it: it rarely stays at the distance it deserves. Instead, it slyly stretches its fuzzy tentacles into certain unused corners of our consciousness, pushing aside those dusty remnants of our past no longer needed for ready recall - things like pay phones, VCR’s and vinyl records - to take up residence, unnoticed, yet alive.
This fascination with celebrity has existed for centuries, of course. Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. Evelyn Nesbit. Lady Caroline Lamb. Each could readily attest to the insatiability of the public’s interest in their doings. But it seems that today we literally hold the world in the palm of our hands and these ubiquitous devices we cradle give power to the most insignificant crumbs of foolishness rendering them not only available, but unavoidable. Is it any wonder the culture is affected?
While I know I’m walking the rapier edge of crankdom as I say it, just try to find something unique and wonderful on a popular radio station. Stroll through the women’s clothing department of your local store and try to choose something gorgeous that doesn’t make you look as though you’re auditioning for a rap video. Stand in the mainstream and strike a chord for individuality, and you sing alone.
Like many other women I was a bit irritated by the fashion kerfuffle that boiled up during last month’s Cannes Film Festival. Seems a decree went forth that women would not be allowed on the red carpet unless they were wearing heels. No, I am not joking. Flats-wearing women were actually turned away, deemed unacceptable by their appearance. This caused me to wonder…. would the exquisite Audrey Hepburn have been banished if she’d dared show up in those delicious ballet flats she wore? Would Dame Judi Dench, brilliant, beautiful and eighty years old, been required to wear Sex and the City heels? Have we been so thoroughly indoctrinated in the celebrity dictum of mile-high, toe-crushing footwear that this is now a requirement for the modern-day, well-dressed woman?
While it’s true that I came into the world with a prickly sense of outrage at being told what to do or how to think, this fashion fiat made me see red. In fact, it made me want to fly to France and crash that red carpet in my peach espadrilles.
There are nights when I love to wear heels.
Just don’t tell me I have to.
“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.”