Wednesday, April 24, 2013

High Hell For Belle de Jour



Should women come down in the world?
Or should we continue to rise above?

 Catherine Deneuve, the French actress who starred in Belle de Jour,  last week hit out  against the fashion for super-high heels which she describes as "an aberration" conjured up by "twisted" male designers who will never have to walk in them.  In the last few years we have seen the apt phrase "prossie trotter" for those clumping vertiginous hooker heels with cloven hoofed platforms. 
Deneuve may have played a prostitute but she chose Roger Vivier's low heeled Belle Viviers because they enabled her to walk better and project a more natural allure.


Jack Vettriano - I would love to own this, it's one of my favourites.

I remember being out in London one night with the Scottish artist Jack Vettriano, Jack is a grade A roue, (probably the only man alive that I can forgive for blatant sexism and objectification of women because he's great fun and could out charm a cobra.) If you turned up for a date with Jack in a pair of flats, he'd send you home or if he thought you were a bit of a goer take you down to Manolo Blahnik in Church Street for 'something for the weekend'. I'm paraphrasing badly as cocktails were involved but he extolled the virtues of the heel 'for the Protean spell it casts on a woman's posture; legs are lengthened, posterior cantilevered with the resulting hip sway mesmerising to  men.'




prossie trotters




Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano.

Sensible shoes or stilettos at dawn?

82 comments:

  1. Love Catherine Deneuve, she is one of my all time favorite style inspirations, low heels and all. :)

    Good for her for speaking her mind. I think more women should be willing to not attempt the expected and be unexpected. Once upon a time no women would dare teeter on 5 inch heels, now a woman in a pair of kitten heels is considered frumpy and mumsy. Does Ms. Deneuve look frumpy above? Hell to the no.

    Oh, and as I have one of the largest posteriors out there for a woman my size, this quote had me on the floor: "posterior cantilevered with the resulting hip sway..." I can assure that some woman have that in stockinged feet, no need for massive heels... ;)

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  2. Heels up to 4" for me, with none of those ugly platforms, thank-you-very-much.
    I think those super high heels are beyond ugly... They're so unattractive that they make me feel bilious looking at them.
    My ideal heel is 2 - 3 " and not too spindly.

    There's no amount of heel height that's going to make me look tall or willowy!!

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    1. And Jack sounds like a great companion for a night out!

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  3. I have room in my heart for many different shoes. None are 5" heels however. I've got fabulous flats and I love flats. Being tall helps. I like a kitten heel. Stilettos - mine run 3 1/2" to barely 4" - make me feel powerful and invincible. I will not own or wear a pair of shoes that are uncomfortable. I have to be able to move and walk and stand. I demand a lot of my shoes. They have to be gorgeous, functional and comfortable. I have a few pairs of platforms and frankly find them to be among my most worn because the pitch is very manageable in a high heel with a platform to balance it out. Thankfully mine aren't prossie trotters!

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  4. Prossie Trotters, what a term! Boy your friend Jack sounds quite the character, "something for the weekend"! Love those paintings and I love a good 3" heel too, those I can walk in.

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  5. I've owned a few F*** me shoes in my time, but alas those days are gone :(
    Now my highest heel is 3 inch, and mainly for show and walking short distances. These days, even wear (shhh, don't tell) Orthotics sometimes. And lots of cute flat sandals, too.
    Always loved Catherine, one of my style icons forever.

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  6. I am not in the high heel category and share Madame deneuve's preoccupation. Funny - this morning I caught an interview with Kate Hudson - she was wearing 5 inch heels and was asked what her greatest fashion faux pas was and she said "flats" because they weren't sexy. My ideal is 2" - I will go higher if I am carried about...

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  7. Can't stand prossie trotters (love that term, by the way!), the worst culprits are the women from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and New Jersey, New York, etc) -- none of them can walk in those shoes. Teetering around is not the greatest look.

    My ideal heel is 2-3 inches. And I love my flats.

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  8. Those heels you show are awful but not all heels are.

    Why must we choose? Some days I love heels, some days I like flats- why must it be all or nothing.

    I agree that the Housewives on the RHW of Bev Hills are the worst culprits ever!!!

    I luff Catherine - I'd choose her to play me in the movie of my life.

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  9. Love this post! Stilettos Mais Oui!
    Have a great week!
    Jamie Herzlinger

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  10. I love heels, although that is due to smaller stature and a tall husband, rather than ease of walking. I do tend to live in flats though due to lifestyle. But the clumpy platforms that have been out and about are grotesque - we called them Stripper Shoes, but I do like Prossie Trotters as a term too. The Roger Vivier numbers are classic and elegant. Not sexy at all, but wasn't that the point - sexiness was from the woman, not the shoe?

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  11. The platforms do nothing for me. I can do a 4" heel with no alcohol but once the drinks flow I need a 3" to navigate to the restroom . Dream shoes are the Roger Vivier's.
    I just watched Potiche and couldn't take my eyes off her.

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  12. I figure I got about 10 years left, if I am lucky, to wear f**k me shoes and then it'll be nothing but orthotics. So I go for it...wedges are great in the spring/summer but I'll take the stilettos fall/ winter. Sorry, just not ready to look like my mother.

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  13. When I was in my 20's I lived in heels. Now that I'm getting older you will find me in flats. Nothing makes you feel more like a woman than heels though. I reserve them for special occasions. xo

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  14. I'd love the flatter Viviers...
    it's kitten heels or flats for me and the F*** Me shoes are a thing from my past!
    Your friend sounds a bit raunchy and rude but I'll bet he is the focal point when he is in the room.

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  15. I'm not a fan of the "prossie trotters," but do think there is a middle ground...a classic 2-3" point-toe pump allows for all of the allure with only 1/10 the risk of ankle sprain or being mistaken for an exotic dancer.

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  16. I am a flats girl. When I was a child I would walk past a high end pharmacy on my way to ballet class. For ages- no new promos weekly like today- they would feature large, predominantly black and white, pictures of Catherine Deneuve advertising Chanel perfume, in their window displays. I thought she was the most glamorous person I had ever seen. I have never seen any of her movies, but I will always have a memory of her lovely print ads.

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  17. And you haven't even brought up the delicate issue of women who can't actually walk in heels, but who insist on wearing them anyway....I think with horror of the Friday night crowd...teetering and tottering even before they start drinking...

    I love heels and I especially love kitten heels - not a great fan of flats - just the tiniest hint of a heel makes me walk taller, better, more purposefully....

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  18. the problem i have with super high heels is that i can't walk in them. haha, and that's a real problem. i watch a lot of women walk in super high heels and v v few look comfortable in them. but maybe they are, what do i know?

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  20. well, my peculiar feet kill me if I wear flats and are very happy in heels. Even my sneakers have to have at least a 1 1/2 inch wedge heel.

    Every girl should have a guy like Jack in her life, if only to serve as a contrast to the rest of them.

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  21. I think there is such a thing as a heel height that is too high to actually look good - anything over 4" starts to look ridiculous ("prossie trotters" is such an excellent description). I read an article in The Economist's Intelligent Life that mentioned this very issue and I have to agree, it does seem like these super high heels are being foisted on women by male designers who will never wear them and who have no concept of women in the real world.

    Personally, I like wearing a 2 1/2" heel - high enough to look dressy, but not high enough to cripple me.

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  22. Why either/or? Whatever works, whichever I want. I wouldn't be wearing the prossie trotters though, and it's not just because they are known by another name around here. They are the epitome of inelegant.

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  23. It's my life's mission to find comfortable three inch heels. I'm young, but not THAT young. Wish me luck!

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  24. I go for the Roger Vivier I don't buy anything with the "wobble" factor. Love Vettriano's art.

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  26. Neither. It's usually 3 1/2 inch heels. :)

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  27. Buongiorno,Hello...oh well,I think that:una Donna di Classe seduce dalla Caviglia in giù...indossando flats,Stiletto o...giusto la nuda Pelle!...haha...a chat sauvage do wear Shoes?!?...;)
    Quello che conta veramente è il Carisma che possiedi...il resto è noia...The Charisma is the All...
    Bacioni,Felicità

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  28. A few years ago I went to see a friend in my Louboutin nearly 4 inchers but there was no cabs so I had to tube it. I swear I got out one stop early at Marble Arch, went into primark and bought a 3 pound pair of shoes and I had never felt such relief.

    High heels just aren't meant to function in, they are only curb to car. There is nothing less sexy than a fashion victim doing an odd tempo staccato saunter. It really is the modern day equivalent of food binding and all the anthropological issues that tie in with it.

    But of course I wear heels but only when I feel like it.

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  29. FF& xoxo - she's drumming up publicity for Roger Vivier's book.
    Claire - that comment was great, you've whipped it away!

    Coulda shoulds woulda - oh I used to do that stacatto shuffle - awful, I've gotten rid of all of my 4 inch heels now, every step was an insecure one.

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    1. so sorry, I thought that I had mispelt a word!

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  30. Oh it is all in the stride - if you can walk in them and do it with confidence you look fab - assuming the shoe itself is somewhat fab too but if you cant - there is nothing worse - as i no longer can it is the middle-aged middie on my foot more often than not x

    http://fashionandfrank.blogspot.co.uk/

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  31. I am a big fun of Jack Vettriano for years - glad you mentioned him.

    http://ocaldeiraoeacolherdepau.blogspot.com

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  32. Funny, I just moved into a new office and there is a Vettriano print on the wall.

    I don't like those mega high heels much, but I'm also so sick of women judging women, shoes and boots being labelled various permutations of f-me boots/shoes, etc. It's so deeply sexist and I wish we had more freedom to wear what we wanted without all the social labelling.

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  33. My mother gave up on her red 4 inch heels at the age of about 73 when she fell over in the bank in them and decided that the time had come to hang them up.

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    1. NJS, before the falling part, that's fab.

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    2. NJS - your mother is now a legend!

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  34. HEAD OVER HEELS Tabs, brill stand-off on the long history of stilettos' social status, sexuality and strength or stumble. By the time girls are three, they know that Disney's high-heeled glass slipper does not fit ugly women. And look at Dorothy's ruby slippers. No wonder so many have sensible shoe dread. I hanker for height and yet snicker at Mrs. Beckham on killer stilts in a theme park. However, there is something about mere mortals' fancy shoes that somehow says I care to make an effort beyond jeans and flip-flops. Same time, I seldom sport anything I couldn't sprint for the streetcar in - given an "emergency". Now, if I had a bankroll for cabs or a chaffeur it might be a different story. And yes, with others, freedom to choose, break in/ practice walk, and please let's ditch the fraught, sometimes misogynist labels.

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  35. I know my opinion won't be the popular one but, you see I don't see those sorts of terms as being misogynistic at all, I think it's a plain and accurate description of what they are, I think less of women who wear tacky shoes like that, they might not be prostitutes but in those sort of heels they are certainly dressing like it.
    I'm for more judging, not less I think it's how we decide on our tribe and what company to keep.

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    1. Fair point on tribal councils, but I'd say a suit doesn't make you boring, overalls don't make you a farmer, and shoes may be silly, cheap, do-me, whatever, but they don't automatically make you a tart. Beauty in the eye and all that.

      Also there is a big diff between selection/ judgement and passing it in a judgey or catty way, iykwim. That only demeans the decider.

      Funny how the talk always starts with men and heels, but in a general sense I think many dames are way too hard on each other. And yes, making a big exception for the "Real" Housewives and their sadly growing ilk; they set themselves up for a fall.

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    2. There's a fine line between high heels and hooker heels. Sadly, many women cross that line. Is their motivation a desire to look sexy, chic or do they just have poor judgement and tacky taste? Age is an issue here too. ( isn't it usually?) Young women can pull off looks that older women should be confident enough to know isn't right for them.
      We'd all like a world where women are free to choose their own style without being judged by others. The simple fact is that we are judged by how we look and what we choose to clothe our bodies and feet in. Of course walking strangely because of your choice leaves you open to even more critiques.

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  36. Definitely sensible shoes. I remember the transit strike of 65 - 6in NYC when this 19 year old walked to work on 46th - from 77th in 4 inch spikes. Now I can only don Finn Comforts - ugh!

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  37. For date night--heels, heels, heels! Running around town--give me a good pair of flats!

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  38. I'm tall so I almost always wear flats or very small heel...my husband is shorter than me and so I never really learned to walk in heels. Worse than wearing flats is seeing a woman walk poorly in heels.

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  39. I love his paintings, and the first one, which I presume is a self portrait is mesmerizing. Can you ask Jack if he finds Uggs sexy?

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    1. Hilarious, Kathy I know now that jack will say no to that! Yes I love that self portrait, i really wish I owned it.

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  40. Sensible shoes. After all, they come off for the good stuff.

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  41. About 3 years ago, I arrived at my date's building with tickets for great seats to La Traviata and patiently waited for her in the lobby when she suddenly emerged from the elevator with the unmistakable glow of a woman who is at her best and feels it. As I hadn't seen her in 4 years (this has many An Affair to Remember' aspects I won't go into) my startled reaction only increased the frisson of excitement. I look down & this 5'10" knockout brunette was wearing flats and I playfully scolded her on making concessions on account of my strapping 5'6" frame. I had the doorman hold the cab and we went upstairs to get more appropriate footwear while I reminded her that she was merely a steward of all that god-given beauty & those gorgeous gams needed to be resting atop some sexy heels so myself and the other opera patrons could better share in her lustrous beauty. I threw those flats to her Westie "Murray" with instructions to chew beyond recognition. We had a fabulous time.

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    1. GSL, yes you are firmly in grade A roue category.

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  42. I'm with FF I refuse to choose. I love darling patent leather flats and spiky suede stilettos both. Also a nice mid-heel loafer comes in handy for the work week.
    It's funny how walkability varies so widely even in shoes with the same heel height - a pair of 3 1/2 heels I can walk blocks in is a rare treasure for me, but they do exist! And I have some flats that give me a backache if I wear them all day.

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    1. Me too in flats all day but always heel for date nights though they never seem to happen now.

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  43. I bet Jack a man of taste (I hope) would find those prossie trotters UGLY !!!!!!!!!!!

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  44. Would love to wear heels but at 6' 2" the chance of smacking my head on a door frame is too great a risk to take ... No I tell a lie, the greatest risk is being mistaken for a transvestite. I was once 'grabbed' between the legs " to check" . I ve never worn heels and leopard print since!!!!!

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    1. Oh no, this makes me worry for my daughter, who at 18 is 6'0". She just got her shoes for prom, which have at least 3" heels. I should mention she is going to prom with a group of friends rather than a date, which is partly because all the boys are shorter than her! (Although she did get asked by two boys she wasn't that crazy about). How awful that you have been mistaken for a transvestite! My baby girl is beautiful, but she does not have that delicate feminine thing going on. She's an athlete, plus very talll, plus very smart. So she is far from a "typical female" and I think intimidates the hell out of boys her age. We're assuming it gets better as she gets older, do you think that's true?

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    2. Zoe, that's awful , what a horror.

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    3. I got over it! I can laugh about it now.I now have a beautiful 6' 3" 14 year old daughter who is very confident and happy with her height. She is also happy wearing a heel though funnily enough when you search for size 43 shoes quite a few sites seem to be more suited to transvestites!eDge is also sporty and is an England cadet volleyball player , sporty and feminine. It s all about confidence. What ever size or shape you are, confidence makes you beautiful.

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    4. Ms Jill Lauter,
      I'm not who your question was directed at but as the world's foremost authority on that topic let me save you a bit of time & worry. Regarding your very smart, athletic, 6'0" tall daughter who happens to be very beautiful w/o the 'delicate feminine thing going on'.

      Of course she intimidates the hell out of boys her age as well she should. Your "Queen Bee" will have boys go off to slay dragons in the fields of medicine, science, Art, and regrettably high finance in hopes of gaining the 'battlefield promotions' necessary to carry themselves in a manner that might charm your daughter. While I'm sure she will distinguish herself in her own right please guide her well as a 'force multiplier' so those 1000 ships she launches return in triumph laden with treasure.

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  45. I'm with the "it depends" crowd! For serious shopping or running around town, it's definitely flats. But cute flats. I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for black shoes that would be as comfortable as sneakers for my recent trip to Rome, but which would not automatically flag me as an American Tourist in Big White Sneakers. I found a pair of Clarks (the Tequini model) which are basically sneakers, but in black nubuck with black soles, which I thought looked pretty sleek for hoofing it over the cobblestones.

    But I also love a heel, especially with dresses & skirts. Those Prossie Trotters, ugh! Even if I could walk in them, I find them horribly ugly. Last fall, before the holidays, I bought a pair of pointy toe black suede pumps with about a 3 1/2 inch heel. TRES glam, I thought, and walkable, within reason. So many pretty options without those hideous giant platforms & 5" heels that nobody can really walk in. When I see those they remind me of the ancient Chinese shoes you see in museums

    ---Jill Ann

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  46. Well Tabitha shoes come and shoes go, I've kept some and asked myself, "Why?" I've gotten rid of some and said, "Damn." Cocktails with Jack sounds like such fun. I always wonder what his subjects are thinking about.

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  47. Forget the prossies....rural life demands Hunter boots + riding crop in the hayloft!! Judith

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  48. I'm walking to the store soon in navy flip flops. How do people wear uncomfortable shoes and clothes? I guess I'm with Catherine Deneuve. But I am really impressed how models can walk on a slippery catwalk with them. I like most fashions but wear normal clothes. A sweater and black jeans for me today.

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  49. Her wardrobe, her face, her acting in that film is so stunning. I love it to pieces. I do not, however, love those shoes. They are probably just a teensy bit too matronly for me. I need a slightly higher (even 1/2" additional would make a huge difference) heel due to my high arches in my feet. Three inches to four is my safe range as I am 5'9". Anything more and I end up looking like Nicole Kidman when she was married to Tom (my husband is 5'10" tall.) haha!

    XO

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  50. My Dearest Tabitha,
    Thank you for introducing me to yet another fascinating artist. I watched a Talking Pictures program on Mr Vettriano. He's not at all what I expected but very serious and thoughtful and a real inspiration although I'm sure as you mention he could be quite a handful when letting his hair down. I've just ordered a print of "You Can't Come to This Party" and will hang it in a place of prominence in my humble abode.
    Ms Deneuve will always be a mystery to me as the one great screen goddess I've never been able to connect to.
    Your salon (blog is such a vulgar sounding word so unworthy of you) is a real treasure and I'll keep trying to remain reasonably well behaved so as to not be turned away like those unseen guests in the print I just purchased.
    Yours,
    ~G

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    1. yes, he has a fascinating mind, he's such a good conversationalist.

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  51. Flats by day and heels by night. I think when you put on a pair of high heels with the right outfit it makes you feel good and really dressed up.

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  52. When I am walking, I wear proper walking shoes. If I am going to a restaurant or theatre, then I wear a wedge or a 3 inch heel. Madame Deneuve would be elegant in her bedroom slippers. Foot health becomes very important as one gets older and mobility is precious.

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  53. The only thing I can appreciate about Catherine Deneuve is her cool beauty ; I cannot stand her acting and find her about as charismatic as a slab of cold fish. I miss Françoise Dorléac, her sister, whom I found irresistible and so much more ..alive ! I would kill for a pair of Roger Vivier and would wear them day, evening and in bed too. I think Inès de la Fressange represents them beautifully nowadays.xo

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  54. great post! I say stilettos by dawn!

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  55. I love heels and think they can make almost any outfit better but I stop at 4 inch, anything higher and the proportions get out of whack, never mind other 'costume' associations. I must be the only one hating the look of Viviers, not even on Catherine and I always adored her.

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  56. Oh and a date with Jack sounds like a riot!

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  57. Sorry to disappoint but I'm barefoot at dawn. It must be my age showing.(I wasn't always). I'm pleasantly amazed that you found that poster of Catherine Deneuve. She has always been a favorite.

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  58. I can't do flats but that Sixties medium heel is so chic. PLus she has pretty ankles that make all shoes look chic. I have the good sturdy Kiwi ankles I'm afraid. I do my prossie trotters (love that!), my nude heels and am addicted to them.

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  59. Why not both? And men like Jack don't last nearly as long as a pair of Viviers... or do they?

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    1. If only I had been given that piece of wisdom 30 years ago.

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  60. Vivier all the way! I have two pairs, one pair of flats I bought as a consolation because the shop on Madison in NY was closed for Puerto Rico national day and I had left shopping for moi to the last day. I wept outside the shop but managed to find a pair of flats in Saks. The next year I went again to NY and got the pair I originally wanted, navy patent with a silver buckle and heel. By God I love those shoes. Mind you the flats have proved a disaster, the buckles fell off again and again, got sick of RV sending them to be fixed so superglued them back on, it worked for a while. I also have a pair of YSL tributes, worn exactly 4 times and each time I vow I will sell them, of course I don't just in case.

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