We at Worn Fashion Journal understand the importance of great kicks (just check out our most recent issue dedicated entirely to them). A sleek set of heels can pull together a bland outfit, stand on their own as miniature sculptures, or just make your feet look great. However, sometimes shoes go beyond their regular duties, especially when it comes to the tribulations of fictional characters on the silver screen (and no, I’m not just referring to Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahniks — although those should get an honourable mention*). The main characters in the following three films have a relationship with shoes that extend beyond mere obsession. In these stories, the footwear forms an integral part of the story (and, in two out of three cases, are easy on the eyes as well).
1. Cinderella (1950)
We start with a classic story, one that everybody is familiar with. The heroine? An orphan taken in by her evil stepmother and stepsisters, forced into a life of scrubbing floors and befriending musical mice (no, really. They sang to her). The shoes in question? A pair of glass slippers, bestowed on the heroine by her magical fairy godmother. While the talking animals only showed up in the one Disney version of the movie, the basic story — whose origins date back as far as ancient Greece — is the same no matter which adaptation you find. Cinderella is transported from poverty to royalty, not just because of her fairy godmother, or the handsome Prince Charming who rescues her, or because of a pack of singing rodents (although they were all major factors in the outcome). No, it’s because of those glass slippers — dainty, yet somehow strong enough to support the weight of a full-grown woman fleeing down a flight of stairs. The slippers served as a matchmaker between prince and orphan, freeing Cinderella from the evils of housework forever.
2. Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Like Cinderella, this is a story that everybody is familiar with, if not for the plot itself then for the urban legends that surround it (Munchkin Suicides, Pink Floyd sync ups) or the various retellings of the story from different perspectives (The Wiz, Tin Man, Wicked), or different symbolic interpretations (the munchkins are a metaphor for the American working class, guys!). It’s easy to let the hype get in the way of the really important aspects of the story: glittering ruby slippers. Without the slippers, the Wicked Witch of the West would have no incentive to go after our heroine Dorothy, and without any Wicked Witch, the evil flying monkeys would not have existed. While the phrase “evil flying monkeys” should be enough of a reason in itself, the shoes go one step further (pun very much so intended). Dorothy, once rid of evil flying monkeys, learns that all she needs to do to get home is tap the heels of those sparkling shoes together three times and voila — she’s at home in Kansas, asleep in her bed. Granted, in eschewing more traditional forms of travel she’s missing out on those awesome little bags of pretzels they give out on flights nowadays, but it’s quite efficient nonetheless.