Thursday, May 3, 2012

review: women from the ankle down by rachelle bergstein


Women From the Ankle Down begins with the story of a woman who stalked a pair of Loeffler Randall snakeskin booties.  She justified the price by stating that rent is only for a month while shoes are forever.  I instantly knew Rachelle Bergstein had written this book for me.  Pictured here are the shoes that I stalked for months, finally purchasing them when they became part of the 40% off sale.  The preface and the first chapter recounting the early life of Salvatore Ferragamo and his rise in the newly established shoe industry were brilliantly done, but the chapters that followed got bogged down by too much celebrity.  In discussing Hollywood and those illustrious ruby slippers, Bergstein gets caught up in Judy Garland’s struggle in the business.  This occurs again and again such as when writing about the disco era (John Travolta is given far too much attention in a book titled Women From the Ankle Down) and the aerobics phenomenon (Jane Fonda is the focus this time).

Even with the over-reliance on celebrity, I appreciated Bergstein’s insights.  In discussing the stiletto, Bergstein points out how they indicate the wearer is wealthy or at the very least, doesn’t have a job requiring much time on her feet.  Furthermore, Bergstein proposes the popularity of the red-soled Christian Louboutin has much to do with the easy recognizability; whereas other designer shoes require a trained eye to be able to spot them when the foot is covering the label.  Women From the Ankle Down is a great starting point for anyone who wants to know a little bit more about what adorns her feet.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

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