It's not your fault you have around 20 pairs of shoes (200+ if you're a hardworking shoe whore). You're wired that way! Consider:
- The higher the heel, the closer to world domination: "Like most animals, we're wired to associate height with power," notes Helen Fisher, PhD, professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. "High heels can literally raise your status because you're taller when you wear them."
- Baby's got back: wearing heels arches your back and lifts your tush. "When a woman wears them," says Fisher, "she assumes a primal mating pose called lordosis." ' Nuff said.
- Shoes are seXXXy...literally: "The area of the brain that communicates with the genitals is right next to the area that deals with the feet," says Daniel Amen, MD, author of The Brain in Love. "These regions share neural crosstalk, which may be why shoes can be erotic." (Duh.)
- You don't merely "shoe shop"...au contraire, you head out, um, collecting. "Shoes are a collector's item, whether women realize they perceive them that way or not," says Suzanne Ferriss, PhD, editor of Footnotes: On Shoes about these sassy sirens, flaunting themselves so flagrantly on shelves and perching so provocatively on shoe trees. "They're like sculptures." Meaning: buying shoes delivers the same type of adrenaline high a collector of, say, stamps experiences when snagging a rare find. "Shoes' mood-altering traits also come from another brain reaction," says Martin Lindstrom, a branding expert for Fortune 100 companies and author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. "Buying new footwear stimulates an area of the brain's prefrontal cortex termed the collecting spot."
Suffice it to say, the Fashion Institute of Technology's Shoe Obsession exhibition in 2013 was well named. Featuring 150 examples of contemporary footwear, it highlighted the extreme, lavish and imaginative ways that heels have reached new heights, both in terms of prices and literally - a 4-inch heel is considered "low." And come Fall 2014, a new exhibition will be paying homage to fine and fetishable footwear. Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe opens September 14 at the Brooklyn Museum, examining the extreme heel from the perspective of fetish object, as instrument of power and as an outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer. More than 160 heels, both contemporary and historical - and often defying categorization! - will showcase the many shifts in style and symbolism the high-heeled shoe has undergone across time. (Helmut Newton image via source)
In addition to pieces from the Brooklyn Museum's own costume collection (housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), there will be loans from the Bata Shoe Museum. Designers and design houses represented in Killer Heels include Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Zaha Hadid X United Nude, Iris van Herpen X United Nude, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, André Perugia, Prada, Elsa Schiaparelli, Noritaka Tatehana, Vivienne Westwood, and Pietro Yantorny. There will also be six specially commissioned short films inspired by high heels byGhada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter and Rashaad Newsome. (image via source)
Killer Shoes will be on display from September 10, 2014 - February 15, 2015. Info & tix at BrooklynMuseum.org.
- Lesley Scott