Institute Beaute, New York Blog - Musings on a Glass Slipper by Dr. Suzanne Levine

Musings on a Glass Slipper

We’ve all heard the story of Cinderella, the classic folk tale a/k/a The Little Glass Slipper involving a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances at the mercy of her evil stepmother and stepsisters whose life is transformed because she can fit her foot into a tiny glass slipper.  The tale has so many variations that span all cultures.  In French folklore it’s called Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de VerreIn and in a 19th century German version of this rags-to-riches story, the evil step sisters get the brilliant idea of tricking the prince by chopping off parts of their feet to get the slipper to fit.   If it had worked Cinderella might have still been doing housework as one of the wicked women ran off with her prince.

At one point or another, most of us have had Cinderella fantasies…I personally feel like a hybrid of Cinderella and the Woman Who Lived in a Shoe who had so many children she didn’t know what to do.    In my case though, it’s not the kids that are taking over my life – it’s the shoes;  I have so many that I’ve sometimes contemplated moving to a bigger home to accommodate them…they seem to have taken on a life of their own.  It’s fitting that my collection was featured on French television; even though my forebears were hardly well-off, the term “well-heeled” originated in France.   Legend has it that several centuries ago, the queen wanted to look taller and slimmer and more glamorous so she commissioned a local cobbler to create shoes with higher heels.   This became a fashion trend that only the very rich could afford – so “well-heeled” became a synonym for being rich.

Most women would agree that nothing makes them feel sexier than stilettos.  This makes perfect sense of course; the term “Vamp”- which is the front covering of a shoe – is derived from the French term “avant-pied” which means “before the foot” and has become a synonym for “Hot Mama.”   And of course, I completely relate to the slogan “If the shoe fits buy it – in every color.”   I love it as much as “Life is Short – Buy the Shoes” …and I think that’s what inspired me to get into the work I do.  I never wanted my foot size or any problems I might have below the ankle to come between me and the perfect shoe.  And my mission of course is to spread the joy…”Shoes for Everyone!” as Carrie Bradshaw proclaimed in SATC2.

It’s fitting that Tony Hsieh who is creating quite a buzz with his “Delivering Happiness” movement is the genius who started a little company called Zappos, which was later bought by Amazon reportedly for billions.   Because what gives a woman more happiness than new shoes delivered to her doorstep?  A rhetorical question to be sure…but I think it’s true…just ask Cinderella…

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