Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Few Thoughts on The Imeldific

Okay, since I've been blogging too much about Philippine politics lately*, I should give some equal time to the other side.

We're talking about Imelda Marcos here.

I try to be fair to her, because I do have friends who love and admire her, but it's impossible. Obviously, there is no love lost between me and the woman - no thanks to her husband, the resulting fallout from his regime, and the scuttlebutt I've heard from people who have met her when she lived in Honolulu. (Not very nice, is what I'm saying.)

Even when I take the politics out of the equation, I still can't say I have a lot of love for her - pity, perhaps, because I don't really see her as the powerful woman that she thinks she is. Let me put it this way: When your own children personally attend the funeral of your own greatest political rival and enemy, it doesn't make you exempt from further scrutiny.

But enough about the personal demons of Imelda, perceived or otherwise. Let's talk about the (few) positives of being Imelda Marcos, like her support of fine arts in the Philippines, and being born with a pretty face and great hair. Let's talk about her greatest claim to fame: The Shoes.

On the one hand, the collection itself can be seen as a slap in the face to the shoe industry in the Philippines, because... seriously, people, take it from me when I say that Pinoy-made shoes will give you the best value for your money. On the other hand, I think it's a great idea that the same shoe industry should also celebrate Imelda's love of fine art and quality footwear by exhibiting her collection in the Marikina Shoe Museum, along with pairs worn by other historical figures in the Philippines. Yes, I think it's a great idea for people to see The Shoes.

Fine, I still think she's crazy for using other people's hard-earned tax money to buy shoes - and I do question her taste at times (*ahem* rumored platform heels with built-in disco lights *ahem*) but I don't blame her for wanting so much of them - Ferragamos and Chanels and Givenchys, oh my! (And can I just say here that I share the same shoe size as the Imeldific herself? Even though my feet might actually be wider and chubbier.)

There's just something so excessive and so '80s about all that extravagance that I feel, as a shoe fiend, is quite understandable. Heck, if I was given the chance to buy as many gorgeous high-quality shoes as I liked and wanted, I wouldn't just take the chance and run with it - I'd rebuild my entire house just to get storage for them!

Then again, Imelda's shoes are like Michael Jackson's videos from the Nineties: impressive and well-made, all right, yet so fraught with so much unintended historical and psychological subtext.

Had this collection belonged to somebody that didn't carry as much metaphorical baggage as Imelda did - say, if Michael Jackson himself had owned as many pairs - I might actually be impressed. Even if I were to take the political ramifications out of it, I'd still be left wondering how she ended up with all of them. Imelda always talked about wanting to be surrounded by beauty - were the shoes, like her patronage of the arts, an extension of that desire? And if so, did that desire compensate for something else... an unheeded cry for help, an unspoken act of passive aggression? (Really, there are a lot of other things that she could've bought with that money. Like, say, dinner at Le Cirque, or a Park Avenue condominium.)

If there was, indeed, a hole in her heart, was all that beauty enough to keep it filled?

What I'm trying to say here is this: Sometimes a pair of designer shoes should just be a pair of designer shoes, regardless of their number.


*EDITOR'S NOTE: Domesticity will return to its regularly scheduled beauty and fashion programming next week.

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