I bought both pair on a whim, and also on sale at Prada’s Fifth Avenue shop while on a lunchtime stroll from my nearby office. It was a particularly tumultuous time in my corporate career, which is saying something, since I worked at a famously tumultuous company that was always merging, acquiring, or being acquired. Plus, we spent far more time competing internally for favor, jobs, budget money, and, well, just because.
I had eyed these shoes for a while on previous strolls, but could not get over the list prices for even one pair. The idea of having Prada shoes appealed partly because I had a new, young dynamic boss who was kicking you know what and not bothering to take names.
She had surrounded herself with a group of adoring young managers, and I was one of the few remaining holdovers from a previous “regime”. It was also a time during which I learned to practice meditation in my private office each morning, as a way to cope, and bought a scooter that I rode around the corridors to meetings. Even I have to admit that the scooter thing was more than a tad ridiculous.
Having a pair of Prada shoes seemed like just the right touch. The brand said that I was a little more contemporary, but the cap-toe style, especially the black pair, denoted a serious side. Corporate with a bit of an edge, so to speak, and a far cry from my buttoned-down, bow tie days.
But, which ones should I get, black or brown? The brown, with its glove-like leather, was far less structured. Plus, they had the trademark red heel mark. The black ones were shiny-stiff, close to being patent leather. Both had rubber soles and a very flat heel.
In the end, I bought two for the price of one. I distinctly remember the look of surprise on my wife, the DG's, face in our old kitchen when I returned home that evening. I don’t recall her being impressed with the “on sale” argument. My youngest daughter didn't say a thing.
As with some relationships we simply cannot say no to, this one was a mixed affair. I still love the idea of having these shoes a dozen or so years after purchase. It’s the reality of wearing them that hurts. “Literally”, as that daughter, Ginny, would say today.
The browns have practically no arch support and require inserts that make the right shoe too tight. The black are still stiff and hurt after a couple of hours of even modest walking. With both, I get back pain. They are like those marvelous Italian sports cars of the 60s with beautiful lines and sweet purrs, which spent most of the time in the shop, not on the road.
|From the black box|
Still, these are things of great beauty. Sometimes I admire them while contemplating a day with them on my feet, and might even put them on before abandoning the idea of walking around the city in them as being totally impractical.
Maybe I’ll get around to sending them to Miuccia Prada’s fellow countrywoman Paolo Antonelli, Design Curator at the Museum of Modern Art. But, not yet. My head tells me not to ever wear them again, but my heart can’t quite let them out of my life.