by Antonio Lilliu
CLASS DETECTORS: diamonds vs high-heels.
If the transformation of values’ system in the modern western society hasn’t led yet De Beers to change its USP "A DIAMOND IS FOREVER" (showing how little statistics about divorces’ rates may influence the metaphysic of Brand-Marketing), it urged the Group to massive production’s cuts during the last years. De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. founded in 1888 and controlling about 45% of world diamonds’ production, has taken this actions in order to safeguard their price in the international market place.
In short, if the appeal of diamonds as discretionary asset is not scratched by restrictive measures or market compensations, their psychological value, however, has suffered undeniable setbacks both in terms of safe investment and symbol of status and self-realization for the modern woman.
Once upon a time there were golden rules to evaluate the class of a woman as well as any other kind of human experience. The gift of a diamond had a very specific meaning, decreeing personal consequences in social and economic extent. The first diamond, normally an engagement ring, was the most spectacular evidence that she found “THE” love, and an endless marriage’s happiness was finally on her horizon. Queens and princesses were used to receive diamonds after childbirths, normally if they had been able to ensure male offspring ... otherwise they had to hurry up and groped luck staying again pregnant – therefor many sovereign and noblewomen, who seem obese from their portraits, were simply constantly pregnant: the cases of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Anne of Brittany were anything but isolated. The gift of a diamond to a wife for no apparent reason, then, did not bode well: normally only served to silence husbands’ sense of guilt, and in any case was a prelude to the end of the communion of affections.
THE NEW MILLENNIUM WOMAN does not aspire to any diamond of this kind. She’s the kind of woman who has the destiny in her hands, the one who didn’t get a MBA from the best American college to end up exercising the role of ambassador and housekeeper of her husband, who is not content to seduce, who doesn’t want to be noticed just because of her cloth. She is a woman who knows what she wants and wants what she knows, who defines herself definitely not for what she wears, but for what she would never wear.
The modern woman knows that to go far, besides of brain, all what she needs is a nice pair of legs. Then it is all about heels, and let's be clear, it's like in architecture all about static and dynamic! High heels are the new class detectors! (I must confess, at this point, that the class for me is a mental attitude, which has little to do with bank account and social classes).
Static: since immemorial time humans have rarely been satisfied of the human body as it is, trying to change it according to the different cultural canons. Just look at the giraffe women of Burma, which periodically add iron rings around the neck to stretch it up to the utmost, or pointy bras of the 50s that led to paradox results the shape of female breast. High heels are used not so much to add stature (even Rococo wigs added stature!) but to stretch your legs by changing the natural proportions. The optical effect of a very high heel is at its best while sitting with crossed legs, or standing by front perspective. If, viewed from behind or from the side, the heel is equal to half the distance between the knee and the ankle, then the effect will be that of a Playboy’s Bunny, while standing, and a duck when walking. Heels also change the standing posture of the body and sculpt the silhouette: they’ll bring the torso backward to maintain balance, chest out, smooth the tummy and give tone to the legs’ muscles, making them look younger and dry. Legs are the highlight of female sex-appeal in the modern era. Men realized that women also have one pair of legs just a hundred years ago, when skirts rose to not lower anymore!
Dynamic: walk well in heels of course requires a lot of exercise, motivation and willpower to overcome the lack of comfort. Still, the nonchalance by walking on heels is the result of the ability to choose the right height, which varies from woman to woman. There is nothing less elegant or sexy to see a woman who moves on heels as if walking on burning embers or a tightrope. At that point it’s better to lower their height. Furthermore, heels modify the communication of the body in motion: waddling like a failing Titanic as Marilyn Monroe used to do, may cast doubt that a woman is not entirely sober, or even suffering from a hysterical form of exhibitionism like Kim Kardashian.
The gait is the essence of the dynamic on high heels. To understand it you just have to watch the last scene of the movie "Angel" (1937) of E. Lubitsch starred by Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas and Marlene Dietrich. Lord Barker surprises his wife in a tête-à-tête in Paris with Anthony with whom Lady Barker had a one-night-stand, romantic enough to let her think to end the marriage.
Lord Barker puts thus Angel (this is the nickname that Anthony gave to Lady Barker) in front of an out-out: if she will ever forget to be Angel, he will forgive the infidelity and not neglect her anymore. To understand such a difficult choice for any man, like the one to forget a wife’s infidelity, while admitting the own faults, you have to look carefully the last take, when Marlene Dietrich is featured from behind following her husband as he leaves the house, putting her arm beneath him to seal the decision to stay together. More than the gait of a star or a queen is that of a goddess, and towards goddesses we are very forgiving. Technically you could not get that kind of gait by wearing Ballerinas.