Here in a small cottage on the Hampshire-Berkshire borders, in the lee of Watership Down, one feels the change of season keenly. My lawn is greening up, thank goodness, and the necessity of watering every struggling parsnip has lessened as rain falls steadily.
But now that I no longer walk to an office down Bond Street or Regent Street, I forget about the more important seasons. I don’t mean weather (cold, hot), I mean fashion (spring, autumn). The New York shows are over and London’s are this weekend. What they both showcased is new spring modes for 2014. I have completely missed autumn. It is a mad calendar, but it used to run my working life.
Having missed autumn, it took me until I finished the September issue of American Vogue to catch up on what I should have purchased (months ago) for my godson’s wedding today.
I’m not worried about what to dress in, because I can wear something that’s already had an outing to a wedding this year. I’m worried about shoes. My only decent shoes are slender, conventional, high heels. New-season shoes from the more directional labels (Prada, Vuitton), are giant, clumpy, orthopaedic things that look as though they’re bracing a broken foot.
Nothing – for the generality of mankind – looks better on a woman’s foot than a slender high-heeled shoe. The fact that you oughtn’t to run in them in part explains their man-appeal; high shoes hobble women, handicap them, slow them down. The late, badly missed rakehell Jeffrey Bernard was a famous worshipper of high heels. He’d stop dead to stare at them if he spotted any. I can’t remember whether he fell in love with one woman because she was wearing red patent high heels or black ones, but it was one or t’other, and my memory plumps for red.