Shoe Lover Julie Cohen gives a glimpse into her thought process of shoe selection for the gala dinner on Friday...
Like any good romance, the relationship between the Romantic Novelist’s Association and shoes is complex and passionate. It’s not that you need to have the perfect shoes for an RNA party. But if you do happen to have the perfect shoes, there will be much rejoicing.
Of course, I’m all about making others happy, and if I can cause much rejoicing merely by my choice of footwear, who am I to deny the world a little bit more happiness?
So my obsessive planning about what outfit to wear to the RNA’s Gala Dinner at the conference in Greenwich, celebrating the 50th anniversary of my favourite writing organisation, isn’t because of vanity. Oh, no. It’s about spreading the joy.
The question is, which shoes will cause the maximum happiness for others? This is a complicated equation, which has several different factors. Should it be new shoes, or a pair I already own? My bank balance will thank me if I don’t have to buy any more, and the RNA is actually very welcoming of shoes that have had a previous outing. They welcome them as if they were old friends. But this is a gala dinner, and surely something a bit special is required. New shoes, then, or shoes I haven’t worn to an RNA do before.
They must be photogenic. There are several RNA members (naming no names, ahem *your blog editor*),who go around pointing their cameras at the ground and who then post the resulting photos of shoes on their blogs and websites for all to see. So shoes that look good on camera, and that preferably don’t have a big wad of gum or toilet paper on the heel.
They don’t have to be expensive. In fact, they should either be super-expensive, or super-cheap. I cannot forget the crowd that gathered around Penny Jordan’s red Louboutins at the Romantic Novel of the Year awards lunch. You could hear the gasps of admiration from across the room. On the other end of the spectrum, I wore a pair of electric blue cork-heeled slingbacks to a Summer Party last year and got great satisfaction from telling everyone who asked, “They’re twelve quid from Primark.” There’s a reason for the saying “Cheap and cheerful.”
The comfort of my own feet, of course, doesn’t figure in this at all. This is altruism, pure and simple.
I think I have the perfect pair in my closet. Black patent leather, extremely high heeled platform court shoes with a red sole and a certain designer’s name on the bottom, which have not yet seen an RNA party. They tick all the boxes, they are things of beauty, they don’t even hurt that much, and they are bound to cause rejoicing.
Now, what about the dress? Well, that’s another complicated equation...
Julie’s latest book, which features, among others, red slingback Fendis and black strappy Jimmy Choos, is NINA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF GLOOM (Little Black Dress, March 2010). There are indigo crocodile stilettos in her next book, GETTING AWAY WITH IT (Headline Review, October 2010). There’s some romance in there somewhere, too.
For more about Julie and her books, visit http://www.julie-cohen.com