Melanie Morris: Ladies, wave goodbye to bunions and blisters - flat shoes are back
LADIES, if ever you've needed a sign that there is a God . . . and let's face it, we're certainly leaning on our faith right now, I finally have proof.
What is it? Well, put simply, Mna na hEireann, let me be the first to officially tell you, flat shoes are back.
That's right. Adios to stilettos, bye bye to skyscrapers, sayonara to stilts. We can now officially stretch our tendons out, cast aside the high heels of agony and revel in the fact that, not only are we comfortable, but we're bang on-trend too.
'Kaiser' Karl Lagerfeld led the charge last week with his latest couture show for Chanel. Inspired by "the way young women dress", he swapped pearls and cocktail frocks for T-shirts and slim trousers; and, yes, he sent his models out wearing flat shoes.
You could almost see the relief in the models' faces as they skipped down the runway, all girlishly gleeful in black pumps with a see-through ankle strap.
Next thing, the queen of tottering, towering heels, Victoria Beckham, was papped in a pair of ballet flats.
Yes, she who has endured bunions, freaky feet and the most agonising of contortions has come back to earth with her bump.
It's not like we've all suddenly converted to flats -- one look at Penneys' walls of ballet pumps and sandals can tell you that.
I think almost all of the female population have been stashing flatties in their handbags, ready to hop into the very second no one (of importance) is looking.
And no seasoned party girl will head out at night without their 'going home' shoes safely stashed about them.
By day, working girls have spent decades swapping between trainers and heels at the office door.
Unfortunately, I've never been one of those slick fashionistas who could gamble up and down Grafton Street on spindly six-inch numbers.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't pull it off, but I wouldn't give up. I swore persistence would pay off.
I was wrong. I have shelves of shoes I've never worn -- pink suede Louboutins, sexy Gucci ankle boots, quirky Westwood platforms -- such is the challenge they present.
My favourites, some spiky Alexander McQueen shoe-boots, are so uncomfortable it even hurts to sit in them.
And yet other women, better and more dedicated than me, persevered.
I have one pal who literally couldn't walk in her Chanels, so she stood still in them for a whole night.
And I've seen a prolific southside blonde glide all the way from Dublin airport's check-in to D-gate in her YSL Tributes (up to seven inches in height, and counting) while I waddled behind in flip flops.
Thankfully, now, the times they are a-changing, and the altitude is dropping. We're getting that 'soft landing' those men in suits were talking about in 2008, but just not in the way they intended.
The chance to wear flat shoes from dawn, to desk, to dancefloor, while being in the height of fashion, will make 2011 a whole lot more bearable.
No need for power heels if we don't feel like it, no pressure to negotiate ankle-snapping platforms if we're not in the mood.
Without the pressure to teeter around on vertiginous pieces of foot sculpture, we can, literally, dance all night.
Or simply go about our every-day lives without succumbing to blisters, vertigo or nose bleeds.
Karl Lagerfeld, I thank you.
Melanie Morris is editor of Image magazine