Red Ruby Slippers

Diary, Fashion , 16 November 2012

Don’t Miss / The Hollywood Costume Exhibition at the V&A

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As a little girl, I liked to dress up. My predilection for sequins rendered me goggle-eyed when I first saw Dorothy’s ruby red sequinned slippers. I didn’t want their magic powers, oh no. The magic for me was in the unparalleled pleasure I imagined a pair of ruby red sequinned slippers would bring to my life. So desperate was I to show to my mother my eligibility for said slippers, I would spend my afternoons compiling an outfit akin to Dorothy’s, then enter the kitchen grandly – wicker basket in the crook of my arm, pinafore in place – and declare proudly that I was Dorothy.

While many childhood eccentricities lessen with age, I never quite forgot about those slippers. I saw a similar pair of Marc Jacobs glittery shoes in gold while New York some years ago and bought them straight away despite the fact they hurt like hell and cost my holiday allowance of cash. I wore them every day and returned to London determined to don them once more when my feet had recovered.

When I heard the V&A were putting those lust-worthy shoes on display I booked myself and my mother in to see them. What beauties they are. Shoes aside, for those of you who have fallen head over heels (or slippers), for any good old Hollywood outfit, the V&A are probably home to it at the moment. The dresses which thrilled us at the Hollywood Costume Exhibition included Marilyn’s Seven Year Itch white dress (with a tiny waist, putting paid to any rumours that Monroe was anything near a size 16), Audrey’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s gown (surprisingly plain without the wearer), Carol Lombard’s silky silver dress (I would wear this with my ruby reds, if I could), and Knightley’s green silk Atonement dress (heavenly).

It wasn’t all dresses – there seemed to be a plethora of male heroes here too from Indiana Jones to Bond, Spiderman to Superman. As for me, my passion for sequins has been renewed and determination to own some Dorothy replica shoes doubled in strength. If only I had some winged monkeys to whisk them out of the V&A for me…

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