As an estimated 20 million British people watched last weekend’s epic battle between Andy Murray and Roger Federer at Wimbledon, writer Sali Hughes tells us why she struggled to keep her eye on the court...
Watching the match on Sunday, my attention was somewhat commandeered by the sight of yet more nude court shoes in the crowd. The Duchess of Cambridge her sister Pippa Middleton, countless Sloanes and tennis circuit girlfriends all wearing the identikit nude sledge shoes that have become a high street trademark and apparent licence to print money.
Ascot was no different. While toffs were clutching their pearls over the admission of tattooed ladies into the royal enclosure, I was praying for a permanent nude heel ban. Enough now, ladies! I mean really, is this the best the clothes horses of Britain can do? So what, they lengthen your legs, who on earth wants £200 shoes that look invisible? If I see one more beautful Sarah Burton for McQueen creation unimaginatively accessorised with the aristocracy’s cop-out courts, I shall scream.
We are at the point where a pair of nude heels is as much of a class giveaway as a man in mustard cords and Hackett cricket sweater. It occurs to me that not since the eighties, when working-class girls were mocked and satirised for their love of white stilettos in all seasons, has one shoe so defined a class in society. In 2012, quite simply, the nude heel is the white stilly of the middle classes. Only infinitely less fun, and so much less cool than the 80s classic. Take Lana Del Rey. The entire fashion world at her feet, yet they’re rarely clad in anything but her favourite white Office stilettos. Ditto Tulisa, Hilary Duff, Sophie Ellis Bextor. Even Nicole Kidman, the epitome of understated elegance and good taste, has been seen in white Manolo 6-inchers and a micro minidress.
The S/S 2012 Louis Vuitton show had models click clacking down the catwalk in white stillies, like extras from Rita, Sue and Bob too. In a world of nude courts, they seemed like a breath of fresh air and a teeter in the right direction.