I first saw the movie The Red Shoes as a child, fascinated by the beauty of the ballet, the fabulous costumes and the ultra-glamorous London-Paris-Monte Carlo life it depicted in scratchy 1940s Technicolour.
So I was very excited to see that one of the free events being held as part of State of Design 2010, Victoria’s design festival, was a screening of The Red Shoes. Not just at any cinema though – a screening held in the wunderkammer workshops of shoemakers Preston Zly, where everyone was invited to wear their red shoes.
We arrived at the dimly lit workshop via a nondescript carpark off Smith Street and was greeted by the smell of popcorn. Each guest was given a paper bag of popcorn, a glass of pink sparkling and a little chocolate – so cute! We were all asked to take a full –length photo with our red shoes – mine were red suede pumps by Georgina Goodman which you may have seen before. All red shoes worn to the event will form part of a photographic installation.
Inside the workshop red shoes abounded in the cabinets, on the walls and resting eerily on silenced shoe-making equipment – very Victorian Gothic.
Being early birds, we claimed the best spot – front row of the seats, behind the big mattress and cushions set out for the latecomers. My low easy-chair even had a granny crochet rug, a necessity after a while in the winter night chill.
As for the movie itself, many of you may be familiar with the classic 1948 film so I won’t delve into details – but if you’ve not seen it, get it out on DVD! The acting is a bit OTT compared to naturalistic modern methods but it’s still a lovely journey into my favourite place in the whole wide world – the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden – and the dream of ballet.
On leaving, we were all presented with a gift bag – a pair of luxurious Leona Edmiston opaque tights and a gift voucher of $100 towards a pair of Preston Zly shoes form The Signet Bureau on Gertude St. Time for some more red shoes perhaps?