HIGH HEELS

Sexy, glorious and totally impractical, high-heeled shoes are addictive, whether you actually wear them or just keep them on the mantlepiece

I met a foot fetishist once. We spent a pleasant evening without a single mention of heels or toes, but the next day he telephoned a mutual friend enquiring about the size of my feet. Alas (for him and for me) they are quite large. Well, they have always been feet requiring sensible shoes.

High heels are not sensible, but they are glorious. Even I, at 6ft 2 with size 41 feet, own a pair. They are by Stephane Kelian and I bought them ten years ago. Owing to the fact that I can neither walk to the front door nor clear its portals in them, they shouldn't be expected to wear out. Yet every season, I receive a mailshot of the new Stephane Kelian collection, and every season I am almost seduced into buying another pair.

Women without my height to keep their ardour in check fall in love with high-heeled shoes. I know many serial purchasers and so I'll wager do you. I have a friend with a young baby who finds perilous heels and a pushchair don't mix. But she can't stop herself buying them (Jimmy Choo is her obsession). She keeps pristine pairs on the mantelpiece, out of baby's reach but, cheeringly, at eye level when she's collapsed in an armchair at the end of the day.

The swimwear and clothing designer Liza Bruce is a confessed Manolo Blahnik addict, despite the fact she is more often than not barefoot she is often seen cradling a delicious shoe in her arms as if it were a baby. Elle MacPherson, Jerry Hall, Lucy Ferry are all Blahnik addicts - even the mention of his name makes them tremble. Joan Juliet Buck, the editor of French Vogue, insists on attending the international fashion collections in his haughty high heels. Only once, early on a Sunday morning three weeks into the seasonal fashion marathon in which she walks miles, has she ever been spotted in flats. Karen Krizanovich, magazine agony aunt and late night television cinema critic, once walked the whole of the Cannes film festival in a pair of Manolo's high strappy sandals, for a bet.

Another word that makes shoe addicts tremble is "Prada". Even more addictive than the bags and the clothes, Prada shoes have a refinement that many in the fashion crowd are unable to do without. It will give perverse pleasure to readers with feet larger than European size 40, Prada's biggest size in most styles, to learn that many models - the super variety among them - have to suffer curled up toes in Prada shoes because their feet are too big.

But the cruel truth is that high heels look loveliest on small feet. Ever since Cinderella put her tiny little foot into the unyielding glass slipper, it has been those with delicate little feet who have had the most fun in heels, skipping off to the ball

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