Captain Moonlight's Notebook: The long and the short and the fall

Share
Related Topics
Pictures in the tabloids of women tottering on platform shoes as they tried not to imitate the model Naomi Campbell (below), who fell over in Paris last week, sent me scurrying to John Evelyn's Diary. I remembered that the great 17th-century courtier had observed women promenading in Venice (left) on shoes , with platforms even higher than Campbell's 12-inch ones. The Dames - for only noblemen's wives were allowed this privilege - took maids around with them to keep them upright.

Ascension Week in Venice, 1645, and young John, 25, is taking in the sights: 'Every body at liberty, and jollie: the Noblemen stalking with their Ladys on Choppines about 10 Foote high from the ground. These are high heeld shoos particularly affected by these proude dames, or as some say, invented to keepe them at home, it being so difficult to walke with them, whence one being asked how he liked the Venetian Dames, replyd, they were Mezzo Carne, Mezzo Legno (half flesh and half wood), and he would have none of them. Tis very ridiculous to see how these Ladys crawle in and out of their Gundolas by reason of their Choppines, and what dwarfes they appeare when taken down from their Wooden scafolds.'

By the turn of the century the shoes had come to be associated with prostitutes. After all, for women who spent most of the time standing around outdoors they were supremely practical, keeping their feet and clothing dry when the city flooded.

(Photograph omitted)

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service Engineer - Doors / Windows

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist designer and ma...

Recruitment Genius: Systems Developer

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading provider of tu...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - OTE £30,000+

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Here’s why I’m so full of (coffee) beans

Jane Merrick
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn