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Taking Baby Steps In Stilettos

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Taking Baby Steps In Stilettos

Pop Culture

Taking Baby Steps In Stilettos

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Wow, my head is spinning a little bit. OK, we've talked about everything on the show today, politics, race, the economy, baseball, sort of. It's all pretty heavy stuff. Let's have some dessert now - fashion. Here's independent producer Shereen Meraji.

SHEREEN MERAJI: This one goes out to all the NPR ladies. OK, tussle your hair, and if you're not driving, take off those hideous Dansko clogs you love wearing and kick up your feet. Now, let's listen to a Hollywood legend to get us in the fashion mood.

Ms. MARLENE DIETRICH (Entertainer): And here's a song I think you want to hear. (Singing) Falling in love again...

MERAJI: Marlene Dietrich was in love with shoes. When she died, there were 440 pair in her closet. She thought shoes were more important than dresses, adding elegance to any outfit.

(Soundbite of Crime Mob and Miss Aisha's song "Stiletto (Pumps)")

CRIME MOB AND MISS AISHA: (Singing) Stiletto pumps in the club. Yeah. Yeah

MERAJI: But would Marlene wear a Christian Louboutin's eight-inch stiletto pumps to a cabaret club? According to Los Angeles Times fashion critic Booth Moore, the higher the better.

Ms. BOOTH MOORE (Fashion Critic, LA Times): It's a competition. It's like, it used to be, you know, how hard could you work, or how hard could you work out. Now, it's like, how high a heel could you work, you know?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MERAJI: This fall, at fashion weeks all over the globe, models stomped along the catwalk in higher heels than ever before.

Ms. MOORE: I was at the Prada show in Milan, and the shoes were unbelievably painful looking. They were strappy, very, very high. So, they were slipping and sliding and falling down on the runway, and everyone after that show was just complaining about how excruciating it was to watch these women walking in these shoes.

MERAJI: Elegant, indeed. For those of you crazy enough to try highstepping in pin-thin heels, you may want to take a class first.

Ms. CATHERINE CORRELEY (Dance Instructor): From the top. You have, it's Britney, bitch, five, six, seven, eight.

MERAJI: Catherine Correley is a professional dancer and instructor at Crunch Gym in Hollywood. She teaches a class where students learn how to strut in stilettos.

Ms. CORRELEY: I think that it gives you a platform and opportunity to work on posture, kind of building up the feet, building up those ankles and calves, and that, ultimately, will help your back. It will help your posture. Shoes are fabulous, but not a lot of people know how to walk in them.

To the left, four walks forward! Pull around, hip, hip, hip, hip!

MERAJI: Correley and a handful of students in super-high heels pop their hips and straddle chairs to Britney Spears' "Give Me More."

Ms. CORRELEY: Five, six, seven, eight!

MERAJI: And at the end of class, the lone male student, LA stylist Peter Tucci (ph), told me why shoe designers keep taking their heels to new heights.

Mr. PETER TUCCI: It's much easier to rip off the runways, and it's much harder to make a shoe look really expensive and more durable. So, that's the one thing, like, I guess, maybe the rich or someone who can save their money can buy and have it as a luxury item.

MERAJI: Basically, you can remake a Marc by Marc Jacobs dress, but don't try and fake an eight-inch stiletto without breaking ankles all over the world. I miss my clogs already. For NPR News, I'm Shereen Meraji.

BRAND: This is why we don't walk in LA. Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And I'm Alex Chadwick.

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