End of the Road

God, it’s been a long time since I last posted on this blog. There have been many occasions when I really thought I would. This year, for example, was the 10th anniversary of the most recent return of the over-the-knee boot, beginning a sustained run of popularity that continues through today. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen the return of what used be called the “baggy boot” back in the mid/late nineteen seventies, now reborn as the “slouchy boot.” Like its late seventies precursor, it’s a serious investment; the average pair seems to run well over $500, with many being in the four-figure range. Most recently Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, turned up in a pair of $895 FRAME x Tamara Mellon boots, which gained her plaudits from the Daily Telegraph; they were no small investment, the paper noted, “so it’s safe to assume that she thinks she’ll get lots of wear out of them in years to come.”

You would assume that such a news item would provide an opportunity to revisit the golden days of 1975, when this style was so popular that the New York Times‘ Bernadine Morris reported that, “popular booteries, such as Renast on the Rue Tronchet, hand out tickets to women standing in line on the sidewalk, as if they were selling meat or pastry.” But if you want to read that story, I fear you’ll have to buy the book. I’ve run out of steam.

All things have a lifetime, and this blog has been going for six years now. Along the way I got great input and comments from a number of people, spawned a book, and provided a forum for the employees of the much-loved (and much-missed) London shoe store, Elliotts. And now I’m done. The fashion boot, emphatically, is not. Long may it continue to walk, into the next century and beyond.

Selected references:

3 thoughts on “End of the Road

  1. I so remember the pleasure of buying and wearing Elliots shoes in the 70’s! The shoes had so much style. When Elliots closed I simply lost interest in shoes! I still have a pair of canvas clogs which were great, but particularly I remember two styles of shoes called Handel & Mozart, I seem to remember. They were almost identical in cut, but one was a plain brown leather, whilst the other was in patent leather with rows of stitching across the toe. Both had a raised heel whilst the soles were of normal thickness. These I purchased along with many other pairs of shoes from the Kingston branch. However, the highlight was a purchase made in Bond Street. The shoes were glorious, supposedly made of horse hide. They were a beautiful chestnut colour, perfectly plain slip ons with a strap and buckle across the instep. The styling was in the toe and the heel. The shoes had a chisel toe, whilst the heel had an almost square base. They cost a fortune at the time, but I just had to have them. These, along with all the others lasted me a very long time. Now everybody seems content with trainers,Ugh! What went wrong?

  2. New Bond Street late 1969-1970.
    Memories of Bob Green (Complaints Manager whom I’d succeeded), “Nobby” Clark (Store Manager), “George” (actually a girl), Mike Forbes (no relation, who succeeded me. His sister had the Lead in Hair as I recall and was a student of Sir Lawrence “Good-Morning-My-Little-Chickens” Olivier), ‘Mr. Gillespie’ (loved to drink Bass), David (we-never-use-a-first-name-here-Mr. Forbes) Barker – they all did by the time I’d left.

    Don Nolan (elderly Irishman in Men’s Dept. Great guy. (Hilarious sense of humor). Ali Khan (who routinely described himself as being from “Central Asia” (read Pakistan). These guys really knew how to take the michael out of their clients unbeknown to them. Positively hilarious as my office overlooked the Men’s Dept on the first floor. Ah I have so many hilarious stories ..

    David Sheldon’s name vaguely familiar tho’ I don’t recall meeting him.

    Then there was Paul Clayton, Francois – pretty little french lass who took a shine to my English travelling mate we fresh out of the mines in NW Australia (to earn the money to finance our travels).

    All so long ago now, others lost to antiquity. I was a mere 26 back then. Nicholas Elliott reported to have driven an Aston Martin. But all the shoes, “living skin” boots, etc. were (despite the chandeliers, pile carpet, mirrors etc) unequivocal junk from Spain, Greece etc. Hence their need for their euphemistically named “Customer Service Manager” – what a laugh. But sad after a couple of hundred years to see that outfit evidently was liquidated or went in to receivership – not sure. Something about clogs to clogs in 3 generations perhaps? In my time J Paul Getty turned up, so too “the Temptations” and I briefly met the late Marty Feldman and Linda Thorson(?) of “The Avengers” fame. But it was in hindsight all who-ha and a clear money spinner to the owners. It was the age of “Rule Britannia, Britannia Waves the Rules” well before colour TV, the internet, Cd’s, mobile phones and fuel injection, aids etc. They spared no expense in the shops’ fit-out and it must have handsomely rewarded the family.

    The UK Sitcom “Are You Being Served” was so profoundly appropriate to Elliotts of 1969. Something about London back then somehow missed today.

    Best wishes,

    Bill Forbes
    Noosa Queensland Aust.

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