W4 spoke with Mariela Dabbah, inspirational leader of The Red Shoe Movement, about the challenges faced by women in the workplace and what her movement is doing to improve professional development opportunities for women around the world. And Miuccia wasn't the only one thinking of vermilion footwear, from bright red velvet in Simone Rocha and crimson open-toe boots in Victoria Beckham to flashy heels in Hellessy, red shoes went up and down the runways around the world. And of course, it's about resources, since throughout much of history, the people most likely to wear red shoes were those who were rich. As administrators of the Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles, members of the Red Shoe Society work together to raise money, volunteer their time and talent, and network with other active members of the community.
While The Red Shoe Movement began as a program aimed primarily at Latin women in the United States, it has quickly become a multicultural platform that works in English and Spanish-speaking countries with followers of its movement around the world. The Red Shoe Society is a group of young professionals with the collective goal of helping to make a difference in the lives of families with seriously ill children who are being treated at a nearby medical facility. Kate Bush's 1993 album, The Red Shoes, also pays homage to the dark frenzy at the heart of Andersen's fairytale, and its lyrics tell a similar story of a young woman who will be forced to “dance” until her legs fall off. Based on the story of a young woman named Karen who covets and later purchases a pair of bright red leather shoes to go to church, her thirst for something as simple as flashy shoes is apparently so monstrous that an angel condemns her to dance to death.
Powell and Pressburger's 1948 film The Red Shoes reinvents the story with the headstrong ballet dancer Vicky Page (played by Moira Shearer) caught between art and love and also between two fussy and controlling men as they dance the lead role in an adaptation of the fairytale. It encourages people to show their support for women's professional growth by wearing red shoes and ties on Tuesdays. The Red Shoes Movement firmly believes that companies must re-engage their employees to prevent them from being trapped in middle management positions. Whether it's King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century posing in his red high-heeled shoes and declaring that only nobility could do the same, or the glimmer of a modern Louboutin sole that represents the wealth of the user (and his ability to walk in dizzying heels), red shoes are still a dominant option.