Hope May Be the Thing with Feathers…

…but speed is the thing with wings. And so are my sandals. These are by Matt Bernson, and I’d never have come across such shockingly beautiful shoes if it weren’t for my friend and former InStyle colleague Alice Kim, who now owns a wildly charming boutique in Omaha called Trocadero (check it out at Trocadero.com).

So my shoes are amazing, but the accompanying lack of pedicure is a total shonda–a thousand apologies, but I was desperate to photograph the footwear since we were just talking about kites, hope, and other things that fly. And also because, while there isn’t much folklore surrounding these shoes (yet–just wait and see, maybe they’ll give me special powers), there is a whole lot of mythology.

They’re clearly inspired by Hermes, who is the son of the king of the Olympian gods, Zeus, and a nymph named Maia. Hermes was the messenger to the gods (and also moonlighted as the god of shepherds, land travel, athletics and thieves) and as such wore winged sandals, a winged hat, and not much else. In his role as herald to the gods, he had to guide souls down to the underworld, a task which earned him the title psychopomp, but I doubt he liked that very much; it sounds like a pudgy, pompous, psychotic dude, not a fleet-footed charmer.

Back in the day, the Romans called him Mercury (which is the name given to the scientific element also known also as quicksilver). Today, both FTD the flower delivery company, and the Hellenic Post Office use Hermes as their symbol.

Post-holiday-gluttony I am not feeling much like a fleet-footed charmer myself. Maybe more like a psychopomp. Except when I wear these sandals. Which just goes to show the long-reaching influence of mythology, and the transformative powers of footwear.

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