It was 1992. I had been working on tour to the Edinburgh Festival where I had struck up a friendship with Bev, an Aussie from Perth who was working as an au pair in Paris for a French American family. I decided to visit her.
It was my first visit to Paris and I was not really prepared for the reaction I received walking around the streets in my beloved Blundstones. Parisian women were so petite and always in heels. They would do a double take when they saw what was on my feet and laugh. Parisian men sneered – my feet were obviously too butch for them. I asked my friend Bev what they were saying. She said ‘They can’t believe you are wearing army boots’.
Here I was in beautiful and amazing Paris …
being laughed at and ridiculed for my boots, my comfy rockstar Blunnies …
I wanted to buy my boyfriend a special gift so Bev took me to Jean Paul Gaultier’s store. When we entered the attendant walked straight over to us, gushing in French and looking at my feet. Then he called over the other attendant. Bev explained to them that I was wearing Australian workman’s boots. Then the man himself appeared. ‘Bonjour’, he said. At first I did not register who he was. Jean Paul studied my boots. The attendants explained to him what Bev had told them. Jean Paul nodded at my feet, nodded at me, and with ‘Au revoir’, he disappeared again.
Now I am not trying to lay claim to anything here…but I have always wondered if they later ended up on the JPG catwalk?
Alice’s note – Yes, they did indeed. Combat boots have been a staple of JPG style forever. Now maybe JPG thought of them first – after all he is a genius. But maybe, just maybe you contributed to changing the face of women’s footwear in the early nineties.
Here’s a link to JPGs recent incarnation of the combat boot perfectly teamed with tulle on pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/447474912947073236/