Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 29 July 2011

Let them eat cake... or wear designer shoes

Did we fall into a parallel universe while I was away? While the front pages have been busy recounting the tragic events abroad - or speculating on the deeds of flame-haired Rebekah (43) - an event of truly staggering triviality has made the fashion pages.

The Olsen twins, famous for appearing on American television on a regular basis since birth before breaking into the fashion business, have turned up in a poverty-stricken part of Honduras on a mission of charity. So what might these Hollywood ladies bountiful be dispensing to the deprived children of the neighbourhood?

Why, shoes, of course! And what's more, designer shoes; the instantly recognizable iconic brand 'Toms' (nope, me neither), as worn by Hollywood's finest, apparently. Who needs food or education when you wear the same shoes as Knox Jolie-Pitt (brother, of course, to the Spoonerist's delight Shiloh Pitt)?

'...the Olsens travelled to Honduras to help fulfil the "One for One" ethos of the popular shoe brand: for every pair purchased, Toms give one pair to a child in need.'

The shoes in question - at least the limited-edition cashmere espadrilles designed by the twins' brand The Row - retail for around £125 a pair. Should Toms be philanthropically inclined, a cynic might argue, surely it would be better to use the money to purchase cheaper, more practical footwear and - here's a thought - endow an educational trust.

But where's the headline-grabbing USP? Far better to release photos of a pretty - if ironically undernourished (the Olsens are allegedly no stranger to eating disorders) - actress putting shoes on the feet of a deserving child; in this case, a matching pair giving added media appeal.

And thrown into the bargain, this utterly endearing quote from one or other of the fashionista moppets:

"Having the opportunity to be a part of something so meaningful has made the collaboration with Toms special to everyone at The Row."

It's a bit like the blessed Bono and his Armani sunglasses - 'buy these £750 shades and we give an African orphan a square meal; go on, you know it makes sense!' How nice to know that spending £125 on a pair of designer espadrilles means that, somewhere out there, a deprived child will soon be strutting about proudly in the latest fashionable footwear.

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