A few months ago I came across a pair of gold sparkly Louboutins in a Barnardos charity shop. After a text from my friend Roisin telling me of their location, about a mile and a half walk away, I told myself that I would come back to have a look at them tomorrow.
As I began wandering back to the car, I checked my watch. 4:00pm. Who am I kidding! If I rush I can get there before close! My legs are tired, my hip is aching, but the promise of a pair of Louboutins for less than £200 is too much of an exciting prospect to ignore.
I’m walking so fast that I have begun to pant and my top lip has a slight sheen on it. Wait! I can’t burst into the shop gasping for air and all sweaty! For starters it’s unattractive and secondly, I don’t want to look overly excited about them. Cool nonchalance is the look I’m going for… FYI, not once in my lifetime have I nailed this.
When I get into the store, after a brief pause outside to compose myself, the shoes are not immediately apparent. Panic begins to build inside. Surely they would be a on a plinth in the middle of the store, all lights focused on them, with a choir purposefully hired to sing of their beauty. I wander around for a while, attempting to feign interest in other things, all the while desperately wanting to screech in the volunteers face “Where are the gold Louboutins!!!!! Take me to them!!!”
Suddenly, I spot them. They’re in a cabinet. Not quite plinths and choirs, but the thought is there. I spend some time studying them from outside the cabinet. Something doesn’t seem quite right. Perhaps it is the depth over the forefoot of the shoe. Too deep, not elegant enough.
I ask to see them out of the cabinet. The heel doesn’t seem sufficiently delicate. The sole appears to be ridged plastic rather than leather. I inspect the glitter on the outside. It seems fairly shoddily applied, with bits rubbing off around the heel and the forefoot, despite their ‘new in box’ status.
In the end, despite my incredibly limited experience with these shoes, I decided that they must be fake. When asking the shop assistant to return to the cabinet, I tentatively voiced my concerns that they may not be real. Popping in the shop a week or so later, they were no longer there, they had possibly moved to a new shop with a more exclusive location.
I own one pair of Loubies, as some people call them. They’re a plain black court shoe. The height of the heel gives me a nose bleed and aching ankles, but I love them all the same. They were second hand, naturally, and I can only wait for the day that I can afford to buy myself a pair new.
I decided to wear them to work one day, just for the sheer hell of it. When I walked into the room, Marion, my colleague, immediately said “Oh my God, I love your shoes!” She had not seen the sole. To her they were simply a plain black pair of court shoes. But she knew immediately that they were beautiful.
That, I feel, is how you tell the real deal from fake. You know immediately. They’re either exquisite, or they’re not.