By Raïssa Robles
For the record, Imelda Marcos told Philippine Daily Inquirer last Sunday, she has only 200 pairs of shoes.
Imelda Marcos is trying to erase her shoes from world history.
Type the phrase “Imelda shoes” on the Web search engine Google and you instantly get over two million entries.
Last Sunday, the Queen of Shoes was asked by Inquirer’s lifestyle section “Playtime”:
For the record, how many pairs of shoes did they discover in Malacañang?
They were lying because when finally Marikina was asking for the shoes in Malacañang, it was less than 200. Sabi ko [I said], “Somebody must have worn it. Somebody who stayed in Malacañang must have worn it.” Of course, Mrs. (Corazon) Aquino said, “I was not the one because my size is 6, not 8.”
So it was not 3,000 pairs.
Imelda Marcos emphatically replied:
Lie. Only 200 pairs. I had more panties than shoes. It’s true. I wore black panties. They displayed it and it was good all my panties were black. I had thousands of it.
I wonder if the Queen of England has that many panties, or for that matter Bill Gates’ wife. They could certainly afford to wear and throw black undies all the days of their life.
But I digress.
In a book detailing its history entitled A Gold Record, SGV lists the counting of Imelda Marcos’ shoes as among its proud accomplishments.
SGV actually counted each pair. It counted 3,000 pairs in all. This is not a rumor. It’s a fact – 3,000 pairs in all.
My copy of the book was sent to me by SGV founder Washington Sycip when I was doing a profile of him for Asiaweek magazine. He thought it would help me understand the company he had built from the ground up.
I scanned the entry on the shoes in the SGV book. Here it is:
I personally saw Imelda Marcos’ shoes in the basement of her bedroom in Malacañang Palace the day after she had fled from there together with her family. I saw that many of them were foreign luxury brands.
I saw the shoes with the flashing disco lights. They were like a grown-up version of what my son used to wear as a toddler. You know, those shoes with winking lights at the bottom.
This is how Imelda Marcos’ shoes were displayed on racks:
I know that deep down inside, many women want to own many, many pairs of shoes of various colors and style.
But even by international standards, 3,000 pairs is way beyond tacky.
It would have taken Imelda Marcos over eight years to wear them all, one pair at a time, provided she didn’t add anymore to her collection.
A Time magazine essay pointed out the moral lesson of her shoe obsession shortly after the Marcos downfall:
The parable of Imelda’s shoes has something to teach. She could never wear them all. Nor could the Marcos family, one suspects, manage to spend the billions of dollars they plundered from the Philippines.
The Marcos plundering seems ultimately a cheerless affair, covert though sometimes ostentatious, avaricious though often prodigal. Christ said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” Marcos did not wish to wait. He turned Christianity upside down. He took nourishment from the mouths of the poor and transformed it into his treasure on earth. Such venality is not a matter of either Freud or metaphysics. It is just a brutal habit, the crocodile reflex of a man too long in power. It is a subdivision of the banality of evil.