The Power Of Ruby Slippers

The Wizard Of Oz, one of my favorite movies, celebrates its 70th anniversary next year. The New York Times reports that Warner Brothers and Swarovski have teamed up to create a promotion to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation — in which 20 designers recreate Dorothy's ruby slippers. The shoes will be auctioned off in 2009, but they're making appearances in NYC during Fashion Week in September, at Art Basel Miami Beach in December and elsewhere next year. Betsey Johnson, whose shoe (pictured at left) has a heel "as high as I could go, as sparkly as I could go and as fun and full of polka dots and a tulle bow as I could make them," also loves Oz.

According to the Times, she once designed a collection with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy (played by her daughter, Lulu) leading a rented Toto. What's the appeal of this 1939 Sepiatone/Technicolor fantasy about a farmgirl from Kansas? I've asked myself that question so many times.

I'm almost always Dorothy for Halloween. Partially because I already have the dress, which a friend made for me when I was in high school. The shoes I made (with the help of a friend) out of old suede Mary-Jane flats using lots and lots of glue, spray mount and glitter; they leave a trail of "rubies" wherever I go.

The Power Of Ruby Slippers

But it's also because I really, really, unapologetically love her. She's a dreamer, but she's feisty. She's friendly and adventurous, but focused on her goal. And in traveling with her dog and a bunch of misfits with issues, she unknowingly proves that the journey is the destination. Sure, the Wizard is a disappointment: Because you can't rely on other people for your happiness. The answers to your questions and powers to make your dreams come true are inside of you.

Of course, it does come back to the shoes. The shoes! Has there ever been a more beautiful, iconic fashion item? Magic slippers made of rubies. Red, the color of power. Glittering like hot coals. They look just as great with black and white stockings as they do with blue ankle socks. Shoes with the power to transform and transport, who doesn't dream of such a thing? Don't we always want our shoes and clothes to infuse us with energy, charisma and strength? Throughout my life, I have definitely closed my eyes and clicked my heels three times. It's tons of fun staying out all night and getting smashed with the Munchkins and the Tin Man in downtown Emerald City, but there's no place like home.

The Power Of Ruby Slippers

We're Off To See The Ruby Slippers [NY Times]