Are You The New Imelda Marcos

Everyone knows ladies who love to have a lot of shoes. Maybe you are one of them. Perhaps when you open the cupboard they come tumbling you and almost bury you?

If this is indeed you, perhaps you are indeed the new Imelda Marcos.

Younger readers may not be familiar with the 90-year-old former first lady of the Philippines, but your mothers will doubtless nod knowingly at her very mention; she was notorious - or, perhaps, to be admired - for one of the biggest shoe collections known to womankind.

Mrs Marcos rose to prominence in the 1960s, when Ferdinand Marcos secured the presidency. The government became a tawdry dictatorship and while the people were poor, the first family lived a life of great largesse, not least Imelda herself. Her combination of authoritarianism and socialite lifestyle earned her the nickname ‘The Steel Butterfly’.

Dramatic change came in 1986 when the government was overthrown in a popular uprising, with the president and his wife forced to flee into exile in the US. It was reported that when their palace was inspected, over 3,000 pairs of ladies’ shoes were found.

Even in exile Imelda continued to turn heads. Her regular presence in high society functions around the world, combined with her continuing vast shoe collection, made her an extraordinary celebrity. While political power might have slipped away, she still had billions in the bank to spend on footwear and much else.

If this is indeed you, perhaps you are indeed the new Imelda Marcos.

Some might feel enraged at the pair for using their absolute power to live an opulent lifestyle, and that was certainly the domestic view when they were overthrown. But it wasn’t quite how things were seen elsewhere.

Not only were shoe shops in New York breaking the champagne out at news of the Big Apple’s latest resident; there was a genuine acknowledgement among many ladies that, given the chance, they would have a giant shoe collection too.

Indeed, feelings towards the Marcos’s mellowed in the following years, especially after Ferdinand died in 1989. President Corazon Aquino allowed the family to return in 1991 and Imelda was elected to the new democratic parliament four times, before she was finally convicted for corruption in 2018 and barred from holding any office. However, daughter Imee continues to pursue her own political career as a senator.

While the Marcos family still has a place in Filipino politics, nobody was ever going to forget the shoes. This was particularly true when Imelda herself helped open the Marikina Shoe Museum.

Marikina is a suburb of Manila that is famous for shoemaking, rather in the way Northampton used to be in England. Indeed, some of Imelda’s shoes were made there. Now, the museum itself displays thousands of pairs, including 765 from the former first lady’s collection. Rather than treating her as something of a Lady Macbeth like some nations might have done, many in the Philippines were happy to embrace her as a celebrity.

Of course, the fascination with Imelda Marcos in her home country might be the same as anywhere else; ladies might claim to be appalled at her riches, but, deep down, know they share the same instinct.

Indeed, a few years ago we carried out our own survey and discovered that many ladies would indeed love to have thousands of pairs of shoes.

Of course, few will come remotely close to Imelda Marcos in their luxurious lifestyle, but she never seemed to have any qualms about her vast shoe collection. So if you ever wish for a wardrobe bursting with footwear and would happily do so if you had a few Swiss bank accounts to dip into, all we can say is: You are definitely not alone!

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