There was a masquerade ball at the Elysée-Montmartre that evening. It was the ‘Mi-Carême,’ and the crowds were pouring into the brightly lighted passage which leads to the dance ball, like water flowing through the open lock of a canal. The loud call of the orchestra, bursting like a storm of sound, shook the rafters, swelled through the whole neighbourhood and awoke, in the streets and in the depths of the houses, an irresistible desire to jump, to get warm, to have fun, which slumbers within each human animal.
The high heel race is a curious phenomenon that has emerged in the last ten years as a popular fund-raising activity. The events require competitors, women (and sometimes men as well), to strap themselves into a pair of stilettos for a 100m sprint across a finish line.
Desire. Intention. Ambition. If fashion has long been the crowning companion of the wealthy, it can also be a powerful accomplice to the disadvantaged through its sense of play and artifice. Assuming a persona can be empowering, and manipulating it adds to the irony. So what happens when the disaffected communities of New York take their dreams to the ballroom?