The stiletto curator who got married barefooted

An interview with Yaara Keidar, curator of the stiletto exhibition “Cinderella Syndrome”


Desires, aspirations, longing for something which is beyond you;

Shortage, lacking, a difference, deification. longing, desiring, imaging…

The stiletto fills the gap between our dreams and reality;

8 centimeters of desire,

20 centimeters of eagerness and fascination

4 cm of longing for more and more

I also want more

To show, to create

So here I am, writing a blog

Words that wrap words, liquefying energy bursting into a flow which flit upon the paper or screen instead of in a gallery and a ‘real’ space

COLLECTE טל דרורי ואסף שם טוב _Fetish_Stiletto_Fashion_Blog_Uncoded_Steps_שלי-לואיס
“The gap betwwen elegance and pain”designed by Tal Drori and Asaf Shem Tov, 2006

Above: Is this a shoe or a sealed idea of a shoe?

When I first heard about the Cinderella Syndrome exhibition

I held my breath for a second

And then reminded myself to take a good deep breath

“I am not there” shouted a hidden voice in my head

I design for other brands,

I have not yet created my own line of items with a clear statement


I’ve this place, here

The blog, into which the energy flows

Energy that might not be channeled into materials, objects, heel heights, leather, glue, feathers and nails, colours and forms


Above: Working into the material, into the leather – “Venus’s Trap” by Shani bar. Material: Nappa leather. Photo by Shai Ben Efraim

The desire to bridge a gap, to reach the un reachable

is found in the story of Yaara Kider, curator of the exhibition,

who hasn’t worn high heels for two years following a glorious and painful fall from high heels

and has hung up her heels and proceeded to celebrate life

in flat shoes

a clear contact with the ground – a sort of truthfulness

stability and comfort

that now guide her feet

But the nature of ideas and desires is not to rest nor to remain silent and the intellectual and creative  curatorship of Cinderella Syndrome provided Yaara with the drama and magic she needs just like the air she breathes

“Bleeding Innocence” by Maya Maimon-Friedman, The Guid, 2016

Looking for some Drama?

“When I started digging dipper into the story of The Wizard of Oz I realized that Dorothy, who comes across as an innocent girl, launches a killing spree in order to return to her home” says Maya, whom I know from the Trend course I teach at The Guild. “It reminded me of an intriguing yet scary image I once saw by the photographer Brit Bentine. This image had a strong impact on me, and it inspired my work”. Brit Bentine dresses up children as figures in a horror movie, examining the border line between innocence and fear in childhood and life itself.

The interview with Yaara Keidar

Was squeezed into her tight schedule during her visit to Israel

An hour before the opening

Amid a team making last minute arrangements

Yaara, who conducts this dynamic ensemble, finds a few precious moments for our meeting

Shelley: a moment when a stiletto was more than just a shoe, an unforgettable moment?

Yaara: I got married barefooted! I wasn’t comfortable in the stiletto I was wearing, and a few moments before the wedding ceremony I took off my stiletto shoes, to my Mum’s great annoyance!

Shelley: You were ahead of your time, even pre-empting Julia Roberts!:)

Embed from Getty Images

Julia Roberts who took off her shoes before stepping onto the red carpet in Cannes, and by doing this expressed her support at the protest against the demand women should wear stiletto shoes – if at work places or at Cannes festival itself.

Shelley: when working on a creative project, there’s a moment when it all “clicks”, a magical moment, of understanding something that couldn’t be understood at the beginning. Did you have such a moment during the work on the exhibition, and if so – what was in this moment?


Yaara: “When I started I didn’t know what topics and content would arise in the exhibition. The application to the designers was very open, I said to them “relate to the subject in any way you want – be critical or not critical, say that stilettos are amazing or alternatively that the end of the world’s approaching – do whatever’s burning inside you”

Some amazing works arrived from Bezalel, Shenkar, from the Guild, that conducted a competition for participating in Cinderella Syndrome

A natural harmony was created, a division into categories  and then I understood that there was a basis for the exhibition, a track, and that’s how it was created”.

The division into four topics within the exhibition:

The pink room relates to children’s fairy tales; are the stories really as pleasant as they seem to us?

The green room displays shoes that take the term height to a new level

The white room shows us the artistic aspect of shoes, where does the shoe end and art begin?

And the black room – the fetish room that examines the pain and aggression in shoes


The white room, “Rogatka” by Kobi Levi. Materials: wood and leather. Photo: Ilit Azulai

מור כפיר La Petite Sirène Cinderella_Syndrome_Shoe_blog_Uncodedsteps_שלי-לואיס

“La Petite Sirene” by Mor Kfir, relates to the little mermaid fairy tale. The mermaid gave up her voice and tale for love, she loved a prince who did not love her back and didn’t appreciate her natural qualities. The shoe with its sharp fish bones expresses the tragedy of her masochism . Materials: Macarel fish bones, pearls, oysters, fimo, leather. Photo by Arnesto Eisner

נורמן ובלה_ Cenerentola Nostra טל ארבל ואלסנדרו בריגנטי_בלוג_נעליים_3D-Footwear_DesignCenerentola Nostra by Allesandrom Brigenti and Tal Arbel for Norman and Bella. Materials: Resin, 3D printing. Photo by Bar Sharir


The Black room, “Dominatrix”, designed by Tali Sorit, Bezalel Academy. Photo by Yoav Zohar

Shelley: did you identify any Israeli characteristics during the curator work, or was the content mainly universal, global?

 Yaara: I think that today everyone, that is, everyone who’s connected to popular western culture, has a global perception of high heels

True, in Israel there’s a great fondness for flat shoes, but even so, at most events today, in Israel as well, you can see a significant number of women in high heels.

However, I think that because women tend not to wear these on a day-to-day basis, and our dress culture is a bit more casual, then it’s easier for designers to see this shoe as an object rather than as a clothing item, and to neutralise its comfort and clothing element and concentrate on the artistic aspect that the shoe can express


Above: surrealism at its best. head pieces by Avigail Talmor and Tami Bar-Lev exhibited in “Cinderella Syndrome”, address iconic symbols such as Shciaparelli’s shoe hat and the statue of liberty.

Clockwise from top left: The statue of liberty during its  assembly in Paris picture from here; Heed Over Heels by Those Who Pray/Avigail Talmor; Shoe Hat by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali, picture from here; Pretty Woman by Tami Bar-Lev.

Me: a stiletto shoe from your private collection that you particularly love

Yaara: Not stiletto but Prada’s 20 cm. platforms from the Japanese collection, 2013. With these, too, I have a love-fear relationship, and right now I don’t dare to go with them, maybe I’ll go back to wearing them in the future.

The eight-minute interview passed in the blink of an eye

The first visitors were starting to arrive. Yaara was busy straightening hidden corners of signs and other details – precision and perfectionism which she says give her great pleasure. Because in shoes, each millimetre counts and the sky’s the limit.

I was left with my thoughts.

What stilettos and high heels have I ever designed?

Stiletto_Innovative_Design_Shoe_Blog_Uncodes_Steps_Cinderella Syndrome
Concept, Shelley Lewis
Sandals I designed for B.Unique; sample
Shoes I designed for B. Unique, SS 2014

For further reading I invite you to follow my steps and read about the opening evening of the Cinderella Syndrome.

Cinderella Syndrome will be exhibited until the end of the month in Ha’Hava Gallery in Holon.

I’ll be more than happy to hear you feedback and read your comments, I aldo invite you to tell and share your personal stories about shoes and other memories 🙂

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