Here’s the most famous shoe in Korea. And no, it doesn’t belong to Cinderella.
The picture appeared on the front pages of the newspapers this week and even in tweets like this one from a former member of the Democratic Party of Korea who added the caption remarking that the owner of the shoe, “wears luxury brands no matter what.”
And why should we be upset that this person wears luxury brand shoes? Because the shoe belongs to Choi Sun Sil, the daughter of a controversial religious cult leader (Shaman?), who is at the centre of the huge scandal involving President Park Geun Hye.
This week Choi Sun Sil came out of hiding in Germany to return to Seoul and face the music – or to get the investigation over with ASAP and then escape back to Germany. Anyway, a crowd of reporters was waiting for her as her car pulled up in front of the prosecutor’s office where she was going to be questioned. As she made her way from the car into the building she was jostled in the crowd. It was here that she lost her shoe.
In a coincidence, I read an article in the Daily Mail this week about the British Prime Minister’s shoes. And what they say about her – because apparently her shoes are not just a fashion statement but are ‘carefully chosen to match her political message and deliver it with a punch’. We are told she talked about Brexit wearing steel-toed brogues.
OK, so it looks like we speak through our shoes, so let’s take a closer look at this shoe which belongs to the now INFAMOUS Choi Sun Sil and consider what the shoe tells us about her.
Let’s start with her overall appearance. As she came out of the car she was really working the ‘weak old lady’ look, wearing dark clothes, glasses, a dark scarf covering her face and a large black hat with a wide rim that hanging down over her eyes.
She clasped her hand over her mouth as though in shock at the anger of the crowd. She closed her eyes, managing to squeeze out a tear as she was jostled around through the crowd. She whispered to the press that she has committed a terrible crime. Although of course later she denied all the allegations, so I’m not sure what terrible crime she was referring to. Still, so far so good. An academy award performance.
Anyway, that’s when it happened.
During the kafuffle to get into the prosecutor’s office, she lost the shoe. And it lay on the ground waiting for Prince Charming to come and pick it up. Unfortunately the press got there first.
This shoe was not a dainty glass slipper. Or a steel-toed brogue. But rather a flat, black, practical, comfortable looking shoe. A shoe made for walking. Nothing wrong with that, I am a woman who is not ashamed to admit she likes comfortable shoes – since I have to march up and down lots of subway stairs. It was a demure, almost apologetic shoe, trying to blend in with the crowd. Telling us it is not special. And that it is just like the shoes us normal people probably have in our smelly old shoe cupboards at home.
But then you look closer. Look at the brand name stamped proudly inside the shoe.
That’s when any sympathy she may have gained got lost in the cries of, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’.
Her outfit at a glance may have been purposely low key, but the evidence she left behind revealed the luxurious truth. Turning up in Prada shoes has rubbed salt in the wound of onlookers who believe she has become super rich and powerful through illegal means. She has been accused of fraud and using her relationship with the president to pressurise conglomerates in Korea into giving her money to set up various, can I say dodgy, businesses.
The price of the shoe has made the front pages. A representative tells us that it is not part of the new season’s range, but rather a ‘classic’ style which sells for about 700,000 won in Korea, 500,000 won in Italy. (not anymore though because the company has already stopped selling this shoe in Korea.)
In retrospect Choi Sun Sil may be wishing that she had sent one of her servants out to buy some cheapo shoes from Dongdaemun market for her appearance at the prosecutor’s office. She nearly pulled the ‘poor old lady’ look off. But not quite. But in fairness she could not have predicted that her footwear would have been examined so closely. After all, you can’t think of everything.
Let’s hope this criminal investigation is as thorough and revealing as the one into her shoe. There have been lots of jokes about her since shoe-gate and before. For a selection of them have a look here.