Our love affair with heels is both passionate and rewarding. We cultivate shoe crushes and revel in the uplifting joy of growing five inches taller in our heels.
The slimming effect that the extra height brings by elongating your body is another dimension of our shoe romance, and I think actress Meg Ryan got it pretty bang on when she noted: "When I wear high heels I have a great vocabulary and I speak in paragraphs. I'm more eloquent."
Changing from ballet pumps to vertiginous six-inch stilettos in a matter of hours can push our legs to their limit, but Dubliner Nina Divito is one designer determined to take the 'ouch' out of heels .
Famous for her lavish shoe illustrations before she moved into manufacturing, Nina has a CSI-type forensic knowledge of shoe construction and women's feet. Her eyes light up at the mention of toe cleavage and she has pushed the curves and lines without jeopardising wearability.
Months of working with Italian craftspeople has paid off, and Nina has perfected the art of making a five-inch heel feel like four inches.
"When I was at college in NCAD, I'd save for months for shoes and then find, two hours into my night out, that I had a burning sensation in the ball of my foot and I'd have to take them off. I was determined to design shoes that are beautiful to look at and to wear.
Practical to the tips of her toes, she insists on manufacturing half-sizes because fit is crucial to a good shoe experience. Next season, Nina is working with couture lace.
"I didn't think I could love a collection more than my first, but I'm very excited about my autumn-winter one. I feel it is a very brave, powerful collection.
"We sourced couture lace from Paris and spent a lot of time working on a shoe constructed entirely out of couture lace."
Pushing the limits, Nina has also worked with exotic features such as python, rolled velvet and bejewelled plumage, and the most expensive pieces of all are the python boots at €1,200.
Very Carrie Bradshaw!
Share your passion for heels with Nina Divito at Brown Thomas, Cork, today between noon and 4pm