EST. 2009

December 16, 2014

That Slipper as Pure as Gold

"WISH TO HAVE THE CURSE REVERSED? NEED A CERTAIN POTION FIRST." In Sondheim, Lapine and Marshall's upcoming Into the Woods, Baker and Baker's Wife set off to find four ingredients that make up a much-needed potion: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn and the slipper as pure as gold. If you read fairy tales as a child, you could more or less identify the cow belonging to the beanstalk-climbing Jack, the cape being Little Red's, the hair descending from Rapunzel's tower and the slipper adorning Cinderella's little foot.

"But why isn't it glass?" you may wonder, with Cinderella's slipper popularly depicted in glass, not gold. The answer lies in Cinderella's many versions, long preceding Disney's famed 1950 cartoon. There are recorded versions from classical Greece, China, Arabia, even medieval Philippines, featuring variously-named heroines with tiny golden slippers or rose-gilt sandals. The 17th century began to see European versions of the tale, first by Italian fairy-tale collector Giambattista Basile, then by the French Author Charles Perrault. Aschenputtel, by the Brothers Grimm, was not recorded until the 19th century.

Perrault's Cendrillon is considered one of the most popular versions of Cinderella for its addition of the pumpkin, the Fairy Godmother and the glass slipper. Cendrillon formed the basis for Disney's 1950 cartoon, which was re-released periodically until 1987, and is well-known, even well-loved, by up to three generations of audiences. Glass slipper and all.

But December 2014's Into the Woods might just mark the golden slipper's revival in popular culture. Bringing to the big screen Stephen Sondheim's musical of intertwined fairy tales, a brilliant set of songs and post-ever-after stories usher in entirely new morals and moments to the familiar tales.

"Wanting a ball is not wanting a prince." Move over Perrault. Sondheim's Cinderella may just be more relatable. And golden pumps might just be more wearable too.

Valentino gold pump, He Perceived That Her Little Foot Slid In Without Trouble by Gustave Dore The Slippers of Cinderella by Aubrey Beardsley Aschenbrödel by Carl Offterdinger