I remember it was reported last year that someone moon-walked with the Mace. I remember seeing a student take a selfie with the Chancellor as he collected his degree. I remember another student conducting the audience in cheers. But, first and foremost, I remember the shoes.
I suppose when you’re indistinguishable in your gown, mortar board and colours from the next student, the one thing you can do to reclaim your identity is to put your best, most glamorous, foot forward.
Last week I attended my second GSM London graduation at the Barbican and the ladies did not let me down. I believe it was Marilyn Monroe who once said: “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”. And with these statement shoes our students really were ready to conquer the world. Add a BSc/BA/MSc/MBA to that and you can guarantee some serious universe-conquering action is going to follow.
I first noticed ‘graduation shoes’ when I attended my nephew’s graduation. All the women were wearing vertigo-inducing heels in shapes, styles and sizes that made this flatty-loving individual’s eyes water. I asked him what was behind it and he replied that they had all made a pact to do so. It was impressive the way they carried themselves across the stage. As each one came up I was convinced a trip was on the cards, but it didn’t happen. It was plain sailing all the way.
The internet offers a whole host of tips when it comes to dressing for graduation and a lot them focus on shoes. Teen Vogue: pictures 13 heels it states you can “actually walk” in. Looking at them I would say that’s a matter of opinion. Pin Interest: has several boards dedicated to these skyscrapers of the feet and, in an article illustrated with an image made up of gown, mortar board and teeth, David Ellis in The Telegraph suggests that wearing new shoes to the ceremony could indicate you’re not as bright as your degree makes out. From my point of view, If you can hit the ground running in gravity-defying heels, traverse the stage with your head held high, shake the Chancellor’s hand and manage the steps the other side, yours is world, my friend and everything in it.
GSM London students owned the stage at Graduation, making it their own when it came to footwear. For me the star of the show were these purple and silver beauties. The student wearer was impressive gliding across the stage, offering her fans a rather queenly wave.
Following hot on her heels were these strappy little numbers that reminded me of ‘101 Dalmations’. Cruella De Ville would have been proud. Their owner told me that she bought them then she built a whole wardrobe of clothes and accessories around them. I shared with her the fact that I did the same with a pair of earrings.
These stunning peep-toes in silver, showed off elegantly painted nails and two very cute bows at the ankle finished off the look nicely. They certainly came a close third in my Graduation Shoe Stakes. The soon-to-be-graduate was completely bemused by being asked to show them off.
This GSM London student wanted something to match her jumpsuit and she felt these were the perfect pair. Questioned as to whether she had any concerns about getting across the stage safely, she crossed her fingers and smiled.
Last, but by no means least, a pair of incredibly pink peep-toe stilettos. There is pink, then pink, then there are these. Their owner, a Human Resources Management student, was also up for a special award and thrilled that her shoes had been noticed.
I think back to my graduation and remember a rather sober affair with sensible shoes and dress. The one flamboyant act was the graduate who sported shocking pink hair and received a spontaneous round of applause for her daring. Now, it would be seen as just par for the course.