"For me, beauty has always been a religion. Plato said beauty is God made real," said the former Philippine first lady, wearing a green chiffon pantsuit and matching lime sandals. "I'm a magpie for beauty. But what God doesn't give, you have to make yourself."
The 77-year-old widow of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos is still viewed as an icon of class and grace as well as a mindless shoe maven who amassed thousands of pairs of pumps and stilettos while her nation languished in poverty.
But there's a lesser-known side of the flamboyant fashion-plate: An haute-couture scavenger who spent nights fashioning outfits with a glue gun and scissors, even stripping the copper wire from telephone lines to get just the right look.
The Marcoses are now poised to capitalize on that fashion-meets-function image. Next month, Imelda's daughter Imee Marcos and Imee's two sons will introduce the Imelda Collection: a funky, streetwise line of jewelry, clothing and shoes. They hope the fashion line will attract a younger generation not yet born when Imelda Marcos trod the world stage.
The vintage line features pink sneakers with diamond-tipped shoelaces, monster-sized brooches, diamond- and pearl-studded earrings, dog-collar chokers and regal Cleopatra bracelets.
Imee describes the fashion accessories, which will sell for $30 and up, as "a bit retro, a bit over the top, sort of Madonna meets Elizabeth Taylor."
Many of the fashion pieces are right off Imelda's shelves. Others are limited-edition copies that the billionaire heiress will help redesign and colorize, along with her two fashion-model grandsons.
What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!