Shoes, Glorious Shoes
For whom do you think the 19th Century shoes below were crafted?
a. an assassin
b. a chesnut crusher
c. a dominatrix
d. a palace lawn aerator
These horror film shoes are on display at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. That’s right: an entire museum filled with shoes. Couture shoes, rock and roll shoes, ancestral shoes, fearsome fad shoes.
Founded by Sonja Bata, the museum owns more than 13,000 pairs of shoes, displaying ~ 1,000 pairs in a five story building designed by Moriyama and Teshima Architects. If you’ve got even the slightest bit of a shoe thing, this is a must-visit.
Floor to floor installation by Jim Hake
Coptic mules from Ancient Egypt. 300-500 C.E.
Upper-class paduka from Jaipur, likely worn to a wedding.
India. 18th Century.
Narrow red silk boots from Zhejiang, China.
Early 20th Century
Nalins – Turkish bathhouse sandals
Ottoman Turkish. 19th Century
Baroque and Rococo
English. 18th Century
The red velvet shoes of Pope Benedict XV
Pope from 1914-1922
Fancy 1930’s boots
Bolivian Carnival Dancing Boots
The Curious History of Men in Heels
Mid 17th C. English or French for a well-to-do boy
Elton John. 7.5 inches. 1970’s
Kinky Boots. 2013. Broadway
Traditional Arctic Footwear
Siberian Yup’ik crampons
Beaded reindeer skin boots
Made by Demyanskaya Ekaterina Geracetovna. 1960s
Made by Baffinland Inuit Ida Karpik. 1987
The Pleasures And Perils of Dress in the 19th Century
The ‘Mauve Measles’
William Henry Perkins, a British chemist, was looking to cure malaria. In the process, he created Perkins purple, the first synthetic dye. ‘Perkins Purple’ became ‘mauve’ and soon it was everywhere.
Boudoir Slippers. 18th Century
Said the Dictionary of Victorian Slang: ‘There are many terrible tints even now to be found among the leaders of fashion – agonies in red, livid horrors in green, ghastly lilacs and monstrous mauves.’
When 1860’s women started donning dyed-to-match gloves, socks and shirts, some wound up in the hospital with chemical burns. By the 1870’s, these ‘Totty all colours’ were considered passé, an abomination. How do we feel about these ‘terrible tints’ in 2017?
Written by Elizabeth Newton
* It’s b. The spiny-tined shoes are Chesnut Crushing Clogs used in 18th Century France for shelling chestnuts.