Box-Seat

Shoes Shoes Shoes

Sigh. What is it about shoes?

Perhaps it’s the art of the midnight blue boot that beckons you with its silver studded heel. Or maybe it’s the buttery craftsmanship of the double-strap Mary Janes that cradle your feet as you lunge up the stairs. With shoes, you can go out on a fashion limb, tiptoe towards a new way of being. The right shoe can bring you courage – that’s the badass black equestrians, or spark a special evening – silver sparkly heels, send walking lessons stat.

For the truly shoe-mad, a visit to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is a must. Founded by Sonja Bata, the museum owns more than 13,000 pairs of shoes housed in a five story building designed by Moriyama and Teshima Architects.

For those who aren’t able to visit the museum in person, Bata has an extensive series of exhibits online. With soundtracks, itemized shoe photos, and descriptions, you’ll find both new offerings and recreations of some of their past exhibits. Right now, Bata online has new exhibits on Northern Athapaskan Footwear, ‘Our Boots. An Inuit Woman’s Art’, ‘Chronicles of Riches: Treasures of the Bata Shoe Museum’, and ‘The Perfect Pair. Wedding Traditions from Around the World.’

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Amongst the BSM exhibits online, you’ll find ‘What’s Their Line. Shoes That Work.’  This fascinating collection of working shoes includes The French Chestnut Crushing Clogs that so intrigued us during our 2017 visit to the Bata Shoe Museum.

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Alas, our last visit did not include glimpses of Cadaver Shoes, English Boy Scout Association Shoes with compasses built right into the heel, nor the most fabulous Dutch Roller Clogs.

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Bata Shoe Museum Virtual Exhibits

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The BSM’s YouTube channel includes The World At Your Feet videos which feature Creative Director + Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack standing in the museum’s incredible shoe storage space and introducing us to different artifacts. Here are some out of this world red offerings in Episode 2 – Stepping into Romance.

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And here is Semmelhack in May of 2020 unboxing one of the museum’s recent acquisitions – faint –  a pair of shoes from Alexander McQueen’s last collection, Angels and Demons.

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In this Christopher Moore photo, you’ll see the shoes in action on model Karlie Kloss at the 2010 Fall Ready To Wear show by Alexander McQueen.

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Sigh.

Written by Elizabeth Newton
www.creatorsvancouver.com

Header: Francois Boucher. Madame de Pompadour. 1756

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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton