Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More

Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More

by Linda O'Keeffe
     
 

The Marabou Mule. The Chanel toe. Jackie O's pump. Marilyn's stiletto. And lotus shoes and fetish shoes, shoes made for coronations and inaugurations, Cinderella's slipper, shoes of tulle, brocade, rhinestone, python, fish scales, and feathers, and much, much, more, including the two-foot-high wooden chopines of the 16th century and their resurgence as the platform

Overview

The Marabou Mule. The Chanel toe. Jackie O's pump. Marilyn's stiletto. And lotus shoes and fetish shoes, shoes made for coronations and inaugurations, Cinderella's slipper, shoes of tulle, brocade, rhinestone, python, fish scales, and feathers, and much, much, more, including the two-foot-high wooden chopines of the 16th century and their resurgence as the platform shoes of the 1960s and 1970s.

Shoes, now with over 357,000 copies in print, is an obsessive, over-the-top extravaganza-chunky, full-color, and irresistible, it contains page after page of seductive photographs and information about women's shoes.

Created for the woman who's a passionate shoe lover-and what woman isn't?—Shoes features over 1,000 glorious photographs, most of them taken for the book. Includes Footnotes (fascinating facts about shoes); Foot Soldiers (profiles of master shoemakers from David Little to Andrea Pfister); and The Shoe that Left an Imprint, focusing on one shoe that changed history-remember Courrage's futuristic go-go boot? Shoes is, as they say, to die for.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YABette Midler once said, "Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world." This book looks at what the "correct" footwear was, is, and has been. The chapters are divided into different types of shoes, e.g., sandals, pumps, boots, etc., and detail the careers of famous shoe designers. Full-color pictures showcase shoes from antiquity to the present day throughout the world. Quotes about shoes from celebrities, ordinary people, designers, and historical figures pepper the text. The book is full of quips, historical oddities, and facts that will inform and amuse researchers and browsers alike.Debbie Hyman, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761101147
Publisher:
Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/1996
Pages:
506
Sales rank:
610,651
Product dimensions:
4.06(w) x 6.06(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt

(From the Introduction) Shoes are a force for change, a means of shedding the past and buying into the future. For much of history women's shoes were kept in the dark, concealed beneath a froth of petticoats or a ballooning crinoline. But while they were one of the most closeted parts of a woman's attire, ironically they were and are one of the most revealing. Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but shoes are the gateway to the psyche.

Psychologists have vigorously explored the hidden meaning of shoes from phallic symbols to secret vessels. Some say that the woman who collects shoes is a frustrated traveler; others suggest she is symbolically searching for enlightenment. A pair of new shoes "might not cure a broken heart or soothe a tension headache," writes fashion critic Holly Brubach, "but they will relieve the symptoms and chase away the blues." Even the least vain among us has been known to blow an entire week's salary on an irresistible new pair.

In fact, the average American woman owns at least 30 pairs of shoes; the passionate collector owns in the hundreds. A woman with a standing order for each new variation of her favorite shoe style is simply putting into practice what every footwear fancier knows-when you find a shoe you love, buy it in every color. For if your body lets you down, your feet will still lift your spirits. "Feet don't gain or lose weight," observed Sara Vass, a collector who lives with more than 500 pairs of shoes. "You might not be able to wear your favorite pair of pants if you gain a few pounds, but you can always wear your favorite pairs of shoes." However, the charismatic qualities of shoes have more to do with possession than with use. It's the reason women continue buying shoes even though they wear only a few of the many they own. It's why an adored shoe is rarely discarded, even if it is unwearable.

The indefinable allure of a new shoe unlocks rich private fantasies. We fall for a fabulous shoe at first glance, seduced by the tilt of a heel of the sensuous line of an arch. The whimsy of a flirtatious bow, the nearly edible appeal of a decorative frosting of beads or swirls of embroidery all add up to fatal attraction. The impulse to buy has nothing to do with need-it's the thrill of slipping into a new shoe and a new persona that piques desire. There may be reassurance in an old shoe, but no enchantment. Tedium comes with familiarity, and once a shoe is worn and comfortable, it loses its talismanic quality.

When it comes to shoes, practicality and comfort are beside the point. It may be one reason that 88 percent of all women buy shoes that are one size too small for them. Shoes can be witty or drop-dead gorgeous, but not very comfortable. All too often they don't fit like a glove or conform to the foot's natural contours. But that really doesn't matter, admits clothing designer Diane von Furstenberg. "You look down at your feet and wink at yourself."

And so, at the junction of fantasy and reality, women unhesitatingly choose frivolity over fit. While the idea of comfort is appealing-no one actually wants aching feet-in her heart a woman craves a sexy mule. Sensible shoes command respect, but high heels solicit adoration. A Birkenstock may offer deliverance, but a Blahnik promises adventure.

Excerpted from Shoes: A Celebration of Pump, Sandals, Slippers & More. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.

Meet the Author

Linda O'Keeffe is a journalist and fashion expert who has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar, GQ, Details, The New York Times Magazine, Interview, ELLE, Decor, and numerous other national publications. She is currently Senior Editor of Design and Architecture at Metropolitan Home Magazine. She lives with an eclectic collection of shoes in New York City.

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