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Vintage Shoes: Collecting and Wearing Twentieth-Century Designer Footwear

Overview

Vintage Shoes: Collecting and Wearing Twentieth-Century Designer Footwear is the ultimate guide to the most exemplary women's shoes from the turn of the twentieth century through the present day. Accompanied by detailed text, this beautiful book offers breathtaking images, stunning fashion photography, and exquisite period footwear designs from the most collectable and fabulous designers.

Each chapter focuses on a specific decade and is a rich survey of each era, revealing how ...

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Overview

Vintage Shoes: Collecting and Wearing Twentieth-Century Designer Footwear is the ultimate guide to the most exemplary women's shoes from the turn of the twentieth century through the present day. Accompanied by detailed text, this beautiful book offers breathtaking images, stunning fashion photography, and exquisite period footwear designs from the most collectable and fabulous designers.

Each chapter focuses on a specific decade and is a rich survey of each era, revealing how footwear has been influenced by fashion, society, and world events. The most important designers and signature looks are examined in great detail and are accompanied by myriad examples of each type of shoe style. Finally, each chapter ends with a Key Looks feature showcasing all the important shapes, materials, and iconic designs that defined the era.

Vintage Shoes concludes with a shopping and collecting guide, offering advice on sourcing and caring for vintage shoes, along with a glossary of the most influential shoemakers of the last century. This book is an invaluable resource for lovers of fashion and shoes, as well as a visual delight revealing exquisite and groundbreaking work from the most talented and innovative designers of the twentieth century.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061665769
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Caroline Cox, professor of cultural history at the University of the Arts London, is a leading fashion authority whose work explores the relationship between fashion, beauty, and culture. A lecturer and broadcaster, she is also a cultural trends advisor at Vidal Sassoon. Her previous books include Stiletto, Seduction, and The Handbag.

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Read an Excerpt


Vintage Shoes

Collecting and Wearing Twentieth-Century Designer Footwear


By Caroline Cox
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Caroline Cox
All right reserved.



ISBN: 9780061665769


Chapter One

1900-1919

Edwardian Elegance

The Edwardian era was a time of great social change, a period of history in which the conservative values of the Victorian era were being overturned by women who wanted shared ownership of the world. In London and New York, suffragettes were demonstrating for equal rights with men, storming the bastions of patriarchy and vociferously raising questions about the domestic servility of womankind. In the intellectual circles of Vienna, Sigmund Freud was analyzing the relationship between human sexuality and repression, and in Paris, Paul Poiret revolutionized the elite world of haute couture.

For Poiret, mainstream Edwardian fashion made "overdecorated bundles" of women, so tightly swaddled were they in the frills, furbelows and frou-frou of such an extravagantly decorated look. Couturiers such as Callot-Soeurs, Doucet and Paquin in Paris were tightly corseting women into hourglass shapes with heavy full-length skirts and high-collared boned blouses that made physical activity difficult, and the feminine ideal called for enormous hair-dos padded out for bulk and requiring the ministrations of a maid throughout the day.

In Poiret's theatrical designs, staid Edwardian matrons were radically transformedinto sensual, exotic beings, fleshy odalisques awaiting the attentions of their amour in an overheated Turkish harem or a deeply decadent opium den. His cavalcade of feminine types included Neoclassical nymphs in Empire-line tunics, Oriental femmes fatales in fiery orange and shimmering silver kimono gowns, and bewitching vamps in Indian turbans inspired by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, which was scandalizing Paris in 1908. Poiret's gowns were shocking; they appeared to have no formal structure, no rigorously laced corsets underneath keeping warm flesh at bay—sensuality was now in vogue. His skirt shapes were also significantly straighter and shorter than ever before, perfect for showing off a shapely ankle rather than just the shy peep of a modest Victorian toe. Shoes came to the forefront of fashion like never before.

The New Woman

As the Edwardian foot became more visible, so tiny feet continued to be prized as erotic symbols of femininity. Many cultures love the small-footed woman; the bound foot of pre-modern China is the most extreme example of this cultural attitude—an attitude that suggests that men's feet are for walking and women's for attracting men. In the nineteenth century, such foot worship was openly displayed in the fashion for Viennese staggerers, boudoir shoes of such extravagant height and tiny length that they blatantly revealed their function was as a fetish object rather than a practicality.

Small feet were also considered a sign of good breeding and gentility, symptomatic of a woman who labored little and had someone willing to provide for her. Tiny feet were such visible signs of wealth and social status that many women were prepared to suffer in shoes two sizes too small to achieve the right effect. The subsequent pinching created a pain so excruciating that it discouraged walking and perpetuated a degree of domestic dependence.

Change was afoot, though—most notably seen in women's increased appearance on the city streets, whether shopping in the new cathedrals of consumption—the department stores—attending a matinee at the theater or undertaking philanthropic works among the city's poor. This new social mobility began to be reflected in the design of shoes, with the dainty thin-soled slippers of the Victorian era, which suggested a woman's place was in the home as a demure and decorative object, beginning to be replaced by a sturdier type of day shoe that copied design detail from men's footwear styles such as the Oxford.

Edwardian street shoes for women came in black or tan and had narrow toes, which became broader as the century progressed, arched insteps, Louis heels and leather soles. High-heeled buttoned or laced ankle boots with pliable "flexura" soles were an everyday fashion staple worn with the new tailor-mades or two-piece suits. This practical look was associated with the "New Woman," a career-driven creature who rejected the trivial decoration and discomfort of early Edwardian dress, a look that was becoming increasingly anachronistic in the brave new world of the twentieth century.



Continues...


Excerpted from Vintage Shoes by Caroline Cox Copyright © 2008 by Caroline Cox. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Louboutin Lovers Unite!

    If you have more than one pair of shoes in your closet you will LOVE this book! Photo after photo of gorgeous shoes. Feed your footwear addiction - buy this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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