Archive for the ‘Shoe History Corner’ Category
This year marks the twentieth anniversary that Christian Louboutin has been painting our soles in red. So, isn’t it fitting that we do a Louboutin post? Today’s shoe of the day is Christian Louboutin’s “Pensée”. This 60s inspired pop art flower has the unique distinction of being the first to feature the the red sole that has countless admirers worldwide.
To celebrate Louboutin’s 20th anniversary, a special collection is being released that consists of recreated versions of the brand’s top styles and personal favorites. The collection is limited to approximately 25 department stores and boutiques in the United States. If you are interested in learning more about the collection, please contact our SA Greg Grady at Nordstrom. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-478-3552.
Robert Clergerie turns 76 today. Born in Paris in 1934, he started as a manager in the Charles Jourdan factory in the 1970s, then worked his way up to designer. His first women’s line debuted in 1981 with a pair of menswear oxfords. He later designed pumps with parallelogram heels that were copied enough that the shape was referred to as the Clergerie heel. He then introduced a steel high heel which is thought to be the pioneer of the spike heel. The factory is still in France and Mr. Clergerie is still in France.
Until working on this post, I had never really paid attention to Clergerie shoes. Now, I am quite intrigued with them. (more…)
posted by: Shomore in Shoe History Corner
Shoe and lifestyle brand Johnston & Murphy (J&M) has the unique distinction of designing shoes for every president since 1850. On ShoesofthePresidents.com, J&M has documented this rich tradition with fascinating presidential footwear factoids including:
- Abraham Lincoln had the largest foot of any US president. He wore a size 14 shoe.
- Bill Clinton came a close second – he had size 13D shoes. When he won the election, J&M crafted him a pair of blue suede shoes in recognition of his love of playing the sax.
- Rutherfod B. Hayes wore a size 7 shoe, which happens to be the smallest foot of any president.
- Herbert Hoover had the narrowest shoes – a size 11.5AA.
- For sitting President Barack Obama, J&M created a pair of oxfords and boots in size 12. The oxfords were presented to Barack in a shoe box made of koa wood from his home state of Hawaii while the boots were inspired by the shoes that J&M created for Lincoln, Obama’s hero.
Wonder what would happen if America ever elected a female president? I was happy to discover that J&M had the foresight to introduce a female line of shoes and accessories (more in subsequent posts). So it sounds like J&M is well equipped to carry on their tradition of shodding presidents in all shapes, sizes, and genders.
Ask many fashionable women these days to name an iconic shoe or shoe designer, and you will likely receive an answer of ‘Christian Louboutin’, ‘Manolo Blahnik’, ‘Miu Miu’ or other high-end designer likely to be featured on red carpets and Fashion Week.
But, how’s this for an Icon:
This image: Simple. Bold. Instantly recognizable.
Vans became part of the national consciousness and roared into pop-culture in one fell swoop more than 20 years ago.
A generation of kids spent math class inking checks onto their own white vans or local drugstore look-a-likes.
Vans – a brand that has stood the test of time and can honestly be called a classic.
Think Vans are just about shoes? Think again.
We’ve given a brief overview of Vans History before now.
But, if you drop by their website, you will notice something. The Vans brand is not just about selling shoes. You could spend hours just cruising through their website. The Vans brand appears as almost its own stand-alone, surf/skate sub-culture (of which I am no expert, child of Northern California that I am) – encompassing an identity as more than a simple product but also as a vibrant lifestyle and community. From community forums, to art, to events, to shopping, you can find it at the Vans website.
This is such a great example of how a brand’s online presence can be about so much more than a web-based extension of their retail interests.
Oh, and for those of you who are intrigued by the custom-produced, small-business history of the Vans brand?
You might enjoy in this retrospective coffee-table book, ‘Vans, Off the Wall’ ($24.95@ Vans.com).
Vans: Off the Wall by Doug Palladini tells the story of the community of action sports legends, musicians, artists and trendsetters that helped to define laid back California style as we know it. This personal, insider account features oral histories from Vans originals including Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, John Cardiel, Shaun Palmer and Joel Tudor and stunning images from CR Stecyk, R. Grant Brittain, Art Brewer, Trevor Graves and many more renowned photographers. This first run, 2009 edition 9″ by 9 3/4″ hardcover bound book is 208 pages and includes 365 full color illustrations.
Oh, and as for how it all started – that whole customized shoes thing? Yeah, Vans still has you covered there, too.
In 2009, technology helped the designers create unusual, light weight shoes that supported two inch platforms, 6 inch heels, a hole through the heel, and elaborate shapes. The styles also prompted a cry from editors who said shoe heights were simply too extreme and called designers to lower their heels. We’ll see how that works out.
Ralph Lauren showed us something practical. Actually, we were already wearing what he featured. Wooden soled platforms. Still very nice.
Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein played with the heels. Dior did the same kind of thing the year before, but Calvin Klein went a bit further. I think we discussed this heel at length, maybe in the forum, ultimately deciding it was not a good looking shoe.
Alexander McQueen took the sandal/boot hybrid idea and presented a couple of designs that took me about a year to appreciate. (Remember they show their designs abour 6 months earlier than the actual season.) When I showed Mr. R5 my new sandals that are similar to the ones below, he asked if the maker died before he could finish.
McQueen also introduced his amber line. If my checking account allowed it, I would purchase these boots and wear them everyday. Well, maybe not everyday.
Lagerfield played with the heels in some of his shoes at Chanel. I don’t get it.
Prada featured some platforms that at first glance didn’t seem too high, but the models kept slipping and falling during their presentation. Most suspect it was the odd little black hospital bootie things that created the problem.
My favorite from this collection is below. When they went on sale at Saks I looked at them a long time. Too long, someone bought my size.
John Galliano played with shape and color for Dior’s Couture line and his own John Galliano collection. An editor (I can’t find the reference now.) said these shoes were an engineering wonder because the materials were strong enough to support the force of walking, yet still be light weight enough to walk in them.
Valentino also played with it’s heel embellishments. The designers are new so I have my Valentino crush back.
2009 was a tough year for fashion. 2009 was a tough year for virtually everyone. Christian Lacroix presented his last collection. Quite a few young shoe lines had to close their business. Let’s hope that the next decade improves for everyone.