Archive for the ‘Shoe History Corner’ Category
posted by: HerberWellss in Shoe History Corner
Justin Bieber performed on NBC’s “Today” at Rockefeller Center Monday. He is a cute young Canadian boy with lots of cute young girls cheering for him.
He is wearing Vans sk8 mid top. About $50 from Vans.com.
In 1966′s a group of men started manufacturing athletic shoes in southern California then sold them directly to the consumers. Vans offered three styles, priced from $2.49 to $4.99, but on the day the first store opened for business, the company only made display models. The store racks were filled with empty boxes. Nevertheless, 12 customers came into the store and chose the colors and styles they wanted. The customers were asked to come back in the afternoon, while James Van Doren and Gordy Lee rushed to the factory to make their shoes.
When the customers returned to pick up the shoes, Van Doren and Lee realized that they had no money available to make change. The customers were given the shoes and asked to return the next day to pay for them. All 12 customers did. In 1982 a movie titled Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) wearing a pair. It made a star of both the shoes and Sean Penn. If you were a teenager in the late 1980′s you probably had a pair. They are still a favorite shoe of teens and tweens.
Today you can go Vans.com online to customize your shoes by choosing the style, the pattern and color of ten parts of the shoe. The cost is $60 to $70. They are a great shoe.
Christian Louboutin has been busy branching out lately. We’ve already seen his collection of handbags with red sole clasps and now Louboutin is dabbling in the champagne business. In October, Christian Louboutin will launched his own champagne with champagne house Piper Heidsieck. The limited edition “Le Rituel” box set is meant to revive an old ritual in the 1880s of drinking from the shoe of a woman. The crystal stiletto designed by Christian Louboutin will carry the signature red sole and is included in this limited edition gift box set.
No word on pricing, but it will be sold through Colette.
Update: This will be available in the US starting October 19th. Details on how to purchase this Louboutin collectible will be available on the www.le-rituel.com website.
I was raised in a household where everyone took off their shoes upon entering the home. As a kid, sometimes I resented the practice. Primarily, it was often a hassle plus most of my friends didn’t have this requirement in their homes. Nowadays though, I see the value removing shoes. The reasons are quite similiar to why they did it in the old days.
1) Shoes are removed to keep dirt out -- no one wants muddy shoe prints on their freshly cleaned floors, especially if you have guests sitting on the floor (which lasted about 6 months after we bought out condo and had no furniture).
2) Giving feet proper air circulation. Okay, sometimes I’m lazy. I confess that I might skip wearing socks if I know that I’m only going out on a quick errand. But I have sweaty feet and taking off my shoes when I get home ensures I dry out my feet and don’t get athlete’s foot. In more humid climates like Taiwan or Japan, I can totally see where this would be an issue.
3) Removing shoes are relaxing. The act of casting off my shoes when I arrive home is my way of saying that I’ve entered my comfortable, stress-free sanctuary, free of the constraints of the outside world.
I realize that not everyone feels this way, especially after watching the Sex and the City Season 6, Episode 9 entitled ‘A Woman’s Right to Shoes’ :
or maybe someone has holes in their socks they wish to hide. Even though it is my home, I know I feel a twinge of guilt and awkwardness when I force my guests to remove their shoes.
So here’s what I do. I always keep a few spare guest sandals handy. When my guests arrive, I give them the option to go barefoot or ask if they are interested in wearing indoor slippers instead. I know it isn’t much, but I want my floors clean and keeping outdoor shoes on is not an option. I’ve found that it helps when the slippers are cute or uber comfy. For example, the lovely folks at Dearfoams sent me these two slippers.
The top Dearfoams pair were too small for me but they were a hit with my girlfriend -- she loved the cute flower and the bright colors. My girlfriend happens to fall into the ‘take off the shoes at home’ category so she was an easy sell though. The bottom Dearfoams sole was so comfy, that I ended up wearing them myself. I’m not sure how fellow pregnant women can walk barefoot, but I need a little cushioning and support with all the extra weight I’m carrying. This pillowtop, memory sandal was simply a godsend for my aching feet.
Anyways, I digress. To give my guests slipper options, I purchased 2 additional Dearfoams on my own -- a light blue thong Dearfoam sandal and a fuzzy Dearfoam slipon -- plus a pair of manly slippers from Brookstones. Here’s a fun picture that I took of the Dearfoams in the shape of a flower. Some of my guests have said they like the sandals and would be purchasing a pair to wear around their house. I guess they like the memory foam on the Dearfoams as much as I do!
But what about you? Would you make your guests take off their shoes?
posted by: Shomore in Shoe History Corner
In tribute to the late Michael Jackson, I figured a shoe history corner post would be appropriate because Jackson’s work was so legendary and really defined my generation’s music.
I remember growing up to Michael Jackson’s songs in the 80s. In fact, he was so popular that my grandmother, who lived with us at the time and didn’t speak much english, could even say “Billy Jean” and “Beat It”. One of my favorite MTV videos came from the hit “Smooth Criminal”. I remember thinking how cool Michael Jackson was when he defied gravity with his dancers in the 45 degree lean. Here’s a snapshot of this move and the music video.
How did Jackson achieve the lean? He patented special shoes which gave him the appearance of defying the normal laws of physics:
A system for allowing a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes which will engage with a hitch member movably projectable through a stage surface. The shoes have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged with the hitch member by simply sliding the shoe wearer’s foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member.
Michael Jackson was an artist, singer, writer, dancer, and a few other things. But I never realized he was also a shoe inventor!
Source: Google Patents
Update: Here’s a live video of “Smooth Criminal”. You can see that the dancer on the right had a little trouble detaching the shoe from the hitch at the 3:53 mark.
My father just told me over lunch today that when he recently went back to research stories about his mother’s life in Korea, a former neighbor of hers told him that my grandmother was very fashionable and one of the first women in the neighborhood to wear high heels. I wish we had photos! So that explains my addiction to heels! It runs in the family and so I can attribute my psychological weakness to shoe-inclined genes (or so I’ll tell my future mate when the credit card bills roll around…)
Thinking about Korean shoes made me want to write about them. Here are some traditional Korean shoes, now mostly used for ceremonies. Arirang, a Korean TV website, says that the shoes, also known as “Hwahye,” or “flower shoes,” were worn mostly for special occasions. “By just taking a glance at the traditional Korean shoes worn by people in the Joseon Era, you were able to tell the age, social class, and gender of the people who wore them.” The world isn’t much different now, is it?
They are generally silk with embroidery:
Aren’t they pretty? I had some as a child to wear with my traditional Korean dresses, which looked basically like this but were pink:
This is what the queen wore in the Joseon Dynasty, which I think is quite lovely, even the very obvious braided wigs they wore (sadly, shoes are not visible):
(Via Wikimedia Commons)
I was amused to find this post by a Canadian living in Korea where she remarks on how Korean women wear great shoes (true) and how she thinks it’s funny that Koreans remove their shoes to enter a home (makes perfect sense to me). It’s been natural to me my whole life to remove my shoes upon entering a home, but I remember being shocked as a child to gradually discover that most Americans wear their outside shoes inside the home as well. What about tracking mud and dirt and outside germs in?
Koreans seem to switch between different functionality modes, and shoes follow suit. My parents seem to get visibly upset if I wear my “outside” clothes inside the house for longer than two seconds. Why don’t you change into your comfortable indoor clothes, they will urge me. There are fancy clothes and work clothes and home clothes, they’re not the same, and that’s that.
The whole inside-outside dilemma made me think of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie is superreluctant when asked to take off her Manolos at a friend’s party and then they get stolen. Shoes are so much a color- and style-coordinated part of our outfits in the West, but it’s true that in Korea it’s ill-mannered if you don’t take your shoes off when you enter the home. There are even various shoes provided by the house for you to wear instead.
Here are one type of wherever-it-may-be-wet rubber slippers you’d be offered in many Asian countries for bathroom areas (if you go to a Korean spa in America like Flushing, Queens’ SpaCastle, you’ll get these to wear) or for the courtyard or backyard of a housing complex (though I wouldn’t wear the same pair in the bathroom and outside, I guess it depends on the house):
Here are the kinds of fabric slippers you would wear indoors in non-bathroom areas (i.e. for the living room, at a hotel, in the karaoke room, etc.; even if you are a man, you may end up wearing something frou-frou with little pink bunnies on them, so be ready for that):
When they ARE wearing shoes, Korean ladies tend toward either tomboyish, preppy, hip-hop, sophisticated or ULTRA girly. There isn’t as much of a hipster, crazy, experimental style (in my opinion, Japan would be the place to find more of that). From what I hear, the hipster boot has caught on a bit but was much slower to come around.
Below are some examples of the seemingly everlasting feminine Korean styles, most of which seem to follow the narrow shapes of Choos and Blahniks (and I didn’t see nearly as many platforms). When I was in Korea, it was not uncommon to wear frilly, rhinestoney, bow-adorned shoes with a large, rhinestone, blingy bow barette in your hair, and I even saw one gal wearing a pink anti-pollution mask over her mouth and nose to match her entirely pink head-to-toe ensemble — so my rockergirl styles stood out just a wee teensy bit. From what I have seen in friends’ Chinese women’s magazines, ultra-femmey shoes are also consistently popular in China, but in different colors, including bolder reds.
If you don’t believe me that they really wear sparkly, girly shoes like these, check out this alarming photo of a shoe store in the popular Seoul shopping district of Myeong-Dong and you’ll understand why a tough, punky, experimental shoeista like yours truly would have a hard time finding shoes I liked in Seoul!