Archive for the ‘Shoes at the Museum’ Category
This week, Friday Shoe History Corner is brought to you by the camera of Hester Vlamings, a Dutch shoe designer who nipped off to Paris for the weekend and took some snaps of the footwear in several galleries of the Louvre.
When she sent the photos our way, I took a trip through Atlas (the searchable online database of the Louvre’s holdings) and identified most of the paintings where Hester’s shoes are to be found. The fruits of my art historical footwear research are here for you all to take in some artistic shoe history. Do click the links, because a lot these shoes and sandals show excellent details when you see the larger image.
Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804 by Jacques-Louis David (1808)
The Intervention of the Sabine Women by Jacques-Louis David (1799)
The rest after the cut.
I had high hopes for the Met’s current Costume Institute show, blog.mode. I always have high hopes for Costume Institute shows. They’ve got such a great collection, and sometimes they group things in very interesting ways. However, this show, which I thought was going to be about how blog culture and technology have influenced/are influenced by fashion, turned out to be a disappointment. It didn’t have anything to hold it together. It was merely a random assortment of the Costume Institute’s collection, and it was accompanied by the standard overly wordy and pretentious wall text labels.
Even the shoes they had on display weren’t all that special for the most part. There were a few noteworthy footwear items, though, and those I’ll certainly share with you all.
These European court shoes from the mid 18th century were beautiful, and in very good shape. The embroidery was gorgeous.
These Victorian era fetish boots were my favorite shoe in the show.
The label made a snide comment about how these were included even though they don’t really belong in a fashion collection, which I think is complete crap, because look at these boots and tell me future fashions didn’t stem from this look. High spike heels? Thigh high boots? Buttons running all the way up? Since when does the fashion world not look to sub/counter culture for inspiration? In fact, there were a number of Vivienne Westwood pieces included in the show, including these pink platforms.
These (along with much of Westwood’s other design work) owe a cheeky debt to the underworld of prostitution and club-going. If I had my druthers, I’d take those Victorian boots, but the relationship is pretty clear.
And the final word in fetishizing women’s footwear (and thereby women’s feet and women themselves) in this show is this Manolo Blahnik Bhutan heel-less shoe from spring/summer 2006.
I know shoes weren’t the sole focus (pun intended… heh) of this show, but the conclusions drawn about the shoes that were on display seemed very scattered and contradictory, much like the show overall.
Thankfully, part of this show is a blog where anyone is invited to chime in with their own thoughts about the show and about specific items in it. I went to town on the pretentiousness of the presentation, and felt quite vindicated upon leaving the museum.
In conclusion: If you’re looking for a good museum exhibition involving shoes and you’re near the Northeast, check out the Boston MFA’s Walk this Way show, and skip the Met’s blog.mode.
Happy almost New Year, shoe lovers. I look forward to seeing what footwear everyone chooses posted over on the forums. There’s no better excuse all year for glitzy fun party shoes.In the meanwhile, I bring you my review of the Boston MFA’s exhibition of shoes, Walk This Way. We’ve mentioned this one in passing before, but I managed to go and see it with my own eyes last week. The show is still up until March 23, 2008, and I’d highly recommend catching it before it disappears. It’s made up of 28 pairs of shoes, mostly from the MFA’s collection.The genius of this show is that it’s not all up in one place. The shoes are scattered throughout the entire museum and all placed in context with the art around them. So, for example, these jeweled pointe shoes are installed next to Edgar Degas’ Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer.
I think this is a great way to set up the show. Most of the shoes fit in perfectly with their chosen sites, and they certainly added a new level of interest to the various museum pieces paired with them. On top of that, the shoes really are scattered through the entire museum, so you get a chance to see a bit of everything in in the MFA collections if you hunt down all the shoes on the map provided.It’s like a little treasure hunt around the galleries, with shoes and art as a fun joint prize to be found.I was limited to camera phone pics, and not all of them came out well, but a selection from my visit is below the jump. (more…)