For A Little More Footwear…

In the world of late 19th and early 20th Century fashion, shoes have been a recent topic of discussion. Yesterday, while touring the FIDM Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, we came across two pairs of boots that were on display in the Museum’s permanent collection. The first pair are from 1903:


Here’s a close-up of the shoe:

Boots c. 1903

The toes on these boots are constructed of gold- colored leather while the uppers are of a blue suede with inset gold gilt leather strips that create a floral pattern. Finally, the laces are of a matching blue ribbon. Although we were unable to get a good look at the heel, it appears that it was between 2 and 3 inches.

The second pair are circa 1910:

Boots c. 1910

Boots c. 1910

Boots c. 1910

Although this pair of boots were made seven years later, they are almost identical to the first pair in terms of style although this time, the uppers are of black suede. Also, it must be noted that the first pair were made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while the second pair were made in Marienbad, Austro-Hungary (today the Czech Republic). The condition of both pair of boots is simply amazing and most likely these were never worn (or perhaps once or twice) and it also underscores how fashions were becoming increasingly international. Stay tuned for more posts on footwear. 🙂

Footwear: 1880s Style…

In our various discussions of period clothing, footwear has been somewhat neglected topic. With dresses coming down to the lower ankle (if not further), it’s easy to overlook footwear- after all,  they’re covered- out of sight, out of mind. 😉 However, when one does take a look at period women’s footwear, one can’t help be taken in by some of the amazing styles. During the 1880s, boots were an especially popular form of footwear and could take some very elaborate forms:

Woman's Embroidered Boots c. 1885

François Pinet, Women’s Embroidered Boots, c. 1885; Los Angeles County Museum of Art ( M.58.4a-b)

Embroidered silk was one common style…

Footwear Boots c. 1890s

Women’s Boots; Bata Shoe Museum

Contrasting materials and colors was another popular style; in this case it’s gold-colored leather combined with an embroidered silk velvet.

Footwear Boots c. 1889

Women’s Boots, c. 1889; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (37.42.1a-b)

And here we see silk damask…

The above selection is only a small selection of the footwear styles that were out there during the 1880s (and the late 19th Century in general)- the variety is simply amazing. What’s even more amazing is that given the nature of women’s clothing styles, most of the details on these boots would never be viewable to the casual observer. Clearly a very private form of aesthetics was at play here… 🙂 Stay tuned for more!