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Posts Tagged ‘shoes’


Fed up of boring shoes?  Looking for the ideal 18th century footwear for a Lady of Fashion?  Want to bring a bit of elegance to 21st century footwear?

Now you can!  I am rather excited at the prospect of American Duchess’s Georgiana shoes – today pre-orders open for these pretties:

(And, no, it’s not an April Fool’s!)

They’re silk satin, which means they’re completely dyeable to whatever colour you fancy, and they look quite divine.  I am pining for a pair … let’s see if I can scrape some pennies together!

I don’t get to do reenactments or the like, but I would quite happily wear these for special occassions of the non-historical variety.  LOVE them!

 

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The Saturday Shoe, The Elder


I usually post and lust after pretty shoes of early modern history … but we have been wearing shoes for thousands of years.  As you can imagine, they looked rather different then:

Looking at shoes so often, I was curious about what the oldest shoes found were.

For one thing, they’re far older than I expected – these were carbon-dated to around 7,300BCE.  The Great Pyramids of Giza weren’t even a twinkle in a culture’s eye.

I’m not entirely sure they’d be comfortable, but I suppose woven bark is slightly more comfortable than bare feet!  Or some heels, for that matter!

If you’d like to know more about them, read this research from the University of Oregon.

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Here you are, dear reader, he promised pictures of yesterday’s pretties (or, to thieve The Dreamstress’s phrase, Pogey Bait!).  We set off early on the bus to get to Heanor and hit the Antiques Centre and plenty of charity shops.

First off, some true sewing pogey bait – a few bags of mixed buttons:

Vintage (and not so vintage) buttons – black and silver-coloured.  (50p for the bag!)

Brassy buttons.  (30p)

I love these blue stripey ones – very sailor chic!  (Also 50p)

These are for Top Secret Plan Number One – more information on this soon.

I also found a pretty little linen table mat to place under our key bowl to protect the antique mahogany chest of drawers my Mum’s giving me (pictures of that when it arrives!):

With pretty corners:

As I live with two boys (The Boy and the Flat-Mate-boy), I didn’t want to push it by getting anything flowery or too doily-esque, so I thought this was a good plain one.  (And, yes, it needs an iron!)

And some more sewing pogey bait:

A bag with all these for £3 – bargain!  I do love a good bargain.  And all the pretty colours!

And I bought a couple of things for Top Secret Plan Number Two – the selling of pretty vintage things on Ebay:

I have a bit of a thing for pretty brooches, so when I see nice ones, I want them!  But, a girl can only wear so many brooches at once and I can’t really justify having a million of them (unfortunately) and I could do with making a little extra cash.  Soooo, I am going to try my hand at Ebaying – we shall see what happens.  I figure I get to go bargain-hunting and enjoy buying pretty things, but don’t have to live with the guilt of spending the money!

I particularly love the first brooch and was quite tempted to keep it – I love how it’s a bow and arrow as well as a bow (of the tied type), rather fun – but I must be strong!  Plus, I’d rather sell something I love and feel that I’m passing on something gorgeous for someone else to enjoy.  It did give me a rather nice surprise when I looked at the back more carefully – it’s by Kigu, a company well-known for their gorgeous compacts.  To make sure I don’t try to keep it, I have already listed the first one (my first Ebay listing!), plus I think it’d make a great little Valentine’s present – Cupid’s bow and arrow!  If anyone has any tips (on Ebay selling, vintage costume jewellery or anything like that), I’d be more than glad to hear it!

I did get to buy one thing for myself that wasn’t second hand or vintage, but was a sale bargain:

They also double up as my (late) Saturday Shoe offering.  I do love leather brogues – they’re so, so comfortable.

So, I got to have a fun day and start my attempt at being a business-woman – wish me luck!  It’ll be nice if I can make a little money outside of an office and on my terms.  Let’s see how it goes …

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The Saturday shoe returns with a little homage to Vivienne Westwood and her crazy-awesome shoe designs.  And me being me, there’ll be little references to her historical influences.

First, some lovely buckles from Ms Westwood:Are they shoes?  Are they boots?  Who knows!

OK, so these are rather too extreme for everyday wear and they don’t really workk with my personal style, but aren’t they amazing objects?  And, of course,it doesn’t take any great stretch of the imagination to see the 18th Century influence here:

Bata Shoe Museum - 1770s English wedding shoes

That ubiquitous feature of 18th Century footwear, the buckle, has clearly caught Vivienne Westwood’s magpie eyes.

The previous shoes didn’t fit my personal taste, however ensemble, barring practical concerns, is really quite alluring for me:

Hmmm – stockings and cockades, anybody?  Yes please!  Those ruffles at the tops of the socks are rather garter-esque, the tongues of the shoes are definitely 18th century-eqsue, and the decorations on the shoes look very much like wooly cockades/rosettes:

1792 French Mules

1883 Cockade Shoes

I do have a weakness for rosettes, I have to say – I think that’s what I love so much about Suffolk puffs and my silk cuff.  If you share this weakness, there are a couple of other shoes with cockades on this timeline of Shoes Through the Ages and House of Nines Design has an interesting article on these decorative lovelies and even has them available to buy separately or on their yummy hats in their Etsy shop.

And one last pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes:

These you might recognise – they’re the infamous style that Naomi Campbell came acropper of.  Super-high platform heels.  They might not look terrible historical, but they remind me of a shoe style I featured a couple of months ago:

Those massive heels place the lady desirous of attention above her companions (and competition!), quite literally.  And as a short person (not quite 5’2″), the addition of even a few extra inches can make a big difference to being seen and being able to see.

Perhaps I should get myself some of those super-high platform heels – the challenge would be walking in them… and if you read the article at the Bata Shoe Museum, you will note that our Renaissance ancestors had the same trouble, requiring servants to help them walk through a room.

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For the triumphant (?) return of the Saturday Shoe, what better theme than the queen of triumphant returns (and falls from grace, but we’ll skirt over that for now) – Angelique.  Now, if you don’t know Angelique, then I think you should get acquainted post haste!  Here’s Wikipedia’s very brief summary, while the official website can be found here.

My Mum read these books in her teens/twenties and I can remember their rather buxom covers being on our bookshelves throughout my childhood.  When she recommended them to me, I’ll admit I was put off by their pulpy, prurient covers and so it wasn’t until this year that I finally read them.

And what an adventure they have taken me on.

Pirates, thieves, princes, poisoners, whores, child-killers, Sultans and the Sun King himself – no one escapes the thrill that Angelique brings to 17th century France (and, in later books, Canada and the east Mediterranean).  Anne Golon and her late husband, Serge, take the reader on a wild adventure full of romance, intrigue and even philosophy and alchemy – their depth of research is not overwhelming and instead it renders the period utterly real.

Sadly these books are out of print (though there are possible plans to re-print them now the legal battle between Anne Golon and her former publishers has been settled), but if you can get your hands on them (at the library, a second hand bookshop or a kind friend who’s willing to lend them out) I heartily recommend them.

(Though I’ll give a couple of warnings: there are different translations and I’ve noticed this makes a big difference to the quality of the writing in English; the beginning might not seem so promising, bear in mind that the novel was written before we became so demanding of our gripping openings and trust me when I say that it becomes utterly enthralling.)

Yes, yes, yes, Clare, but where do shoes come into this? Well, these spangly silken creations are from the height of the Sun King’s reign and with those dizzying heels in red leather, I’d suggest these are shoes fit for our indomitable Angelique.

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Well, not a slapper in that sense, but a slap sole shoe.

Slap sole shoe

These are from the Northampton Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of footwear.  How handy, then, that my mum lives in Northampton!  When I have a new camera, I’ll be paying another visit to the museum, but back to the shoes…

It is believed that they were a gift from Charles II to Lady Hereford in the mid 17th century and originally they were decorated with braid.  Apparently you can still see the stitch lines – it’d be great to get a closer look to try to imagine how they looked originally – I bet they were stunning (and shimmering!).

I love the slap-sole for its ingenious solution to a problem most women will have encountered – a problem even our 17th century ancestors were not immune to – that sinking feeling of walking over grass or dirt in heels.  Check out Bata Shoe Museum’s brilliant podcast/article on this unique style.

I like to think of them as the grandmother of the wedge:

Wedges

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Today for your visual pleasure and curiosity, dear reader, allow me to present to you these most marvelous chopines from the Bata Shoe Museum:

Chopines - Bata Shoe Museum

Yes, they look gorgeous and bizarre, but so what? you might say, but have another look – these bad boys were made around the turn of the 17th century.  And they still look this amazing.  Those tassles and that ruffling (which has made a recent reappearance) – oooh la la!

Do head over there and find out more about this fascinating footwear from an expert.

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