From open sandals to spiked heels or wrapped in expensive leather, embroidery and jewels,more than a hundred pairs of shoes are on display here, at the New York’s Historical Society’s newest exhibit.Chief historian Valerie Paley has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of shoes.
In the 19th century, it was thought that to see the outline of a foot was a little bit too erotic, and I just wanted to show the left or the right foot,and, and so therefore propriety would dictate that we would have shoes that didn’t distinguish left from right.But shoes have evolved since then, worn as a fashion statement and sometimes for practicality and comfort.The suffragists movement, for example, required a more sensible approach to footwear for women marching for their right to vote.And so here you have these practical but not shoes that would then broadcast to the world, yes, they mean business, these women.
Women eventually won the right to vote which assure then in a new era for them the right to dance, the right to have a good time.The new woman, so women who all of a sudden could be more independent,who could be out and about on the street, unchaperoned, and not be thought to be a lady of the night.But changes in fashion also brought a new era of impracticality.Straps and laces, golden sparkles became fashionable as shoemakers turned to women’s fantasies into reality.People would not only look at the jewels and the clothing on thered carpet during the Oscars,but the shoes,and with millions of dollars of dimonds encrusted in the sandals, naturally everyone was asking what’s about the shoes.
In 2002 actress Laura Herring dazzled the red carpet wearing pumps encrusted with 464 diamonds.The diamonds were later sold and replaced by Swarovski crystals.By then, shoes had become object of luxury, but shoes tell other stories as well.
These men’s shoes thereby Salvatore Ferragamo were worn by a lawyer who put them on one September morning and walk them to work at the World Trade Center and that was September 11th 2001.He spirit, these shoes spirited him down over 50 flights of stairs to safety, and then he walked home over 50 blocks.When he arrived home, he threw these shoes away.Just like these Ferragamo, shoes tell the story of human history and symbol of our struggles, our dreams and the many paths we’ve taken.
Elena Wolf, VOA news, NewYork.