Accessories Talk: The Shoe Lined Streets of NYFW SS 17

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New York Fashion Week Moment. Photo by Rachel Guillaume for Sarara Couture.

Every season, what I most look forward to are the accessories we see on the streets. Some of those of course are entering the shows.   Now, it is true that of a few of these are given by the designers to the wearers and represent the runways.  However, the unique interpretations we see outside each fashion week keep us smiling and inspiring. I love what the the models wear in between shows, their own interpretations, the writers, the editors etc.  It’s not about the “trend”, but about how everyone makes their own looks using these little accessories gems.  There were some definite themes and some fun inspiration possibilities this season.  Designers were mixing it up with straight off the runway fall collection availability and change was in the air. We saw metallics shoes and accents, cat eye styles and mirrored sunglasses (hail to the 80s and 90s -yes I remember these- as a baby;) #iwish #oldish), stripes, things also were a bit punk or studded, light denim was about, handbags are smaller and belts are big again, just to summarize a few things we spied. What I love about street style, is in the way everyone seems to be in a rhythm….giving us hints about fashion weeks to come….Yet showing us what can be made wearable. Yes it is a high stakes game, but there are true flashes of brilliance and realism there too.

This time we wanted to pull together some looks we spotted and coveted by accessory type, giving readers some alternatives as to where to find those piece or something similar they desire. There is always a lot of vintage used during fashion week which I applaud, so we will do our best to discuss a few options! One thing is for sure this fall and coming spring seems to be all about the shoes. Embroidered, colorful, metallic, studded, metal details…..it’s time to pamper your foot.

THE SHOE CUT:

New York Fashion Week , SS 17 street style. Rachael Guillaume.

New York Fashion Week , SS 17 street style. Rachel Guillaume shot.

Metallic tennis inspiration!

Metallic tennis inspiration and the power of a good Adidas. Knotted slip on sneaker by No. 21. See link. Rachel G image.

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See through boots by Noelle, feel a bit naughty and I know some anti toe people won’t feel that these are for them. I thought they were unique and let me say pointed heel fans will be happy as they are indeed something we see in the coming year. Rachel Guillaume photo.

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Obsessed with these velvet Prada sandals, just a tad 90s-reminding me of the good old days! Rachel Guillaume photo.

Nina Garcia rocking these bad boys. Prada velvet sandals. Photo by Rachel.

Nina Garcia rocking these bad boys. Prada velvet sandals. Photo by Rachel.

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Rachel Guillaume photo. See more of her photographs via her instagram. Link in photo.

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Gunmetal metallic boots, Spotted on the street and snapped by Rachel. SS17

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Givenchy velvet and mother of pearl boot. Sold out. Snapped by Rachel. SS17.

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Fashion work casual. Caught by Rachel.

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Street style, Givenchy Boot. NYFW SS17. Image by Rachel.

OUR PICKS:

Leather lace up Pom Pom sandals. Zara, link in photo.

Leather lace up Pom Pom sandals. Zara, link in photo.

Anthropologie sneaker. Link in image. Anthropologie photo

Anthropologie sneaker. Link in image. Anthropologie photo

Narcissa by Aldo Shoes. Their "Trezzo" version also fits the bill.

Narcissa by Aldo Shoes. Their “Trezzo” version also fits the bill. Aldo Shoe image, link in image.

Zara red leather mules. There is a saying in the south that only hookers or kids wear red shoes....However red shoes are fun if done right so have a bit of fun this year.

Zara red leather mules. There is a saying in the south that only hookers or kids wear red shoes (there I said it)….However; red shoes can be chic, just in the right dose. Have a bit of fun this year!

ROCHAS Enea Sequined Mary Jane Heels. Via Moda Operandi. Image link.

ROCHAS Enea Sequined Mary Jane Heels. Via Moda Operandi. Image link. These could be an accident waiting to happen, but the scale sequins have me all in….

Spotted on Brian Atwoods instagram (which is a fun follow by the way) Fall16.

Spotted on Brian Atwoods instagram (which is a fun follow by the way) Fall16. Brian Atwood image.

Asos has some great options like these Monki lace ups.

Asos has some great options like these Monki lace ups.

YSL Star sneaker. Image link via Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurent Star sneaker. Image link via their website.

Okay so maybe you need a star boot? Saint Laurent star boot, image link.

Okay so maybe you need a star boot? Saint Laurent star boot, image link.

Acne Studios. Adriana Metallic sneakers.

Acne Studios. Adriana Metallic sneakers.

AQUAZZURA Christy shoe. Image Aquazzura Net a Porter.

AQUAZZURA Christy shoe. Image Aquazzura Net a Porter.

Gucci metallic embellished sandal. Net a Porter.

Gucci metallic embellished sandal. Net a Porter.

Adidas Gold! This cool shoot shown via the instagram account of stylist and BHG contributor Deanna.Dewey - The shoe appears to be sold out on Asos but there is an option in the photo link!

Adidas Gold! This cool shoot shown via the instagram account of stylist and BHG contributor Deanna.Dewey – The shoe appears to be sold out on Asos but there is an option in the photo link!

Fenty Puma by Rihanna sneaker boot. Her creepers are also going to be restocked soon!

Fenty Puma by Rihanna sneaker boot. Her creepers are also going to be restocked soon!

Zara silver laminate leather ankle boot.

Zara silver laminate leather ankle boot.

Gucci crossover sandal with snake.

Gucci crossover sandal with snake. Image link via Gucci.

ELLERY Desmond Velvet Boot Via Moda Operandi. link image.

ELLERY
Desmond Velvet Boot
Via Moda Operandi. link image.

Louis Vuitton Sandal, image link via their website.

Louis Vuitton Sandal, image link via their website.

Boots by Balmain.

Boots by Balmain.

VINTAGE FINDS:

YSL vintage denim shoes, on eBay. The kind of great score you can run across.

YSL vintage denim shoes, on eBay. The kind of great score you can run across.

90s Red Velvet Prada Sandals. If you can find these they are a lot of fun for the coming seasons. Image by Sarara Couture. We had them but of course they sold quickly!

90s Red Velvet Prada Sandals. If you can find these they are a lot of fun for the coming seasons. Image by Sarara Couture. We had them but of course they sold quickly!

Times Vixen 1970s Glam Rock Platforms. Available on 1stdibs. See image link.

Times Vixen 1970s Glam Rock Platforms. Available on 1stdibs. See image link.

Hell Hound Vintage, 1990s Floral Doc Martins.

Hell Hound Vintage, 1990s Floral Doc Martins. Docs in black would be a great basic for the fall as well.

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1970s Gold platforms, from Birthday Life Vintage. Size 6.

 

 

 

 

 

SHOES SHOES SHOES: An Interview With The Curatorial Director Of The Fashion History Museum, Canada

Bata Shoe museum image, French 1760s silk shoe in the Rococo style, rights reserved.

Many of us have an ongoing affair with shoes. My interest stems from my fixation with jewelry as material culture, so shoes as accessories are alluring.  I am interested in these fashion artifacts, because they tell us about status, culture, beauty standards and such. In this sense, while the history of shoes is not my strong point, I have started to include them in my shop inventory. I do love the 40s styles.  Today’s shoe brands like Jimmy Choo and the Manolo Blahniks, that Carrie tap danced across New York wearing in Sex and the City, still have the devotion of many a fashion lover.  However what about those that came before them?  What can we learn and appreciate from vintage shoes?   This where Jonathan Walford can shed some light on the subject.  He is an avid researcher and collector of antique and vintage clothing, with a focus on shoes.   After coming across some interesting and rare vintage shoes, I began thinking about how these pieces really complete the larger picture.

1937 Perugia shoe/ Image from Jonathan Walford’s archive, rights reserved.

THE INTERVIEW:

What is your formal background?

History and museum studies, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia

When and how did you get into researching and collecting shoes?

I have been a collector of antique and vintage clothing since I was 17 but there were and still are very few fashion museums in Canada, so I focussed on the one that appealed to me the most, and that was the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Most of my shoe research occurred while I worked there in the late 1980s and 1990s. 

What are some important things one should look for when collecting shoes? Is there a go to source for dating them or researching them?

As a collector I always look for and try to obtain the best I can find or afford. And I mean that in every sense – the best design, condition, style, example, designer, provenance… I would be a bad self-promoter if I didn’t suggest my own books as useful sources for dating and researching footwear: The Seductive Shoe and Shoes A-Z, were both published by Thames and Hudson. The Seductive Shoe focuses on the fashion footwear 1600 – 2000, with examples from my own collection as well as from important collections around the world. Shoes A-Z focusses on the leading shoe brands and designers 1950 – 2010.

About how many shoes do you have in your permanent collection?

I haven’t done a ‘foot’ count in a while, but last time I did seven years ago it was 780 pairs. It’s probably over a thousand now. 

I know you sell on etsy, discuss your store’s focus and what kind of shoes come into the shop for sale?

I don’t consider myself a dealer, but rather a collector with an open door policy for improving the collection. As I said before, I am always looking for the best I can find and afford, and that sometimes means getting rid of lesser or duplicate items in the collection as I find better examples. That’s not to suggest I sell crap in my etsy store! just that I already have something similar or better.

1670s shoe example, via Jonathan’s archive, rights reserved.

Who was your favorite maker of any era? What would be the holy grail of shoes? If you could get your hands on any pair from any person, time period, or culture what would it be?

If I had to pick just one designer I would go with Perugia. He was an innovative designer with an eye for beauty and quality, and always kept looking for the next new thing. He was active from the 1920s to the 1960s – a really interesting period of shoe design. As for the holy grail of shoes, It’s already very difficult to find anything pre 1750 anymore. So if I were to ever find a pair of Chopines (platform mules) from Venice from the early 17th century, I think that would be as holy grail-like as you could get, and something I would definitely like to get my hands on for the collection. 

I have a shoe from the 1660s that was possibly worn in New Amsterdam (New York when it was still in Dutch hands). I don’t have definitive proof, however the evidence is strong. If it was worn there it is the oldest extant fashion shoe worn in North America. When I worked at the Bata Shoe Museum, I handled the oldest extant shoe ever worn in North America, a sandal from the Anasazi of the American southwest that dated from over 3,000 years ago – remarkable when you think about it. 

What is your favorite era in terms of shoes and or fashion? I know you are quite studied in terms of vintage and historic fashions. Who is your favorite designer? I honestly don’t have one – every era has its strengths and weaknesses, although some are heavier with faults like the recent 2000’s (certainly the worst decade in my lifetime and I lived through the 70s!) Similarly, I can’t say I have a favorite designer because nearly everyone has done something I have admired and something I thought was crazy or bad.

How many exhibits and publications have you done? What was your favorite or most fun to do?

I never kept track of all the exhibitions because they range from mini-shows for special events to huge exhibitions that have travelled the world. Also, before I was working in fashion-oriented museums I curated shows for regional history museums, including displays of carpentry tools, firefighting, Art Deco, dolls, kitchen utensils, World War II, basketball, as well as photo shows of architectural history and bridge building! I have always preferred fashion-theme exhibitions because its what I personally like, but a good exhibition is about choosing interesting artifacts and images that illustrate the storyline or theme of the show that the audience can also connect with, and if you can do that in your preferred topic, you can do it in others. However, without a doubt, the most fun is what I am doing right now – setting up the Fashion History Museum for our grand opening in mid July. The inaugural display will be a curator’s choice timeline of fashion history 1800 – 2000 (in other words my favourite frocks from the past two centuries in the collection!) 

What is your role at the Fashion History Museum, Could you tell me more about-The Art of the Shoe: 200 years of footwear?

I am the curatorial director of the Fashion History Museum, which means I am the head curator but not the only curator. We will be working with a variety of collectors, curators and artists to create exhibitions in the museum. I feel its important for the curator to have autonomy over their show, so I am there to help them realize their vision.

The Art of the Shoe: 200 years of footwear exhibition is a highlights from fashion footwear history, from 1750 to 2000, including examples of shoes by leading designers – Ferragamo, Perugia, Vivier, Levine, Steiger, Jourdan… We alter the size of the show between 50 and 80 pairs depending upon the venue and always make it a bit different. It has travelled to several venues in Canada, as well as half way around the world to Hong Kong and Bahrain. 

This exhibition of 50 pairs of shoes and boots has traveled to Hong Kong. Is it coming to the U.S. at any point? 

We do have a booking in Kuwait this fall.  We don’t have any American sites confirmed.

What was the story behind the best haul of vintage shoes or clothing you acquired?

I’ve had a few good hauls in my life, but the best was the estate of a woman whose husband was an air conditioning dealer in the 1950s and 1960s – just when people were buying air conditioning, so as he made money, her taste for couture grew. She kept EVERYTHING she ever wore, in double walk-in closets — 17 of them! Although Sotheby’s got a good look at everything first and siphoned off a dozen frocks, we were very happy with the leftovers. It took 4 or 5 days just to pack everything up and get it out of the house.

I asked Jonathan to quickly give us some tips concerning how to analyze or date a shoe:

It is difficult to be specific about what to look for when dating a pair of shoes because everything has to be considered — Style: shape of heel, shape of toe, type of shoe (slingback, open toe, sandal…), materials (leather, neolite, wood…) colour (wartime colour restrictions of leather footwear, aniline dyes), decoration (embroidery, tooled design, buckle, trim…) even the colour of the lining. Maker: label of store (location might have changed over time), designer, manufacturer, typeface used in lettering, type of label (stamped gold, fabric…) Origin can be determined by sizing (German and British, American and Canadian, and French and Italian each share a similar sizing…) Sometimes there is an overwhelming element that defines a pair of shoes, or any garment, but as fashion from the last twenty years has been a series of revivals, and newer items can appear very much like older examples, it becomes more difficult to be sure. I have a problem telling the difference between 1970s and 1990s platform shoes sometimes and have to rely on maker information to be sure. Above all, I would always prefer to handle an item before I decide on the most accurate date.


I wanted to thank Jonathan for his time, and I hope you all enjoyed discussing vintage shoes. Maybe you’ll take a second look the next time you see an “old pair of shoes”. The Anasazi shoe spoke to the anthropologist in me and the Perugia sang to the deco side of my heart. What vintage shoe designs speak to your heart?  Feel free to comment, ask questions, or discuss vintage shoe designs you love below. 

LINKS:

The Bata Shoe Museum-

Jonathan’s blog

Link to publications on vintage fashion by Jonathan-

Older Comments:

1. Kelly Jackson said…
Great post. I lived in Toronto for seven years before moving overseas and never went to the Bata Shoe Museum, for shame! Shoes aren’t my thing but I would appreciate learning of their historical and cultural significance over time. Though I’m a vintage jewellery fiend I think shoes would be way more interesting from those perspectives, somehow.

2. Sarara Vintage said…

Thanks! I also found myself neglecting shoes and boy do I love vintage jewelry. They both have tales to tell, but I think shoes somehow are indeed often a bit left out.

3. Blanche said…

THX FOR SHARING