Monday, October 17, 2016

Museum Monday

   1785 Lady's Shoes with Rare cutout vamps, 516.2010.12
 This week's Museum Monday number is 516!  Unlike many other collections, Museum & private, who focus on objects in pristine condition, I have many pieces here that are anything but nice condition~ some arent even whole, but fragments of a larger 'thing'.  If an object is rare and unique, such as this pair of 18th c shoes, condition is no factor for my decision to add it to the collection or not. The second I saw these, my heart literally skipped a beat! The cut out vamps.....Oh... my..... golly....the cutout vamps!
  This pair of Lady's shoes were elaborate and wild when they were first made~ the cutting edge of fashion~ their owner would have been considered an 'elite'. Shape of the toe, vamp and heel sets them firmly in the 1780s. Construction is amazingly fine and since they are in such tattered condition, this allows for a look at details that would otherwise be hidden.  One shoe retains its original 'pom' or rosette.... and while the other's is sadly missing, it gives us a great look at the shoe's construction underneath of it.
 The pointed leather vamps have been elaborately cut away in a number of heart shaped designs~ each segment then backed in, what was at the time, a bright pink silk.  The silk is stitched to the vamp round the edges of the cutouts in a contrasting color, making the stitching both utilitarian and decorative.

 The top of the vamp has a small hole cut in the leather to easily secure the throat decoration, in our case, the fancy silk corded poms, or rosettes.   Now faded to a dull rosey cream color, the silk only reveals its bright original color deep under seams and in stitching channels.
 With pom missing we can also examine the silk binding over the top of the silk throats

  Kid covered Louis heels are 2" tall~ this squatty shape is a transitional one common in the 1780 time period
 Silk ribbon would have originally covered all seams, including this center back seam. The amount of hand stitching , and the perfection in each and every stitch, never ceases to amaze me.  The patterned black leather of the shoe upper can also be appreciated here.

 The pom, or rosette is made up of several layers of silks~ first a flat ribbon at the bottom, next to the shoe, then a layer of flat filament silks, black silk cord and finally a center of the same silk cord but in pink. Looking deep within the pom we can see it was once a beautiful, rosy pink color, that has nearly all faded away over time. 

 These shoes, in their colorful original condition would have been stunning~ black patterned leather uppers with rich pink and black poms, pink stitching over pink satin cutouts on the vamps, and pink gimp fringing all round the foot. w.o.w.

 This gimp travels the length of the opening for the foot~ while it has unraveled for the most part, it is still attached to the shoe all way around

  They are just as fabulous from the sole view, as from the top~ here we can admire the tiny stitches connecting the kid covered wood Louis heel to the leather sole.

 The channel cut in the leather soles of the heels can easily be seen, with some of the stitching showing

A look from the bottom ~ one piece, straight last, pointy toes (with a slight spring upwards), very narrow throats that are quite short before transitioning to the heel. The 'holes' at the tips and middle of the soles are last marks~ note the decorative glazing of the throats of the soles. This is a perfect example of pride in craftsmanship.

Shoes are fully lined in white kid with unmarked linen footbeds.


Diane Guidice said...


Unknown said...

Don't know where you find these wonderful things, but WOW! Wish I could have such beautiful shoes-wouldn't they look spectacular with my jewelry!

Unknown said...

So many of your Museum Mondays posts are simply wonderful trips down memory lane - a blast from the past - but not this time. These are absolutely stunning, and this design would be just as 'fashionable' today as they were 225 years ago! What an inspiration for a contemporary show designer. :-) Thank you so much for sharing them