Archive for March, 2008

Influential Shoe Designers of the Twentieth Century

March 2, 2008

Icons of Elegance:
Influential Shoe Designers of the Twentieth Century
Opened September 23, 2005 and on display until January 7, 2007
Of the myriad shoemakers creating footwear at any given time, only a few shoe designers capture the imagination. The footwear in this exhibition ranged from exquisite examples of handcrafted perfection to shoes that rival modern sculpture as artworks in their own right.

With over 100 artifacts selected from both the Bata Shoe Museum’s collection and international collections, this was the first time in North America that shoes with such significance in the history of design and Western culture were brought together. Surprising and intellectually engaging, Icons of Elegance celebrated the extraordinary.

Images
Garnet-coloured silk boots with gold thread embroidery. Jean-Louis François Pinet, 1880
Jean-Louis François Pinet’s fame established that shoemakers were no longer simple handmaidens to fashion; they could be style-makers.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (BSM P95.80)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Hal Roth

Black silk boots with floral embroidery. Jean-Louis François Pinet, 1880s
Pinet’s footwear was famous for its extravagant embroidery, elegant styling and delicate ‘Pinet’ heel.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (P91.0128.2)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Brian Hillier

Black silk shoes with black embroidery. Pietro Yantorny, 1910s
Yantorny’s genius lay in the details. This pair of black silk shoes is an example of his sophisticated refinement.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (P81.401)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Hal Roth

Custom-made trunk with Yantorny shoes. Pietro Yantorny, 1914-19
Turn of the century shoemaker Pietro Yantorny proclaimed himself the most expensive shoe designer in the world and his exquisite hand-crafted shoes took years to make. This trunk, brimming with Yantorny shoes, was owned by New York socialite Rita de Acosta Lydig.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (CI.53.76.1ab-.12ab)
Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Capezio, Inc., 1953 (CI.53.76.1ab-.12ab).Photograph ©2003 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
High-resolution image not available.

Orange suede mule with gold and black kid stripes. André Perugia, 1938
André Perugia constantly pushed the boundaries of shoe design. These exotic high heels feature pointed upcurved toes called ‘Aladdin’ toes.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (S86.0080)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto.

‘Rainbow’ platform shoe. Salvatore Ferragamo, 1938
Many of Ferragamo’s designs have become icons of the 20th century. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of his adventurous, trend-setting design sense is the ‘Rainbow’ platform.
Collection of the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum (1938.2)
Image credit: © Salvatore Ferragamo Museum.
High-resolution image not available.

“Invisible” sandal. Salvatore Ferragamo, 1947
One of the many things Salvatore Ferragamo is famous for was his innovative use of materials. His “Invisible” sandal was inspired by nylon fishing line and exploited the potential of this light yet durable material to create a very sexy, seemingly invisible shoe.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (P86.94 / S962.9S)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Hal Roth

Black sequined comma heel pump. Roger Vivier, early 1960s
Although Vivier is called the “Fabergé of shoes” he was also an important architect of shoe structure. This black sequined pair of pumps from the early 1960s features his sculptural comma heel.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (P91.130)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Hal Roth

Beaded blue silk pump. Roger Viver, early 1960s
This blue silk pump with lavish beaded embellishment was created by Roger Vivier, the “Fabergé of shoes”. It is a classic example of Vivier’s masterful combination of innovative structure and dramatic ornamentation.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1980.597.4a)
Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Valerian Stux-Rybar,1980 (1980.597.4a). Photograph ©2001 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
High-resolution image not available.

Blue velvet mule with silver rolled leather heel. Beth Levine, 1954
The rolled leather heel is a novel and innovative design typical of Beth Levine’s work.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (P93.53)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Ron Wood

Grass and flower sandal. Beth Levine, late 1960s
Beth Levine constantly challenged the conventions and as a result designed some of the 20th century’s most inventive shoes. This sandal’s witty design, with its Astroturf insole and plastic flower embellishment, is an example of her penchant for whimsy.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (S93.0032)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Ron Baxter Smith

Gold kid stiletto sandal. Manolo Blahnik, 1995
Blahnik’s toweringly high stilettos have become icons of late 20th century luxury. This gold kid evening sandal from the 1990s epitomizes the elegant eroticism of Blahnik’s designs.
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (S99.0032)
Image credit: (c) Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Photo: Ron Wood

Images on this site are at web resolution. High-quality versions of selected images are available for media for pieces which review and/or promote the Museum. To request images for these purposes, please contact Rosmarie Gadzovski, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, telephone 416.979.7799 x225. For information about image permissions and licensing, please visit our IMAGE PERMISSIONS section.

Exhibition Catalogue and Poster
The exhibition catalogue and poster are available through the MUSEUM SHOP.

Media Information
Bata Shoe Museum’s Icons of Elegance Celebrates the Extraordinary in 20th Century Shoe Design
April 20, 2005
Adobe PDF file, 1Mb, 3 pages, prints onto letter-sized (8 1/2 x 11″) paper.

Celebrated Shoe Designers Lend a Hand in New Exhibition Icons of Elegance
September 6, 2005
Adobe PDF file, 1Mb, 3 pages, prints onto letter-sized (8 1/2 x 11″) paper.

You may need to download and install the free Adobe Reader to view PDF files.
With thanks to
Icons of Elegance was financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund
City of Toronto Economic Development

Exhibition Sponsors

Flare
FGI (Fashion Group International) Toronto

Holt Renfrew
Holman Exhibits

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