Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos are not the only women who worship shoes. There are plenty of fashionistas obsessed with finding the latest creations for their feet, and have entire rooms dedicated to the careful storage and display of their shoe collections.
For them, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York has prepared an exhibition with 150 iconic shoes titled Shoe Obsession, on view until April 13.
Entrance to exposition.
With designs created during the last 10 years, from the more demure to the most extravagant, and the participation of more than 50 international designers, FIT has brought together pieces from the most exclusive designers such as Manolo Blahnik, Roger Vivier, Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy, Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood and Alexandre Birman, and labels of the stature of Balenciaga, Azzedine Alaïa, Chanel, Prada, Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen. But there is also room in the show for new names and promising newcomer firms like Andreia Chaves, Kei Kagami, Noritaka Tatehana and Marieka Ratsma.
Velerie Steele and Colleen Hill are the curators of this exhibition that features some collections belonging to women obsessed with their feet, like jewelry designer Lynn Ban, whose personal wardrobe contains more than 800 pairs of shoes, or Daphne Guinness, known for her extravagant taste in clothes and footwear.
The show does a good job of examining the culture, fascination and growing obsession with hyperbolic designs, extreme if you consider that nowadays a 4-inch heel is considered low. Each pair, exhibited in individual, tall glass enclosures, receives the attention they deserve, since they are considered authentic works of art. Few historians have been a able to find the reason for our obsession with footwear. This part of the female wardrobe is no longer just an accessory to complement a dress: it has become an object of desire.
Maybe it’s because footwear can say plenty about the character of the woman wearing it, her personality, her taste and even her social status. Or perhaps because one doesn’t need to have the perfect measurements of a model to wear the latest fashions. This fact has not gone unnoticed by the designers, and international fashion houses are increasingly focusing on their footwear lines. Saks Fifth Avenue in New York already devotes the entire eight floor to footwear.
The exhibition is accompanied by a book of illustrations published by Yale Press expressly for the FIT. ■