Ahhh – these elegant evening shoes, were made in Paris and worn by American Abigail Kinsley Norman Prince (1860-1949). As with many wealthy women of the time, she travelled to Paris, visiting the fashion houses and acquiring the latest in French fashions. Mrs. Prince’s family donated the shoes to the Metropolitan Museum in the 1960s, along with a rich collection of some 400 garments and accessories. .
There are several unusual elements found in the evening shoes, indicating not only a special make, but perhaps, Mrs. Prince made certain stylistic requests from the unknown designer. The evening shoes featured ribbon work embroidery, not commonly seen on shoes. Further, the oversized satin ankle straps were unusual for the time – generally shoes were slip-ons, without straps. These details most likely indicate a special order. The quality of the shoes may also be seen in the finished edges and the stitching on the heel and instep.
1. For additional information on the family and the large donation to the collection, see: Jessa J. Krick, Senior Research Assistant: http://www.metmuseum.org/research/curatorial-research/the-costume-institute/american-woman-symposium/behind-the-scenes/prince-donation
Illustrations courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/156311?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=evening%2Bshoes&deptids=8&when=A.D.%2B1800-1900&where=France&what=Silk&pos=2&imgno=1&tabname=label
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