Friday, August 12, 2016

A Victorian Favorite: Special Occasion Shoes by Viault-Este, Paris

Such pretties -- a wedding shoe and a dancing slipper of silk, satin, ribbons, lace, and leather, c. 1860. They were manufactured by Viault-Este, a prolific mid-19th century French shoe concern. 
Note the wear marks on the footbed.
They joined with London-based Thierry, and greatly expanded their exports, during the 1850s. Their labeled, special occasion ladies shoes are found in dozens of American collections. With an elegant, stylish appeal, they were a go-to shoe for middle to upper middle class Victorian women. A knock on heel kept costs down and the ability to personalize them made them attractive to customers.
These two shoes (one each of a pair) were worn in New England by Sarah Dutton (Leverett) Tuttle (b. 1835.) The wedding shoes feature a delicate ribbon and lace rosette, while the dancing shoe is accented with a cheerful pink silk bow.

The shoes are in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society ( Acc. # 0836.01-.02

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