Friday, October 21, 2016

Breathtaking Bespoke Boots, c. 1890s

Oh my! I have written about these bodacious boots before (Here), but last week had the opportunity to view them in person as part of the “Fashion Victims” exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, on view through January 2017. (
Note the sculptured heel; soft velvet pile paired with the smooth, gold leather
While they are visually arresting in published photos, seeing them up close was a very different experience. The level of artisanry, the luxury of the materials and the whimsy found in the overall design, is exceptional.
As noted by the Curator, Elizabeth Semmelhack, the gold kid leather appliqué and velvet are 'erotically charged' and they resemble a stockinged leg. Even a glimpse beneath a skirt would have been tantalizing. They are most likely of Swedish or German make, from c.1890s.

One wonders if these bespoke boots were ordered by a specific client or were perhaps ‘show off’ piece meant for display at an exposition.  In any event, they are truly stunning. I hope you enjoy the photos I captured during my visit.

All photographs by Kimberly Alexander; courtesy of the Bata Shoe Museum