Friday, December 21, 2018

Breathtaking Bespoke Boots, c. 1890s

I have written about these bodacious boots before (, but had the opportunity to view them in person as part of the “Fashion Victims” exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto (now closed). (

While they are visually arresting in published photos (as seen in the image above, courtesy of the Bata Shoe Museum; all other photos by author), 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 Museum 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. 

These bespoke boots may have been commissioned by a specific client or perhaps more likely, as a ‘show off’ piece meant for display at an Exposition.  In any event, they are truly stunning. Enjoy the photos I captured during my visit.

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