Posts filed under ‘Historical’

This project needs to be revived

While half-heartedly perusing the new items at the Lucchese site, I stumbled across these gems.


In 1949, the Lucchese Boot Company was commissioned to build a collection of boots-50 pairs of boots, each pair “depicting” a state- for a national advertising campaign. Each boot features unique and exact colors for the states flag, capital, bird, flower and state commodity. I don’t know about you guys, but I am head over heels in love with both this crazy idea and the resulting boots.



The boots I found only represented about a dozen or so states. Thus, in the interests of all things artistic and patriotic, I think someone should really consider taking on the completion of this admirable endeavor. 50 boots, 50 states. Seriously, we have deprived Connecticut of this honor for far too long.



Go take a Look!
Lucchese Boot Co.


May 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm 1 comment

The Doc Marten Boot: From Utility to Underground

dr marten classicdr marten multi

The Dr. Marten boot was first created by Klaus Martens, a German Army doctor, in 1945. After injuring his foot, he created a new, comfortable boot based on the design of his army boots at the time. They were cut from softer leather, and featured a unique, air-cushioned sole. In 1959, manufacture rights were purchased by the Griggs Group, and Dr. Marten was officially re-baptized an Anglo product.

The first pair of Dr. Martens were introduced to the British market in 1960. The boot was immediately favored by members of the working class, including postmen, policemen, and factory workers. By the end of the decade, Dr. Martens had been adopted as the choice footwear of the skinhead movement. The boots were seen to embody the experiences of the working class, and offered an antagonistic counterpoint to the pervasive “middle-class” hippie culture of the time. In the 1970s, Dr. Marten boots grew in popularity within punk and new-wave circles, often worn by the artists and musicians embodying these cultural factions.

Dr. Marten recently re-instituted British manufacture of its products, and these boots are available for purchase for those who wish to make a classic and functional purchase that hearkens back to the golden days of anti-establishment.

Get yours today!

May 3, 2010 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Spectator Shoes: Classic, Casual Style

bnw spectator
Similar to the saddle shoe in their two-tone palette, the first spectator shoes were designed in London, 1868, for cricket players. As the shoe evolved into a dressier style, versions of the spectator shoe became available for women (they are usually available as wingtips, or loafers). High-heel versions reached a peak in popularity from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The spectator pump experienced a revival in consumer interest in the 1990s as rockabilly culture and vintage fashion received mainstream attention. Although their popularity waxes and wanes, this (typically) white “summer shoe” with crisp lines, undoubtably remains a fine example of a dress shoe perfect for a variety of occasions.

color spectator

April 25, 2010 at 2:32 am Leave a comment

Cowboy Boots: Functionality and Frippery

cboot ad

Long viewed as symbolic of American style and the Western lifestyle, Cowboy boots first entered national consciousness as a humble riding boot. The original styles, heavily influenced by Spanish vaquero designs, were made of leather, and included a high heel (roughly and inch and a half), round or pointed toe, high shaft, and no lacings. The structure of the sole and heel provided an easy fit and release from saddle stirrups.

As a result of the cattle drive era (1880s), Cowboys enjoyed an increase in wages, thus invested to a greater extent in high-quality, ornate boots. New, exotic materials were used for the construction of the boot, such as ostrich, snake, alligator, and sting ray. Decorative styles, featuring top stitching and geometric patterns, became widely available as dress boots. In later decades, cowboy boots became status symbols for those involved in Country-Western sub-cultures, and also among more mainstream film stars.


Cowboy boots have enjoyed a great period of longevity and popularity within the American market. While they remain a indelible emblem of national independence and bravura, they are also a relevant vehicle for creative design and artistic licence of their creators.

mayan boot
obama boot

April 25, 2010 at 1:57 am Leave a comment

“Lotus Slippers” and Chinese Foot Binding

blue lotus
red lotus

Perhaps no other shoe in history has provided so much cultural fascination and ethical revulsion than the traditional Chinese practice of foot binding. Undertaken by (or enacted upon) young girls between the ages of 5 and 7, the binding process entails the breaking of the bones in the foot, and subsequent warping and (sometime) mutilation of the foot in order for it to remain a tiny size, ideally no longer than three inches in length (known as a “golden lily” by practitioners). This excruciating and ultimately crippling practice was begun during the 10th century, and was not thoroughly abolished until the late 1940s.

While lotus slippers were usually made of silk, they were constructed of cotton in poorer provinces. Heels were often added to slippers belonging to aristocratic women. Due to the restrictive sizing of lotus slippers, many women only fit their (extended) toe into the shoe, wearing the heel outside of the slipper (resulting in a deep crevice between the heel and foot). Lotus slippers featured elaborate embroidery, typically sewn by the woman who was to wear them. The guidelines for appropriate slipper color were carefully observed by the wearers. Examples include red for festivities and the first pair, black for the elderly, and yellow exclusively for the imperial family.

pink lotus

Although essentially a method of enfeebling and disenfranchising women in a patriarchal culture, the reasons for institutionalizing foot-binding were manifold within its heyday. Women with bound feet were seen as members of the upper class (due to diminished ability for movement and work), were considered more attractive, were seen as examples of good breeding, and generally fetched a higher price when they were married. The legacy of foot-binding and the slippers associated with the practice continue to inspire shock, horror, and artistic discovery. Overall, the viewer is invited to re-examine our own cultural aesthetic practices.

To learn more about Chinese Foot Binding, please explore this source:
SFM- Chinese Foot Binding/Lotus Shoes

April 25, 2010 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

Louis XIV Heel: Status and Seduction

Contrary to popular knowledge, Louis XIV of France was not the first prominent figure in history to institute the wearing of high-heels among the aristocracy. Previous to his reign, high-heeled shoes had been favoured by a variety of social strata throughout history (including Venetian royalty, Egyptian butchers, and Roman prostitutes). High heels were first introduced to the French Court by the Italian Catherine di Medici, as a way to augment her somewhat diminutive (she was under 5′ tall) stature at the court of her husband, the Duke of Orleans. Inevitably, high-heels came to be seen as a mark of wealth and status by the close of the 16th century.

Louis XVI’s adoption of the high-heeled shoe (for himself and those at his court) was notoriously spectacular. He ordered intricate, ornate shoes made, which would often include entire battle scenes carved into the heel. Declarations in regards to high heel decorum (only the aristocracy were permitted to wear red heels, no heel was to be higher than the King’s) were frequent occurrences at court. The high-heel synonymous with the rule of “The Sun King” achieved a cult fetish following amongst the elite and bourgeoisie alike. Various authors eroticized the high in their works, and fashionable women of the time would often bind their feet to easier fit into the high, narrow models favored at court.

Green Louis XVI

The eventual backlash against the high-heel in its aristocratic incarnation occurred during the French Revolution (in a somewhat telling gesture, Marie Antoinette ascended the scaffold wearing 2-inch heels). In favour of pursuing equality under his reign, Napoleon “banished” the heel from French society. Though the Louis heel has been reduced to an ornate, exquisite (and often torturous) artifact, the high heel continues to be an emblem of rank, entitlement, and sexuality.

Gold Louis XIV


April 25, 2010 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

Flavor in your heel!

Fun fact: “men’s shoes were replaced by shoes worn with spats – a modern version of the 17th century, spatterdashes. However, women’s shoes had narrow toes and high heels. Buttoned boots were worn with most daytime outfits, and shoes made from fine leather or fabric were worn in the evening.” The Cuban Heels pictured above are available at Macys stores nationwide and make a a great and comfortable wear at the office or a nice outting with friends.

All Hail to the Native Americans for wearing these slipperlike, warm and comfortable Moccasins which come in neutral colors; find them at for great prices! I personally like the decorated beading – great attention to detail!

January 4, 2010 at 3:36 am Leave a comment

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