There’s a Buffalo Exchange store on West 26th Street just a few doors down from the yoga studio that I visit most Saturday afternoons. When I’m a bit early for class, I like to pop in and check out the recent acquisitions. This past Saturday, my eyes popped out of my head when I spotted these Hot Pink Patent Leather Spike Heels. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, and in perfect condition — the soles look like they’ve never even touched the sidewalk — but they are a size 16! Wow! I can’t imagine who would give them up, but I am sure they will make some lucky drag queen very, very happy!
This Pink Satin women’s shoe circa 1858 is typical of the dainty, flat-soled slippers that well-to-do Victorian women wore as evening wear and to formal events throughout most of the 19th century.
The delicate natured of women’s footwear indicates that even when outside of the home, the ideal Victorian lady did not require functional or reliable shoes. As the century went on, flat slippers like these were replace by heeled satin pumps.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Rebel Women: Defying Victorianism, On View at the Museum of the City of New York Through January 6th, 2019.
These Hot Pink custom boots, designed to mimic a pair of cat’s paws, were worn by pop star Katy Perry on her 2014 Prismatic Tour. Created by NYC-based design house The Blonds, the boots were part of a Pink Leopard-Print, Stretch Velvet Catsuit (seen below) worn by Perry onstage.
Photographed in the Grammy Museum in Hollywood, California.
By the end of the 17th Century, high heels were considered women’s shoes. Indeed, so strong was the connection between shoes and gender that a man wearing high heels could be arrested in New York under a law that forbade people from congregating in public while “disguised by unusual or unnatural attire.” First passed in 1845 to suppress masked political protests, this law was later used to justify the arrest of cross-dressing performers and bar patrons. Many similar laws persisted until the late twentieth century, when changing fashions and cultural norms rendered them unenforceable
Today, high-heeled shoes have appeared everywhere, from boardrooms to bedrooms to courtrooms. They have been called many things: Ultra-feminine, aggressive, provocative, misogynistic, glamorous, fetishistic, immobilizing, erotic, empowering, stylish — just about everything but comfortable.
Gregg Barnes designed these patent metallic leather high-heeled platform lace-up boots in 2013 for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, which is based on the true story of a struggling shoe factory that survived by producing high-heeled fetish footwear in men’s sizes.
Photographed as Part of Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes, on Exhibit Through October 8th, 2018, at the New York Historical Society, Located at 77th Street and CPW in NYC.
In the 1930s, companies like Delman and Ferragamo popularized chunky sandals and shoes. The trend continued during and immediately after World War II in shoes produced in materials that were not restricted by rationing, such as cork, woven straw, and wood. British brand Biba proposed platform sandals for women that emphasized the individualistic, expressive flare characteristic of that decade’s fashion accessories — an attitude that men confidently adopted as well. Inventive and sometimes flamboyant, platform shoes were favored by musicians in the late twentieth century. In the 1970s especially, lavish platform boots in bright, metallic, or shiny materials intensified the glamorous look of male pop and rock stars including David Bowie and Elton John. These metallic silver and red leather boots bearing John’s initials were co-designed by Elton himself and Lionel Avery in 1974.
Club Kids wore multicolored platform shoes to raves in the 1990s, and pop sensations the Spice Girls made them fashionable, especially for young women. In the twenty-first century, platform shoes have reached new heights in the work of designers such as Alexander McQueen and Noritaka Tatehana.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Items: Is Fashion Modern, on View Through January 28th, 2018 at The Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
These extremely rare, retro-vintage Hi Brows Boots were worn by one of the GoGo dancers on the 60s-era TV show, Hullabaloo. Made of white vinyl with red and blue vinyl panels and black vinyl piping, the red and blue color block design was inspired by the non-representational paintings of Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian. They are low heeled and below the calf in height, with a back metal zipper at the back. Why these boots originally sold for just a few dollars per pair, they can now fetch as much as $700 or $800 on eBay.
Hullabaloo was a Pop Rock weekly variety show that ran from 1965 to 1966 (two seasons), NS was broadcast on the NBC network. As with ABC TVs Shindig, which began 4 months earlier, this series combined the musical trends of the day, The British Invasion, Detroit’s Motown sound and the merging Folk Rock trend. Unlike Shindig, this series featured a segment from Great Britain hosted by The Beatles‘ manager Brian Epstein, who presented “up and coming” groups. The weekly hosts, at NBC ‘s Burbank studio, included George Hamilton, Roger Smith, Noel Harrison, Paul Anka and Sammy Davis Jr.
The performers, from both sides of the Atlantic, included The Four Seasons, The Beatles, Nancy Sinatra, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, Petula Clark, Barry McGuire, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, The Byrds and The Lovin’ Spoonful.
Photographed in the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, NY.