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WWII Created Platform Shoes

Cork Platforms: Maybe not possible if not for WWII?

Cork Platforms: Maybe not possible if not for WWII?

And speaking of shoe collectors, I came across this great interview with a vintage shoe collector named Jonathan Walford over at The Collectors Weekly. Walford actually works at the Bata Shoe Museum that displayed the On A Pedestal exhibit we featured some months ago. Here, he speaks on the history of shoes and shoe design in the 20th century. He had a lot of great stuff to say, like how the advent of the mini-skirt in the 1960s resurrected the boot or how Mary Janes might’ve been invented by a cartoonist. What I thought was really interesting was the effect of wars on shoe design and how it led to the creation of cork platforms. Check out a quick grab below:

“Walford: A few homegrown American design talents began to show up, but American retailers were leery of taking American designs. They always wanted to sell the latest fashions from Paris or London. They never wanted to say ‘buy the latest fashions by so and so from Ohio’. World War II changed that because U.S. retailers were cut off from Europe’s fashion leaders. Suddenly they had to look to the local talent, and there was a lot out there. They would even promote the names of U.S. shoe companies like Herman Delman in advertisements.

Collectors Weekly: How else did World War II affect U.S. shoes?

Walford: Actually, both world wars had an impact. From 1915 to 1918, material shortages forced European designers to replace some of the leather in their shoes with gray felt or cotton. This was especially true for boots. In World War II, again because of a lack of leather, materials such as wood and cork were used in soles instead of leather. That created the platform, which became the fashion throughout the war and even into the early 1950s.”

Weird Shoe Wednesdays: Shoe Bathtubs

Imagine taking a bath in a big, giant, fabulous shoe! How great would that be, right?

A designer in Italy had that exact idea and created a line of tubs that look like women’s platform heels. These tubs are built for you to recline into with your head at the heel and your feet at the toe. Water streams down from the jet at the heel and drains out at the toe. They come in a number of designs, all decorated in an elaborate glass mosaic style. There’s even one based on heels worn by a Barbie doll (the tubs were unveiled last year, which was Barbie’s 50th anniversary).

Photo: Telegraph.co.uk

Photo: Telegraph.co.uk

Photo: Manolo

Photo: Manolo's Shoe Blog

I just wish we could have shoe-shaped soap and shampoo bottles to go with the bathtubs. And shoe-shaped sponges. And shoe-shaped bubbles! At the very least, they should design a shower in the shape of a boot. THEN, my life would be complete.

Lady Gaga’s Shoes at the 2010 Grammy’s

Last night, the Grammy’s took place, which meant another occasion for celebrities to show off their fabulosity. There were plenty of great looks to go around from a number of celebs. And then there was Lady Gaga, whose outfits always puzzle and confound me with equal feelings of transcendent, joyous wonderment and mocking scorn. At times, I think, “Wow, that looks amazing” and at other times, I’m like, “Wow …… she really made an outfit out of Kermit The Frog puppets.”

Photo: Sindh Today

Photo: Sindh Today

Her outfit last night was a retro-futuristic, solar-system-inspired purple dress that looks like it was ripped straight out of a 60′s Star Trek episode. To complete her ensemble, Gaga sported a pair of towering bejeweled platform shoes, custom-made by Armani Prive (as was the dress). Between these and the ‘Armadillo’ heels from her music video for “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga must really want to get taller. Someone get the woman some milk, please!

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Weird Shoe Wednesdays: Baroque Art Platforms & Tassel-Beard Clogs

It’s the middle of the day in the middle of the week. I know you and I both need to see some weird shoes to jolt our systems back into full swing. This week, we have a close contest between two pairs of shoes for winner of Weird Shoe Wednesdays.

Photo: Shoeblog.com

Photo: Shoeblog.com

First up are the above platform pumps from Dolce & Gabbana featuring a very unique printed leather and textile upper. Graphic art is becoming increasingly popular on shoes and Dolce & Gabbana has run with that idea, injecting these platforms with 17th century baroque art that may or may not be from the Sistene Chapel (help? I am so not up on my art history). I’ve seen plenty of sneakers with graffiti art and lots of pumps with Warhol-esque pop art. But baroque is a first and I applaud the audacity. Also, think of the educational factor of wearing these shoes. You’d be like a walking museum, exposing all those around you to the beauties of baroque art. You could walk into McDonald’s and people will start discussing the historical significance of angels and demons in art while munching away at their Big Macs. Who wouldn’t want that?

Next up, we have a pair of clogs from Camilla Skovgaard with supertastic tassels hanging low. Actually, I’m worried they hang too low and could cause you to trip. Either way, it looks like a walrus with a big bushy beard that you might run into in Wonderland who imparts sagely wisdom on you. Check them out after the jump and let me know which one you think is weirder in the comments.

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Weird Shoe Wednesdays: On a Pedestal Museum Exhibit

It’s Wednesday again and I need to get over the hump. What better way to get over it than by towering over the hump in 19-inch heels? …… Um, not that I wear heels ever but, I mean … um ……

Photo from Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia

Photo from Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia

Anyway, so The Bata Shoe Museum up in Toronto recently opened an exhibit called On A Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels. The exhibit showcases the craziness of the now-dated (thankfully) platform chopine trend in Western footwear back in the 16th century and how the chopine evolved into heels. Pretty much all the shoe models in the exhibit (and seemingly, in the entire museum) are eyes-popping-out-of-my-head-worthy. But this Venetian chopine wins for sheer audacity. Seriously. Nineteen inches tall. That’s like gaining another lower leg in height. If people were still rocking out in Venetian chopines, the entire sport of basketball would be a moot point because everyone would be able to dunk just by raising their arms up, a la Yao Ming. And we thought Lady Gaga’s “Armadillos” were insane.

Check out more shoes at the exhibit’s page on the Bata Shoe Museum website.

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