Did you know that modern espadrilles are related to shoes Native Americans were wearing over 8,000 years ago? Espadrilles are shoes with cloth uppers and rope soles. According to the journal Science, some of the 8,000-year-old shoes from the Arnold Research Cave in Missouri resembled espadrilles, in that they were woven from tough, fibrous plants. Leather was also used in some specimens, including the one shown here.
Seeing the incredible exhibit of Theatre de la Mode fashions at the Maryhill Museum of Art has me thinking more and more about fashion as art. Personally, I choose comfort if given the choice between killer fashion and killer pain, but I’m beginning to see why some women strap on incredibly fierce (and incredibly uncomfortable) shoes for a few hours now and then. (Call me a dork if you will, but I don’t encourage it! Wearing poorly fitting shoes, especially for long stretches, definitely causes foot health problems.) Miniature shoes offer all of the art of fierce heels–without any of the pain. Today, I’m exploring the world of miniature shoes, both from the Theatre de la Mode exhibit and the many websites that offer collectible miniature shoes.
A New York Times article titled “Haute Couture Faces Uncertain Times” summarizes the challenges the exclusive circle of Haute Couture designers face in these days of economic difficulty. Apparently, for the lavishly rich, paying up to $30,000 for a masterpiece of a dress was more justifiable before the economy tanked. Now, designers like Christian Lacroix are filing for bankruptcy. Some designers have braved these rough economic seas by scaling back at Fashion Weeks, offering more mid-priced merchandise, and hosting Haute Couture shows in house. Still, this isn’t the first time that the fashion world has been forced to get creative in the face of economic instability. In fact, compared with the designers in Paris following WWII, today’s designers seem downright spoiled. A recent visit to an exhibit called Theatre de la Mode at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Maryhill, WA, increased my appreciation for the creativity and determination of post-war European designers.
I read an interesting article last week called “Shoeconomics.” The author interviewed Elizabeth Semmelhack, curator of a Toronto shoe museum who also published a book about the history of heels. The premise of the article is basically about answering the question, “Can the heels of today tell us about the economic conditions of tomorrow?” Surprisingly, the two seemingly unrelated topics, well, aren’t unrelated.
How are you faring in the St. Patrick’s Day color contest? Did you remember to incorporate the bit o’ green in your ensemble today? If not, how about blue? Since the original color associated with St. Patrick was a deep blue, you could argue that a spot of blue earns you pinch-free privaleges. In fact, the modern greening up on March 17th is thought to be rooted in the phrase “the wearing of the green.” During the Irish Rebellion of 1798, pinning “the green”–a shamrock–to your clothing was a symbol of rebellion against the British crown.