L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ladies' shoes, mid to late eighteenth century

There are a lot of similarities between these shoes - well over than two hundred years old - and those worn by women today. High heels. Cramped, pointed toes. After the French Revolution, with the advent of what were considered "Grecian" styles, and through the Empire and beyond, entirely flat, heelless, slipper-like shoes were the vogue. This style persisted for the first half of the nineteenth century. It wasn't until the 1850s that the heel made a return, and shoes resumed a form very like what had been worn a century before. And today, save for a general paring down - less actual coverage of the foot, a much narrower heel - the form of a lady's dress shoe isn't all that much different.

(I have to say that I'm suspicious of this pair; they may be nineteenth-century.)

Almost all of the shoes from this period were made on straight lasts, meaning that there was no differentiation between the left and right foot; the shoes would come to be known as "straights". This method was the common practice until as late as the 1850s. 

Most of these surviving shoes do so without their buckles, or have been given replacements. Shoe buckles were an important part of a person's attire - male or female - and said a lot about the owner's prestige or lack of it. Some were very plain while others were quite elaborate. For dress shoes, most were of silver set with paste stones. The shoe buckles of the most fortunate were often quite costly, were actually proper jewelry and, when they went out of usage, would have been broken up and used to make some other fine adornment. They certainly wouldn't have been left to moulder along with an... old shoe.

These shoes from the 1790s show the beginning of the transition to heelless footwear, which would be the mode for more than fifty years.
Shoes, shoe buckles, and stockings of the period.
Shoes with pattens. Pattens, worn from the Middle Ages and even into the early twentieth century, were a protective overshoe for outdoor use.
Shoes said to have belonged to Marie Antoinette.

1 comment:

  1. they all look so uncomfortable but the attention to detail is amazing - we should have more fun with our clothing today!