Thursday, 9/1 was the opening of the new exhibit at the Museum At FIT, “Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic“. As an obviously avid shoe collector who thinks of footwear as functional art and someone who loves museums, I made it a must-see that very day.
I think to the average viewer, this would be a decent collection of footwear examples, however, I was frankly a bit disappointed. I felt that the analysis of the collection was, for lack of a better word,… “light”. There were some interesting groupings but the juxtapositions they made between styles and designers could have been done much stronger or they could have taken the themes they chose to explore to a much deeper level.
Some of the things I would have like to have seen is how past styles influence designers today (see French Court shoes and Brother Vellie Grandma Stell mules), or a through line from a single designer of their earlier work to later designs. Or how a designer’s mentor influenced and helped to refine another designers style (a la Kirkwood and Sophia Webster – where you can see the strong Kirkwood flow in the 80s style throwback and colors of Webster).
Another interesting link that could have been made is the impact of sports on shoe design. Instead of a wall of very recent sneakers, and instead of showing a recent pair of Thom Browne skate-inspired shoes…
Show the TWO (!!!) 2011 designs that really shook the industry up – by Dsquared2 and Jeffrey Campbell (which I actually talked about back in the day).
Not to be a humble brag, but when you have been writing about or studying (or collecting shoes) since before 2007, and you have a bit of a photographic memory, you see lots of opportunities and collection combinations. And I also saw a lot pieces I have have are in the exhibit. I mean, yes, even Bergdorf Goodman recognized it…
But let’s run through some examples:
Jimmy Choo Cinderellas – Theirs and mine
Prada Flower Heels – Theirs and mine
They also had the custom Sophia Webster Chiaras in black and rainbow crystal.
Theirs and mine…
There were a few other notable examples like sliver Manolo Blahnik Sedarabys (the SATC “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” d’Orsay heels), some 1920s satin t-bars and examples from Roger Vivier and Charlotte Olympia, where our collections overlapped.
That said, it is always fun to see a collection of shoes. You can look at what they’ve uploaded to their Flickr page. And maybe someday, I’ll do an exhibit of my own!
Note: There was one really interesting piece that shocked me… More to follow!