About Northampton Museums

Home of the largest collection of shoes! Collections also include art, costume, military history, social history, archaeology and natural sciences

Shoe of the Month – Mary Quant Fashion Boots

Groovy

In the 1960s swinging London became the capital of the fashion world.

Famous as being inventor of the mini skirt, Mary Quant was one of the first designers to aim fashion at the hip and happening trendsetting girls on the street.

Quant’s Chelsea boutique Bazaar opened in 1955 where in the early 1960s she launched her London look of slim line shift dresses with rising hemlines that showed plenty of leg.

‘Legs never had it so good’, boasted the British press.

As hemlines rose, the increase in expanse of leg drew attention to the feet. Quant brought out her Quant a Foot range of fashion boots in bright coloured plastics. These are from the early 1960s.

Mary Quant Fashion Boots

Mary Quant Fashion Boots

 

Shoe of the Month – Clown Jam Shoes

Clown Jam

This pair of customised bright pink glitter shoes were worn by Clown Jam. Clown Jam was one of Northampton’s most popular faces.

Clown Jam was a member of Clowns International for 40 years. He worked with many famous circuses including Zippo Circus and Billy Smart’s Circus. He regularly undertook charity work, entertaining children here and abroad. He appeared at the Lord Mayor’s show every year and was a member of the royal variety club of Great Britain.

Clown Jam Shoes

Clown Jam Shoes

 

We also have Clown Jam’s outfit in the collection too.

Shoe of the Month – Red or Dead

Red or Dead

In 1982 Wayne Hemingway and his wife rented a stall on Camden Market selling second-hand clothes and footwear. Their selling was a success and within a year they had expanded to 16 stalls to be followed by a string of shops. At first they sold 1950s and 60s canvas shoes and Dr Martens.

In 1986 Red or Dead launched their first original footwear range. This included the ‘Watch Shoe’ which was made popular by the boy band Bros. In 1989 they produced their ‘Space Baby’ range.

Red or Dead Space Baby Shoe

Red or Dead Space Baby Shoe

Red or Dead is a reference to Wayne Hemmingway’s ancestry. He is the son of Billy Two Rivers, a Mohawk Indian chief who became heavy weight champion of the world in the 1950s.

Shoe of the Month-Rollermania

Rollermania

The Bay City Rollers were a Scottish pop-rock band from the 60s and 70s. With their unforgettable haircuts, good looks and half-mast tartan trousers they had a strong following among teenage girls. Rollermania peaked in the mid-70s with a stream of top hits including the classics Remember (Sha-la-la), Keep on Dancing, Bye Bye Baby, Shang-a-Lang and Summer Love Sensations.

Bay City Rollers Shoes

Bay City Rollers Shoes

The band made an impact on teen fashion. Fans supported them wearing tartan scarves, homemade tartan trousers and even Bay City Roller inspired shoes. Designed by Barrie K, these shoes were made in 1975.

 

Shoe of the Month – Paduka

Paduka

This style of shoe is called a Paduka. It is made from wood and ivory and dates to the mid nineteenth century. Padukas are India’s oldest footwear. Their open design is suited to the climate, and they keep the sole raised above the sun-baked ground.

Within the Hindu religion, cows are considered holy animals and therefore footwear made of cow leather was not desirable. Footwear worn by holy people or in holy spaces was made out of wood, ivory, metal and sometimes camel leather. Holy men tended to wear very simple wooden padukas, whilst those worn by well-off worshippers tended to be more elaborate. Padukas can be easily removed before entering a sacred space like a temple.

Padukas

Padukas

The Hindu deities Krishna and Rama are often depicted wearing Padukas

Shoe of the Month – Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year

Among some Chinese people, particularly in Southern China, it is believed that children wearing shoes with faces on them hold evil spirits at bay. These faces fool the spirits into thinking that the child is a powerful tiger and so cannot be harmed. The faces not only repel evil spirits, but also provide the wearer with greater strength and protection. These tiger shoes date to 1900.

Tiger Shoes

Tiger Shoes

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. In 2017 the Chinese year starts on 28 January and it is the year of the Rooster

Shoe of the Month-The Co-respondent

The Co-respondent

The style of having white shoes with starkly contrasting black or brown leather first became popular in the 1860s as sportswear, especially for cricket and boating, but these bore little resemblance to the style that became popular from the 1920s onwards and are known as co-respondents.

There are several suggestions as to how this style came to be called the Co-respondent. Divorce was something of a rarity in the 1920s and it was suggested that only a man of such dubious manner, taste and character as to appear in court as the co-respondent in a divorce case would wear such flashy footwear!

Co-respondent-shoe

Co-respondent-shoe