Wellington boots have evolved from the original style developed during the Napoleonic Wars and named after the First Duke of Wellington. For much of the Noughties they have been synonymous with Glastonbury and Kate Moss.
The practical wellington has had a close relationship with fashion throughout its history. The close fitting boots were a key part of the ‘heroic’ uniforms of the Napoleonic era as epitomised by the elaborate uniforms of the 10th Hussars. The dress uniform was designed by the Prince Regent, later George IV, and was so impractical that they became known as ‘The Prince’s Dolls’.
Modern wellingtons were first an anti-fashion statement by those with a lifestyle to warrant them that were later adopted by the London fashion set in response to the conditions at Glastonbury. This lead to Hunter wellies in particular becoming part of the festival ‘uniform’ and having an unexpected icon within British fashion with the desirability and cache to match.
For more information about the Duke of Wellington’s wellingtons see this Shoe of the Month from 2015:
These limited edition Adidas Originals Kermit the Frog trainers were part of the 2005 relaunch of Adidas’ Adicolor range. The original 1983 Adicolor range were white trainers that were sold with special quick drying pens to allow the wearer to customise their footwear. This individuality and the innovative designs created led to their cult status.
The 2005 range continues the humour and quirkiness of the concept by collaborating with a group of artists and pop culture icons, like Kermit.
These lovely girl’s button boots from 1890 are a little battered. They are stained, faded and have been squashed.
But underneath the scalloped button holes is a hint of their original beauty.
When new the kid leather of these boots would have been a bright blue with contrasting white glass buttons and pink satin lining. The leather has now faded to dirty cream but the elegant shape of the boots with their rounded square toes, low covered Louis heels and shaped top remains.
Happy New Year from everyone at Northampton Museums and all the best for 2018!
These beautiful blue/grey satin court shoes sporting a bow and diamante trim were made under the Christian Dior label for Harrods, London, in about 1955.
Christian Dior is famous for designing the New Look in 1947. Characteristics of this new look were a jacket nipped in at the waist and a wide flowing skirt. A hat, gloves and of course a pair of court shoes with pointed toes and stiletto heels completed the look.
Shoe designer Roger Vivier usually takes the credit for inventing the stiletto heel. As shoe designer to Christian Dior from 1953, Vivier designed bespoke shoes for Dior’s couture collection as well as models for a ready-made series that carried both of their names on the label.
This classic Oxford shoe was made by the George Webb factory.
George Webb and his two sons, Dennis and Frank established the business in 1927. They manufactured men’s welted footwear at the Mentone Works in Brockton Street, Kingsthorpe Northampton. The works were extended in 1935 and again in 1967. In the 1960s they also opened factories in both Wellingborough and Walgrave.
George Webb made beautiful men’s shoes under the brands of Mentone, Castillo, World-Walk and Savile Row.
Japanese shoemaker Toshinosuke Takegahara of the Authentic Shoe & Company hand made this pair of exquisite leather toe thong sandals. They show perfectly the great skill involved in creating such traditional footwear.
This style is known as Zori in Japan. The design is thought to have been developed in the mid 16th century by Sen-no-rikyu, one of Japan’s famous artists. It was a very practical sandal as it ensured that the wearer’s feet were kept dry on the snow covered ground. Special socks called tabi would have been worn which have a separate big toe to enable them to be worn more comfortably. You may have seen similar shoes called geta. These have a toe thong too but have an elevated platform sole.