Shoe of the Month – Cow’s Mouth

Cow’s Mouth

We get some interesting donations to the Shoe Collection and this shoe is a replica of a much earlier style.

The medieval poulaine, which sported a very distinctive long and pointed toe, disappeared from fashion by 1500. It was replaced with the Tudor cow’s mouth, also known as the hornbill, platypus or the bear paw. This was a flat soled shoe with a broad toe. It could be a simple slip-on shoe or, alternately, have a bar strap across the foot or be fastened with a small buckle. In the 1500s the merchant classes across Europe were beginning to enjoy an altogether wider, more relaxed style. This was a time of great political, intellectual and social change in Europe that coincided with an increase in both the presence and influence of a rich and powerful bourgeoisie. Naturally, the fashions of the day reflected this. Just think of King Henry VIII with his square boxed padded shoulders echoed by his broad toed shoes.

Cow's Mouth Shoes

Cow’s Mouth Shoes

Cow’s mouths were worn across society though the more fancy and shapely they were the higher you were on the social ladder. Amazingly, the soles of some shoes during Henry’s reign reached an incredible 17 cm (6½ in).

This shoe with its wooden last were probably made to illustrate the Tudor style or perhaps for fancy dress?

Shoe of the Month – Beverley’s Trainers

Beverley’s Trainers

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is home to the best public collection of trainers.   The collection covers 1900 to the present day and many well- known and not so well known brands. We are always pleased to add to this collection, so it was with great delight that one of our volunteers on the Virtually Shoe project brought in these trainers as a donation.

Beverley bought them Shoe Zone for £12.99 in 2013. She was keen for a pair of her own shoes to become part of the collection. They are a great example of affordable trainers from the high street.

Beverley's Trainers

Beverley’s Trainers

Shoe of the Month-The Glass Slipper

The Glass Slipper

Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper is a classic feature in one of the most popular Christmas pantomimes of all time.

This glass slipper is too small for Cinderella but in the nineteenth century, such shoe-shaped items were often used to display flowers and as novelty items. They were fashioned from pressed glass made by steam powered presses.

Glass Slipper

Glass Slipper

Glass maybe the acknowledged material for Cinderella’s shoes but in many versions of the story, Cinderella’s shoes are described as golden.

There was an erroneous story that the slippers of Charles Perrault’s story were not made of glass but of fur. It was thought that the confusion sprang from a mistranslation of the word vair meaning squirrel fur rather than verre meaning glass. In fact the slipper has always been glass in European tradition.

We wish you a shoe-tastic Christmas and a Happy Shoe year.

Shoe of the Month – Joanne Stoker

Joanne Stoker

This fabulous shoe was designed by Joanne Stoker.

Joanne-Stoker Shoe

Joanne-Stoker Shoe

Stoker’s shoes, handmade in England, reflect her passion for art, architecture and travel. These passions are then translated into pieces of art we can all wear every day.

Joanne studied at the renowned Cordwainers College in London where she graduated with a Masters in Footwear Design. Mentored by Jimmy Choo, she soon established her own eponymous shoe brand.

She has an instantly recognisable signature – sculptural and architectural heels reflecting her love of cubism and her obsession with architecture. Her shoes would definitely make you stand out in the crowd.

We are always delighted to add shoes designed by contemporary shoe designers to our ever expanding shoe collection.

 

 

Shoe of the Month – Child’s Leather Polish Kierpce Shoes

Shoe of the Month – Child’s Leather Polish Kierpce Shoes

Child's Leather Polish Kierpce Shoes

Child’s Leather Polish Kierpce Shoes

These traditional Polish shoes have an 18th Century style design known as Kierpce. They are made from one piece of cowhide and handcrafted by individuals of the Górale tribe, from the southern mountainous region of Poland, who are famous as expert craftsmen in leather and wood. The Górale footwear is specifically designed to be comfortable in both flat and mountainous terrain.

This pair of handmade children’s brown leather Kierpce moccasin style shoes have a bar strap fasten with metal buckles. They have been decorated with fire branding and are hand-embroidered whipstitch around the toe in traditional Polish designs.

These shoes were donated in 2012 by a local resident, Kate, who bought them for her three year old daughter during a trip home to Poland. Kate has been volunteering with the Virtually Shoes Project and got a lovely surprise when she unpacked the shoes she had donated to the museum.

Kate said: “These shoes are every day for me, I have bought lots. It will be exciting to take my daughter to see her shoes on display in the shoe galleries at Northampton Museum.”

These shoes, which are part of the World Footwear Collection, have now been photographed from eight different angles and will be included in the online Virtually Shoes database when it launches in Spring 2016.

If you would like to volunteer with the Virtually Shoes Project then please visit the volunteer opportunities page.

Shoe of the Month – On the Stage

On the Stage

These amazing black leather boots belonged to Kathleen Gregory, who in the late 1930s trained as a dancer with Betty Fox and Helena Lehmiski in her home town of Birmingham. Just after the outbreak of World War Two, at the age of sixteen, she began her stage career as a dancer and chorister in musical comedy, pantomimes, revues and variety shows.

It is unknown exactly when she acquired the Big Boots or when she learned and initially performed the special dance in them; however the photograph of Kathie wearing them can be dated 1939-1941.

She often referred to the boots as her Little Tich boots as there was an old variety music hall act by a man of that name. Throughout the war years Kathie performed in shows which toured the UK, the company moving en masse by train from one town to another.

Big Boots

Big Boots

The dancers and choristers were not named individually on the programmes, but acknowledged as The Lehmiski Ladies, John Tiller’s Girls and The Danetree Girls. The Flying Ballet was another speciality in which Kathie performed. Kathie performed in Northampton at The New Theatre in The Arcadians July 9th – 15th 1944 and The Desert Song April 8th – 14th and again 21st – 27th 1947. Kathie married in 1948 and continued to perform in shows in Birmingham and in South Wales until family life made it unfeasible.

 

Shoe of the Month – Beaded Boot

It’s all in the detail.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is always keen to collect footwear from new and contemporary shoe designers, and so was delighted to welcome  this stunning boot to its collection.

Laura Risbridger graduated from De Montford University in Leicester with a degree in Footwear Design (BA Hons). She has since gone on to work with designers and shoemakers  in the UK and in Germany working on handmade shoes.

This boot was designed as part of a small collection put together in 2010 that was inspired by a fascination for old Romanian gypsy culture and their love of decorative embellishment.

The boot has thousands of tiny glass and Swarovski beads that were all individually hand appliquéd on to the leather upper, which  took over 100 hours to complete.

Beaded Boot

Beaded Boot

Laura said: “This technique  is something I love to do, really bringing back the glamour and art of the old shoemakers who created one off, beautiful couture shoes. Keeping alive the craftsmanship of shoemakers before with modern techniques and design is both a privilege and a pleasure.”