The nineteenth century fashion for boots particularly for outdoor wear meant etiquette required a change of shoe once indoors. For both men and women, the indoor slipper became popular.
For men the basic style was a tabbed fronted slip on shoe often worked in a Berlin wool design, tapestry or kelim tapestry weave. This style eventually became known as the Albert slipper, in which the vamp extended upwards to form a tongue resting on the foots instep. The style has remained a classic. Today the Albert slipper is usually made from black velvet with a quilted lining and leather sole.
These slippers sport a wool cross stitch design of stars and circles and are dated 1870-90s.
Emma Hope designed this mule. Made of red velvet, the front section of the shoe, known as the vamp, is decorated with a gold thread diamond design with glass beads. An applique design in gold and cream leather of two cupids is either side of a large gold heart. The embroidery was by Karen Spurgin, 1987-94.
Emma Hope’s tagline is ‘Regalia for Feet’ and anyone celebrating Valentine’s day would surely have a great time in such a romantic design.
Instead of Christmas jumpers we have Christmas slippers.
These Rudolph slippers complete with antlers and red noses were made in 1998 by ‘Kekko Fun Slipper’ in Korea. For many people the song of the misfit reindeer saving the day is an integral part of Christmas.
The first reference to Santa Claus having eight reindeer to draw his sleigh is in Clement C. Moore’s 1823 poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicolas.’ So like many other Christmas traditions – Christmas trees and turkey – Rudolph was established as part of nineteenth century folklore.
Happy Christmas from everyone at Northampton Museums!
These amazing shoes were made Kumiko Nishibuchi in 2007 whilst she was undertaking a shoemaking course at Tresham College in Northamptonshire.
They are a pair of women’s beige leather open toed court shoes with looped straps of leather across the instep. They have a removable collar that forms a fan framing the back of the shoe, attached to the high, tapered heels with Velcro.
Dating from 1690 this buckle latchet shoe has faded from its original vibrant orange and the braid has tarnished. It now appears a completely different shoe to when it was new.
In the late 17th Century such shoes would have made a statement about their owner’s wealth with imported brightly coloured silk and a wide band of silver brocade, like a go-faster stripe, from toe to heel. The brocade is made from very thin silver ribbons or strips woven together by highly skilled craftsmen in a very labour-intensive process.
The needlepoint toes and shaped Louis heel were the height of fashion and the shoes would have been fastened with a cut glass or paste buckle.
This Nigerian clog sandal has been carved from a single piece of wood that has been hollowed-out to create two stilts at front and back. The wood has been decorated with black poker work in geometric patterns around the sides of the clog. Held on the foot with two types of leather thongs; two overlapping wide leather straps are joined by a slimmer, plaited leather cord between the toes. The leather thongs have also been decorated in similar geometric patterns and are threaded through holes in the sole and knotted in place. The sandal has woven leather buttons to fasten the straps together.
Made in California, in 1990, by Two Left Feet these shoes take Carmen Miranda’s signature fruit headdress and relocate it onto flip flops.
These ‘Fruit Flops’ are one of the most cheerful pairs of shoes in our collection. With luscious bunches of green grapes, complete with vine leaves, cherries, flowers and pearl beads decorating the white plastic sandals they cannot help but make people smile.
These women’s plastic jelly shoes are just as important a part of the Northampton shoe industry story as the men’s leather shoes you might automatically think of. They have been made here for over 30 years and are an example of Northampton manufacturers diversifying into new markets while retaining traditional methods and standards.
Originally a family business providing injection moulding services to the boot and shoe industry, in 1986 JuJu Jellies created the original moulded plastic sandals which became known as ‘jelly shoes’. Now a fashion favourite, as well as a summer shoe icon, these shoes are made using the same processes and designs in bright (and glittery) colours. The plastic used to create these shoes is sourced in England and any waste is recycled to be used again.
A very elegant pair of women’s ankle strap sandals with an unusual crossed double strap at the front. The classic pale green leather, oval toes and ankle strap are more reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s than the 1990s, when they were made.
Bruno Manetti is a family company based in Tuscany and embody the Italian design aesthetic which embraces natural materials and traditional workmanship.
With the iconic zig zag knitted textile these are unmistakably Missoni sandals.
Developed in the late 1960s the zig zag design utilised traditional weaving machinery to create this Modernist design. It has been repeatedly used by the Italian fashion house with their distinctive colour palate both for their catwalk collections and when collaborating with other brands.
The shoes themselves are a high fashion interpretation of the espadrille, the Spanish peasant footwear here with blue rope cord around the platform wedge heels. They have ribbon ankle ties to secure them to the wearer’s foot.