An engaging and authoritative overview of the history of footwear from the Middle Ages to today, illustrated with rare and luxurious examples from the V&A’s collection
Shoes have always captured the imagination, and communicated the priorities and ambitions of the wearer. In the reign of Henry VIII, exaggerated shapes and wide toes were footwear’s reflection of the aggressive social climate of court, while engravings of Queen Victoria show impossibly narrow slippers, worn in pursuit of nineteenth-century ideals of daintiness. Contemporary shoe styles continue to challenge our inherited notions of beauty and status.
After a general introduction, illustrated chronological chapters retrace the history of footwear from the Middle Ages to today, featuring shoes and boots that once belonged to both anonymous and famous men and women, from battered old “chimney shoes” hidden away for good luck to the elegant styles of the Renaissance, from Elizabethan mules to the first stilettos. A detailed glossary, bibliography, and index conclude the book.