As you've likely noticed from our weekly Breakfast Links, we spend a good deal of time prowling the internet in the name of research. We're history nerds, and we can't help ourselves.
Every so often, though, we stumble across a site that absolutely stuns us. Combine a wealth of information with detailed photographs, and all devoted to one of our favorite topics – shoes! – and we HAVE to share this site with you.
Part of what makes this so exciting is that it doesn't come from one of the usual museums in London, Paris, Toronto, or New York. No, the Shoe Icons site is based in Moscow, and the owners are Shoe-icons Publishing. Their collection was launched in 2003, with the aim of supporting a series of books and other products on the history of shoes as well as creating this wonderful on-line shoe museum.
From the towering mules of the 18th c. to the spangled flats of the Regency, from Victorian half-boots to Jazz Age t-straps: they're all here. There are also sections devoted to modern shoes, searchable by designer, as well as ethnic shoes from around the world. Included, too, are shoe-related advertisements, fashion illustrations, catalogues, and accessories like button-hooks and buckles.
To be sure, there are a few quirks (captions that appear in Russian), but the detailed way that all the shoes are photographed makes comparisons (or browsing) a joy.
Think of it as a Zappos for historical shoes....
Top: Baroque mule with metallic embroidery and red leather heels. France, 1680-1720. Middle: Flat silk slipper, decorated with floral embroidery and paillettes, 1795-1810. Middle: Blue silk high-button boots, 1870. Bottom: T-Strap brocade with gold leather applique shoes, 1920s, Laird, Schober & Co. All photographs from the Shoe Icons site.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.