Curator Pamela Parmal can motor along in her Kate Spade flats, which is useful because the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's new footwear exhibit is spread out along a half-mile trail through the building.
BOSTON — Curator Pamela Parmal can motor along in her Kate Spade flats, which is useful because the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's new footwear exhibit is spread out along a half-mile trail through the building.
"Walk This Way," running through March 23, juxtaposes 32 pairs of shoes with objects in the museum's permanent gallery. Sometimes the shoe-object pairing is one of design inspiration, as in a 1991 Vivienne Westwood platform pump and two panels of early 18th-century brocade silk that appears to have inspired it. Other times it's a cultural wink, such as Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka's rubber-coated cleat near a Greek amphora showing the barefoot athletes of antiquity.
The MFA's first shoe exhibit since the Seventies is intended to lure visitors deep into permanent collections, which can lack attention amid the fanfare of traveling shows. Patrons who want to see "Walk" in its entirety will need to hoof it from the Etruscan galleries to contemporary studio craft galleries and back.
That's what Parmal does. Zipping past a laboratory where a depiction of George Washington on horseback is being conserved on the mammoth canvas "The Passage of the Delaware" by Thomas Sully, she stops at a pair of Italian "slap sole" shoes with silver embroidery, dating from the 1660s. The shoe takes its name from a thin, extra sole running over the opening between the ball of the foot and the heel that would have "slapped" as the wearer walked. The Italian pair sits next to a Marc Jacobs' fall 2006 suede silver snakeskin and tulle runway shoe with a similar, bridge-like sole.
"We wanted to make some of the pairings a surprise," said Parmal, the David and Roberta Logie curator of Textile and Fashion Arts. With MFA director Malcolm Rogers, Parmal has been on a mission to strengthen and more frequently show the museum's contemporary fashion collections. "We wanted to show what these objects can reveal about the cultures who made them and the people who wore them."
Then she was off again, past students sketching Egyptian scarab beetles to nod at a Miu Miu patent leather wedge with a gilded, carved wooden sole ensconced next to similarly gilded, 18th-century rococo furniture.Then it's on to Marilyn Monroe's brown suede Delman sandals, displayed next to an Andy Warhol print of the screen siren. The show also contains a pair of Henri Clootens men's thigh boots, used for the theater or costume balls, and ornate Turkish foot stilts, known as kabkabs. The foot stilts, covered with ivory, silver and mother-of-pearl inlay, were used to keep bathers' feet off watery tile, an ancient equivalent of flip-flops. They are paired with an exoticized 1870 Jean-Léon Gérôme canvas titled "Moorish Bath," showing a nude woman being waited on by an attendant in a setting where the stilts might have been used.
Chronologically, the shoes range from a Nubian thong sandal circa 593-568 B.C. (next to a colossal granite statue carved wearing an identical style) to 2007 Manolo Blahnik mary janes. The latter are paired with a shell-toe Run DMC-designed Adidas Superstar 35, in a vignette that's either the first or last word, depending on where you start the tour, about shoes as potent status symbols.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye