I went to the shoe museum. It was kind of disappointing. I understand that they have to control the environment to ensure that the shoes don't deteriorate, but I'd by lying if I said that being chilled and squinting in the dim lighting was enjoyable.
A lot of the shoes were quite worn out. I guess I expected that the restoration experts would be able to work miracles. If I saw some of those shoes sitting on an old tablecloth for $2 a pair at a lawn sale, I don't think I'd be interested; they were that beat up.
Some of them had been worn by famous people, like Elton John and Pierce Brosnan. I wasn't impressed. I'm not the kind of person who gets excited by being in the same room as one of Marilyn Monroe's stinky old shoes. I mean, they're just shoes after all.
The space boot that had actually been to the moon and back was neat. I didn't take a snapshot of it because the lighting was extra-crappy in that area.
Photo highlights of my visit:
(Taken legally - photos were allowed so long as one did not use a flash.)
SQUEAMISH PERSON ALERT: The first description displays my gross sense of humour.
A replica of the oldest shoe ever discovered. When the original was found, it was still on the foot of a guy who had been naturally mummified. He didn't look so good in the photos they had posted of him. He appeared to be made of beef jerky, with the bones still in. His shoe was made of bearskin, deerskin, and linden twigs. Apparently they field-tested a replica, and found it to be quite comfortable and serviceable.
Itty bitty shoes for ladies who had their feet bound in China back in the day. Ouch.
Itty bitty snowboots for bound feet. Mercy! Imagine tottering around on ice in these.
I shall quote from the text provided by the museum:
"During the Tudor age, the broad physique of King Henry VIII (1491-1547) set the fashion. Throughout Europe, the style-conscious abandoned the attenuated toes of the earlier period and began to wear broad, blunt-toed footwear known as "duck bills" or "cow mouth" shoes. At their most extreme, these wide-toed shoes could be almost as wide as they were long."
I can see "cow mouth shoes" as the next big trend in retro footwear. Moo.
These shoes are from the 1920's display. They are super-pretty and I would totally wear them.
These are French, from the mid-1920's and caught my eye on account of their intricate floral embroidery. So lady-like!
These are from the Roger Vivier (1907 - 1998) collection. He was a French fashion designer who specialized in shoes, and is credited with the design of the first stiletto heel in 1954. Some of his shoes were designed not to be worn, but to be appreciated instead as works of art. He drove the point home by only making one shoe instead of a pair.
Bird shoe. Awwwk!
So there you have it! Shoe museum: done. Once was enough. I'm discovering that I'd like to hang out in the Art Gallery of Ontario for a few hours every week. But shoes? I'd rather just go shopping for them.