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.
Lucy Johnston is an expert in historical dress and a former curator in the Department of Fashion, Textiles, and Furniture at the V&A. She is now a freelance curator and museum consultant. Her publications include Fashion in Detail: 1800-1900.
Linda Woolley specializes in early and medieval textiles and dress and has written and lectured widely in these fields. A former curator in the V&A's Department of Fashion, Textiles, and Furniture, she is the author of Medieval Life and Leisure in the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries.