Want to walk in Stuart Weitzman’s shoes? Or at least his historical shoe collection? Walk this way..
Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes, opening today April 20 at the New York Historical Society and running through October 8, 2018, offers a historical and cultural overview of footwear. It outlines how shoes how shoes transcended utility to ultimately represent coveted objects of desire. The exhibition highlights 130 pairs of shoes from the iconic designer’s extensive private collection, assembled over three decades with his wife Jane Gershon Weitzman.
The exhibition will explore larger trends in American economic history, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as makers, designers, and entrepreneurs.
“Walk This Way will surprise and delight visitors with its unexpected lens on women’s history through Stuart Weitzman’s unparalleled historic footwear collection,” says Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New York Historical Society. “Shoes on view range from designs to be worn in the privacy of a woman’s home, shoes that American suffragists wore as they marched through city streets, ‘sexy’ heels that reflected changing norms of female aesthetics, and professional shoes suitable for the increasing numbers of women in the workforce. We are thrilled to be able to offer the public this unique opportunity to explore the private collection of a collector extraordinaire who is also America’s top shoe designer.
The exhibition explores broad societal trends, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as makers, designers, and entrepreneurs.
Walk This Way explores the process of shoemaking, one of the first industries to embrace large-scale mechanization. By 1850, shoemaking was America’s second-largest industry after agriculture, and as of 1909, New York was the third-largest producer of shoes in the country. In the early 1900s, when women made up less than 20% of the total industrial workforce, one-third of the workers in shoe factories were women. Considered radical for its time, by 1904 the Boot & Shoe Workers Union constitution called for “uniform wages for the same class of work, regardless of sex.”
For more information, visit www.nyhistory.org.
Some of our favorites from the exhibit: