The name of the current exhibit at The Museum at FIT (MFIT) is Boots: The Height of Fashion
It is the first exhibition at MFIT to focus exclusively on women’s boots. Graduate students curated the show that shows 20 pairs of women’s boots by modern designers, like Paul Poiret, Martin Margiela, and Christian Louboutin. I wouldn't want to lose the nuances of design by rendering a description in to my own words, so here's what the press release states:.
Boots emerged as a modern fashion phenomenon during the last century and evolved to become a staple of the fashionable woman’s wardrobe. From ankle-skimming booties to thigh-high platforms, the boot has held a transformative power for women. Boots: The Height of Fashion examines how women’s boots have become powerful expressions of sexuality, rebellion, and status.
The exhibition begins with a walking boot by Jack Jacobus, circa 1900. [that's the boot pictured above] Considered progressive yet sensible, the walking boot became a wardrobe staple for the on-the-go woman at the turn of the century. This particular boot, however, with its tightly fitted ankle, curved high heel, and red silk lining is more daring and seductive than it is practical. A showstopper in the streets, it exemplified a fashion shift that in turn reflected a change in the social position and status of select women.
The section of the exhibition titled “Sex” includes five pairs of boots, each of which makes a distinctive statement. A highlight of this section is Christian Louboutin’s high-heeled scarlet satin boot, from his fall 1994-95 collection, which conveys sex appeal and powerful femininity with its signature red sole, gold hardware, and passementerie details.
The “Rebellion” section of the exhibition explores the power of boots as a challenge to the status quo. Featured is a pair of 1963 Anello & Davide boots that were worn by Jane Holzer. The Chelsea boot design was combined with a higher Cuban heel to create a youthful look, and the style was worn by men as well as women. In fact, the Beatles felt that the boots complemented their “mod” image. This boot, so emblematic of “Swinging London” fashion, played a key role in narrowing the gender gap in 1960s fashion.
The “Status” section of the exhibition includes boots by important designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Manolo Blahnik, and Paul Poiret. A pair of peasant-style boots worn by Poiret’s wife and muse, Denise, “stopped traffic in Paris” according to Poiret’s biographer Palmer White, and created a buzz when Madame Poiret was photographed wearing them during the couple’s tour of the United States in 1918. Low-heeled, knee high, simply designed, and crafted of soft lambskin leather, these boots were the height of fashion in the early 20th century.
In addition to showcasing boots from MFIT’s collection, Boots: The Height of Fashion includes a special section on the practices involved in choosing, preserving, and preparing boots for exhibition. This behind-the-scenes view of conservation training presents issues and dialogues that arise in the care of museum objects.
For information on the Couture Council, call 212 217.4532 or email email@example.com.
Museum Location and Hours
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street
Tuesday-Friday: noon-8 pm
Saturday: 10 am-5 pm
Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays
Admission is free and open to the public