Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - The DLM German Leather and Shoe Museum in Offenbach presents for the first time a treasure hidden in it's Roger Vivier collections until now. It shows 40 prototypes of the master dating from the 1930s, bringing to light the youthful work of Roger Vivier, a period that has not yet really been explored from 22.03. till 02.11.2014.
Roger Vivier SchuhWERKE
Roger Vivier SchuhWERKE

'Christian Dior – Shoes Created by Roger Vivier' – The creator of the New Look would never have allowed anyone other than a legendary shoe designer sign his name next to his. This is proof of the great esteem Christian Dior held in Roger Vivier.

Vivier was a student of fine arts when he found a part-time job in a shoe factory that belonged to someone in the family, which explains the characteristically sculptural style of the shoes he created all throughout his career. He invented the Stiletto heel, the Comma heel, the Shock heel and many others that defied the laws of gravity. He dreamed up delicious little silk shoes decorated with feathers and pearls for Princess Soraya, Marlene Dietrich and many others. And it was Vivier who gave Brigitte Bardot her thigh-high boots to go with her Harley-Davidson…

From the 1930s on, as designer for Miller and Delman in New York, Vivier revolutionized the North American shoe market. All of his creations were realized on behalf of Laboremus, a subsidiary of the tannery Heyl’sche Lederwerke in Worms-Liebenau, the head office of which was at Place Vendôme in Paris, a stone’s throw away from the great Ritz Hôtel.

DLM German Leather and Shoe Museum Offenbach for the first time presents a treasure hidden in its Roger Vivier collections until now: 40 prototypes of the master dating from the 1930s, bringing to light the youthful work of Roger Vivier, a period that has not yet really been explored. The unique shoes from the House of Dior, those created under the label “Roger Vivier for Saks Fifth Avenue” and the exceptional models on loan from Roger Vivier in Paris, the Pierre Bergé-
Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and the Christian Dior Museum in Granville are so many windows opening onto the universe of a great name in fashion of the 20th century.

The exhibition presents over 100 works, including two dresses of Christian Dior, which will be shown in alternation. The curator of the exhibition is Dr. Rosita Nenno.

Roger Vivier – SchuhWERKE
22.03. – 02.11.2014

DLM Deutsches Ledermuseum Schuhmuseum Offenbach
Frankfurter Str. 86
63067 Offenbach/Main

Opening Hours
Tuesday – Sunday
10:00 – 17:00

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - The 'Berlin Shoe Days' represent the different events throughout Berlin‘s new trade show 'What About Shoes', which takes place from the 21st until 23rd of February 2014. The shoe museum is one of the Berlin Shoe Days events and it is also the first one of that kind ever in Germany‘s capital. In order to make this outstanding presentation happen, we started the cooperation with Dutch designer and curator Liza Snook and her ‘Virtual Shoe Museum’. In cooperation with Ivan Civic, artist and curator of a very special No74 adidas selection.
Berlin's 1st International Shoe Museum
Berlin's 1st International Shoe Museum

Berlin‘s first international shoe museum shows over fifty fancy samples from different designers from all over the World. Some of them were already part of the shoe exhibitions 'Starker Auftritt – Experimental Shoe Design' at the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts in Leipzig and 'Auf Schritt ind Tritt' at the Museum Villa Roth in Ulm.

You are welcome to see these remarkable works at the ground floor of the Postbahnhof next to the trade show 'What About Shoes'.

Friday 21.02. and Saturday 22.02.2014
10.00 a.m. - 07.00 p.m. nonstop

Berliner Postbahnhof (ground floor, side entrance)
Straße der Pariser Kommune 8 10243 Berlin

Sunday 23.02.2014
10.00 a.m. - 06.00 p.m. nonstop

Entrance fee:
€ 5,00 (no presage, box office only)

Combi ticket for SLEM & Museum: € 8,50 (no presage, box office only)

SLEM Institute workshops & lectures

The Dutch education and innovation institute SLEM is our second cooperation with the Netherlands. They offer several different workshops and lectures for suppliers, exhibitors and other interested parties throughout the days. Hot topics will be trends, Spring/ Summer 2015 and later sustainability and creation of a micro brand. The world-renowned footwear forecaster and consultant Nicoline van Enter and her collegues will present 3 workshops and lectures per day in the middle of the shoe museum at the Postbahnhof.

Friday 21.02.2014
12.00 a.m. - 12.45 p.m Lecture 'Trend' for buyers
03.00 p.m. - 04.00 p.m Workshop 'Sustainability & Micro Brand' for students/companies
06.00 p.m. - 06.45 p.m Lecture 'Trend 'for buyers

Saturday 22.02.2014
11.00 a.m. - 11.45 a.m Lecture 'Trend' for buyers
02.00 p.m. - 03.00 p.m. Workshop 'Sustainability & Micro Brand' for students/companies
04.00 p.m. - 05.00 p.m Lecture 'Spring/Summer 2015 and later' for suppliers

Sunday 23.02.2014
11.00 a.m. - 11.45 a.m. Lecture 'Trend' for buyers

Friday, January 31, 2014 - The Kunsthal Rotterdam will reveal the astonishing story of women's shoe design, from 1900 to the present, during this spring from February 1 till May 11 2014. S.H.O.E.S - Sexy Heels Or Easy Sandals will exhibit more than 500 shoes created by celebrated designers such as André Perugia and Salvatore Ferragamo, international 'stars' Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, as well as contemporary and rising young talent.
S.H.O.E.S Head over Heels
S.H.O.E.S Head over Heels

Shoes as genuine, finely fashioned objets d'art, ranging from Victorian boots to seductive slippers and from high heels to futuristic pieces. The unbelievable variety and inventiveness of so many shoe designs is a delight for the eye: the S.H.O.E.S. exhibition is a must-see for anyone with a passion for fashion.

From practical design to status symbol
Over the years various decorative elements have made their appearance into the world of shoe fashion: amongst others the floating heel, open heel, platform shoes, ankle straps and bows. Designers have constantly experimented with form, materials, colour and comfort. Cross-fertilisation and retro-reference have been combined with new experimentation. The woman's shoe has become increasingly elegant, and heel height has reached as much as 15cm. New technologies and materials such as micro-fibre, elastic and synthetics have made extreme forms, sometimes highly erotically charged, possible. The rise of the "couturier" fashion houses and their designers have taken the woman's shoe from attractive accessory to ultimate status symbol. Just as Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker swears by her Manolo Blahniks, many women long for new shoes as for new love.

Jewels from renowned collections
Numerous star pieces from celebrated collections will be on display in the S.H.O.E.S. exhibition - a collaboration with the Fashion Museum Hasselt - such as Perugia's surrealist 1931 design 'Homage to Braque' from the International Footwear Museum in Romans-sur-Isère, as well as the first platform-sole sandal that Ferragamo designed in 1938 for Judy Garland. Naturally, there is also place for Roger Vivier, who invented the stiletto in 1954. Closer to home, many other splendid designs, such as the 1960 transparent plastic pump by Beth & Herbert Levine from the Fashion Museum Hasselt collection, and the 1985 colourful stiletto by Charles Jourdan from the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum in Waalwijk. These grand-masters of shoe design will be featured alongside The Netherlands' own Jan Jansen, himself a member of the international elite since the early 1970's. Some well-known contemporary Dutch and Belgian designers will also be broadly represented in S.H.O.E.S., including Rem D. Koolhaas, Jan Taminiau and the rising talents Katrien Herdewijn and Nienke van Dee (winner of the Global Footwear Design Award 2013).

S.H.O.E.S Head over Heels
February 1 till May 11 2014

Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341
3015 AA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Housewarming Kunsthal
Saturday 1 February 2pm-7pm
Free entrance

Photo: Court Shoes by Vivienne Westwood, 1993 © 2013 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - After the exhibition Starker Auftritt! Experimental Shoe design with the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts in Leipzig, Germany (where all visitor records were broken since the re-opening, we are very happy to announce the (adjusted and extended) sequel to this shoe exhibition at Museum Villa Rot in Ulm in South Germany. Also co-curated Liza Snook of the Virtual Shoe Museum. This exhibition will be on show from 27th of October till 16th of February 2014.
Auf Schritt und Tritt - At Every Turn, Shoes in Art and Design
Auf Schritt und Tritt - At Every Turn, Shoes in Art and Design

Whether sneaker with synthetic fiber shank, whether glued high-heels with sequins, whether welted Western Boots or vulcanized shoes for children: In addition to a purely protective and fashion function shoes equally carry identity, socio-economic status, group membership or personality of the wearer. But they also hold a creative potential. In the hands of artists, architects and designers the fashionable everyday object turns into spectacular and unique autonomous sculpture. The trend for extravagant design creation has captured not only the shoe industry in the recent years. Frequently, international artists, architects and artists are inspired by the social and aesthetic aspects of the shoe. Between design and shape fantasy, mass consumption and erotic their objects, installations and video works open up a new perspective on the reality of the footwear.

The exhibition at the Museum Villa Rot presents an amazing topic: About 90 fascinating and bizarre design objects show shoes as architectures, socially critical opinions, physiological absurdities and objects that are not recognizable as footwear at first glance. At the same time the crossover with contemporary artistic positions grants a variety of formal aesthetic and cultural references. Whether wearabale or unwearable: As an art object, as social criticism, as an ecological solution or as fetish, made out of high-tech and natural materials, wood, ceramics, glass, paper, leather or fabric, the shoe acquires an autonomous artistic statement beyond everyday use.

The exhibition at the Museum Villa Rot was also developed in collaboration with and the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts.

The following artists, architects and designers are already chosen and invited to take part in the exhibition:
Mihai Albu / Sol Alonso / Irene Andessner / Shani Bar / Rielle Beekmans / Aart van Bezooyen / Marloes ten Bhomer / Götz Bury / May Y. Cheung Hoffman / Simsa Cho / Aki Choklat / Willie Cole / Fantich & Young / Alexander Fielden / Sylvie Fleury / Sakir Gökcebag / Tabitha Gwyn Osler / Zaha Hadid / Julian Hakes / Benjamin John Hall / Chau Har Lee / Iris van Herpen x United Nude / Bart Hess / Ivo Hofsté / Daisuke Horie / Marita Huurinainen / INSA / Peter Jakubik / Jan Jansen / Lauren Johnstone / Nici Jost / Kei Kagami / Kaarina Kaikkonen / Dora Kloppenburg / KUULA + JYLHA / Maskull Lasserre / Kobi Levi / Sahil Lungani / Eelko Moorer / Marie Oka / OLEK / Yu Otaki / Omar Angel Perez / Peter Popps / Marieka Ratsma / Pablo Reinoso / Winde Rienstra / Svenja Ritter / Manami Sato / Elena Savchenko / Iris Schieferstein / Paul Schietekat / Deborah Sengl / Shoise / Ivanka Ska / Bruno Tansens / (IN) DECOROUS TASTE / Yukiko Terada / Ainsley-t by Stuart Thom / Tetsuya Uenobe / Federico Uribe / Jozefien Vandermarliere / Anna Vasof / Nick Veasey / ILJA by Ilja Visser / Leanie van der Vyver / Julius Welby / Lie van der Werff / Souzan Youssouf & Naim Josefi / Erwina Ziomkowska

The museum Villa Rot is a contemporary exhibition house with an intercultural goal. International solo exhibitions and collective exhibitions which deal with the formal border area and with the border area with regard to content of art, culture and society are featured. The aim is to present contemporary positions and tendencies of contemporary art to the public at large. A special focus is therefore on the extensive offers particularly for families, adolescents and children.
The holder of the museum Villa Rot is the non-profit Hoenes-foundation. Due to its commitment, the museum Villa Rot distinguished itself since its opening in 1992 as an international exhibition house. After comprehensive reconstruction work and a programmatically repositioning under the direction of Dr. Stefanie Dathe, the museum Villa Rot could reach a great resonance of visitors, professional audience, patrons, sponsors as well as of the media.

Museum Villa Rot
Auf Schritt und Tritt - At Every Turn, Shoes in Art and Design
Wednesday – Saturday : 14 – 17
Sunday : 11 – 17
Location: Schloßweg 2, 88483 Burgrieden, Germany

Photo's: 'Apex Predator Empire Shoes' x-ray by Nick Veasey and 'Kitty' by Willie Cole.

Thursday, October 03, 2013 - Intrigued by the wonderful Shoe hat by Elsa Schiaparelli we have asked Sabina Stent to give her vision on this design. Sabina is a writer with a PhD on Women Surrealists and a specialist on Elsa Schiaparelli's surreal fashion. Italian fashion designer Schiaparelli (1890-1973) is regarded one of the most prominent figures in fashion in the 1920s through 50s, along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival. Her designs were strongly influenced by Surrealist artists like Salvador Dalí and Alberto Giacometti.
Schiaparelli's Shoe Hat
Schiaparelli's Shoe Hat

Through her collaborators with Salvador Dalí Elsa Schiaparelli brought Surrealist art to life and, in the words of Dilys Blum, took ‘fashion out of the closet and turned it into ‘dressing with attitude,’(1) transforming her female followers into walking sculptures.

The erotic appeal of shoes has always existed in society, most notably how a high heel corresponds to a sexually dominate female. This was a partnership of mutual respect; Dalí once described how Schiaparelli’s dresses ‘create a type of feminine beauty corresponding to man’s erotic imagination’, (2) while Wood has commented how the duo’s collaborations were to ‘radically alter the way in which fashion and Surrealism were perceived,’ (3) as ‘through Schiaparelli and Dalí’s work, the body was refashioned by Surrealism, and Surrealism was in turn subsumed into the cultural mainstream.(4) Using pre-existing themes surrounding female sexuality and erotica, Schiaparelli’s Surreal fashion literally and figuratively turned mainstream convention upside down. Her use of clothing to display sexuality was a carefully crafted process exploring female fetishism, with outfits designed to be obviously sexual without exposing excess flesh.

In Shoe Hat (winter 1937-1938) we are able to see how Schiaparelli has reversed the feminine ideal; the head has become the object of erotic desire while the shoe’s heel represents the female lost phallus and a manifestation of Freud’s unconscious theory. Most intriguing is how the hat remains feminine despite the phallic high heel. Commenting on the outfit, Evans and Thornton note how ‘the edges of the pockets are appliquéd to look like lips, and worn with two brooches on the lapels in the form of lips in profile’(5) therefore allowing Freud’s previously castrated female “playful” possession of a male phallus obtained through the fashion accessory. However, what is most interesting is that while clothes function to hide the phallus, this hat is displayed prominently upon the female body; it takes pride of place upon her head and does not want to be disguised. The female proudly accepts her symbolic genitalia and thrives in the power it possesses.

The outfit is a contradiction balancing male and female gender associations; the simple design of the suit, dark, high-necked and covering the body reaffirms and hints at what is underneath the garment. The lip embellishment on the pockets represents the female genatalia as a ready vessel for the phallic heigh-heeled Shoe Hat to penetrate. By merging both genders Schiaparelli’s design offers a contrasting depiction of sexuality and how the female body is able to possess both male and female attributes. In addition, Shoe Hat alludes to oral sex, evoking disgust or even grotesque associations surrounding the female mouth as a giver of sexual desire. The result is that any sexual urge originally evoked is now repressed. This is because the mouth, as a moist orifice, has similar characteristics to the anus; both signify sallic organs that require a phallus for sexual penetration. As Freud once described, ‘the use of the mouth of a sexual organ is regarded as a perversion if the lips (or tongue) of one person are brought into contact with the genitals of another, but not if the mucous membranes of the lips of both of them come together.’ (6)

What is evident throughout Schiaparelli’s designs, as with all female Surrealists, is how these works were constantly imbued with associations of the feminine and female fetish, allowing the viewer to see how they accentuate the playfulness of the female body. Although her pieces were created with the intention to cover the body and prevent unnecessary exposure, they are still able to highlight certain areas of the anatomy through carefully placed detail and accessories, either accentuating the pubic area or reclaiming the missing male phallus. However, this has been achieved through the gaining of clothing as opposed to losing it, preventing associations of pornography and further vilification of the female form. Furthermore, as these designs have been created by a female artist for the female body, they act as a celebration instead of inciting issues of pornography and misogyny. This makes for an intriguing question: if these were the products and designs of male Surrealists, would they have differed in their approach and acceptance?

The work of female Surrealists, in acknowledging traditional male themes, produced whimsical pieces that gently mocked patriarchal issues and served to balance any misogynous associations within the movement. Their work was not sexist and remained true to themes of the bizarre and even the erotic. Although influenced by traditional male Surrealism, the female artists did not replicate, instead choosing to enhance original concepts. Although not transporting the movement into the production of subdued and mainstream pieces, they served to extend the boundaries of Surrealism and widen its appeal to a larger audience.

We remember Schiaparelli as both a pioneer of female Surrealism and of fashion, of transforming male sexual domination into female empowerment. Using tools and conventions at her disposal she created a brand of Surrealism that was functional and feminine, playful and provocative, while displaying new means of flaunting femininity and female empowerment. She created a female Sexuality, and a method of female Surrealism in every sense.

1 Dilys E. Blum, Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2003), p. 254.
2 Ghislaine Wood, The Surreal Body: Fashion & Fetish (London: V&A Publications, 2007), p. 103.
3/4 Ibid, p. 64.
5 Caroline Evans and Minna Thornton, ‘Fashion, Representation, Femininity’, Feminist Review, 38 (Summer, 1991), pp.48­66 (p. 53).
6 Sigmund Freud. On Sexuality (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd, 1977), pp.63­64.

This Shoe hat (and pictures) is part of the collection by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The original version of this article Fetishizing the Feminine: the Surreal Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli was published at Edinburgh University Press in September 2011.

Recommended books on this subject by the Virtual Shoe Museum:
Books Fashion & Surrealism by Francois Baudot, ISBN 9782843233784

Fashion & Surrealism by Richard Martin, ISBN 9780847810734

Vreemde Dingen. Surrealisme en Design by Ghislaine Woods and Thimo te Duits, ISBN 9789069182223

Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations (Metropolitan Museum of Art) by Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda, ISBN 9780300179552

Read more by Sabina Stent.