From Ferragamo’s humble beginnings to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, from Wonder Woman’s boots to the shoe envy created by the latest Louboutin creation (with a good measure of Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo habit mixed in), Rachelle Bergstein illuminates the social history of shoes in Women from the Ankle Down: the Story of Shoes and How They Define Us. Witty and captivating, she shares how design innovations and trends have coincided with social change. More than a mere fashion choice, shoes have come to signify personal empowerment and economic freedom. Jane Fonda helped lead a fitness craze with a pair of Reebok Freestyles (which, by the way, are back in style); Gwen Stefani and Courtney Love helped change the perception of women in music in wearing pairs of Mary Janes. Men aren’t left out; Bergstein also looks at how Vans, Chuck Taylors Doc Martens transformed the scene, and she even devotes a chapter to Tony Manero’s towering platforms in Saturday Night Fever.
My “shoe confession”? As I sit writing this in my red Italian suede flats from J.Crew, I still believe one shoe can change your life. Hey, it worked for Cinderella!
Image via RachelleBergstein.com