Shoes is an amazing and extensively researched volume that speaks only to the subject of shoes. The authors provide the evolution and the revolutions that have occurred within this category of accessories, and the timing couldn’t be better. In today’s sphere of fashion, shoes have become one of the largest areas of growth potential within the industry.
If there was ever a case of “size doesn’t matter” this would be it as the rather diminutive size of this book defies what lies between the covers. The reader is exposed to a historical examination of shoes laced with the trends as well as the stories that surround the times and the influences that spurred these changes. What cannot be overlooked is the all-important glossary at the end of the book as well as the visuals that tell a story even without the text.
This book must be read to gain its full benefit. The reader should be prepared for what some might consider a case of too much information, but others will just revel in the details that are proffered by these authors. Johnston and Woolley trace the trajectory of shoes from medieval times to the present with incredible photos which are part and parcel of the V&A collection.
One of the more standout features of the “story” is that the authors do not focus solely, pun intended, on women’s footwear but also feature the men’s styles of each era. What is most striking is that the reader should be able to quite literally identify the origins of what we see offered in stores today. The informed reader will realize that as is the case in most fashion that there is little that hasn’t been done before, and the newness is derived by how the original has morphed and been massaged to appear as au courant in today’s marketplace.
Let’s say that while this book may appear to be less than impressive on the outside; but its content and context more than make up for its less than significant stature.