The World at Your Feet: Bata Shoe Museum

Image of The World at Your Feet: Bata Shoe Museum
Release Date: 
May 5, 2020
Rizzoli Electa
Reviewed by: 

“While this attention to shoes may seem like a recent development, footwear has been a key feature of dress around the world for millennia and has been used to express a wide range of social ideas, including those regarding gender and status.”

The World at Your Feet may not be exactly what you are expecting from a book with this title, but what you will get is an amazing examination, exploration, and visual history of the whys and wherefores of shoes spanning centuries—many centuries, from BCE to 20th century Christian Louboutin.

The monograph celebrates the silver anniversary of the Bata Museum in Toronto, a shoe museum conceived by Sonja Bata who made shoes the focus of her lifetime obsession by collecting them during her travels. This is not just a catalog of the museum’s holdings but a mere sampling of what Bata was able to assemble and explain why this accessory is so essential to the big picture of fashion.

The shoes are shown by color, which is a stand-alone manner of representation and explanation within the genre. Author Semmelhack provides the reader with far more information than just about the shoes themselves as she offers a variety of historical perspectives, giving the time in which each shoe came into use and gained popularity. The text is wonderfully enlightening without being pedantic and gives the reader a multilevel education about the world of shoes.

The photography is just perfect as the reader can easily see the incredible detail that is explained within each description Semmelhack offers for each style.

This fashionphile and reader was easily swept into the world of shoes, their importance, and their history without experiencing a moment of boredom.