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Recollect Shoes

Start Date 29 November 2014
End Date 09 July 2015
Venue Powerhouse Museum
Location Sydney, Australia
Curator Melanie Pitkin
Exhibition display of shoes

MAAS is bringing out its world renowned shoe collection in our Recollect visible collection storage series. Featuring more than 800 pairs of shoes from the 1500s to now, the collection ranges from the first pair of elastic-sided boots in the world, worn by Queen Victoria, to designer names like Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent and Lacroix.

Recollect: Shoes provides a unique visual insight into footwear history and fashions. It will illustrate how our attitudes towards design and ‘comfort’ have changed or, perhaps, remained entirely the same, as well as the impact of new materials and techniques on shoemaking methods.

Highlights of the display include historic shoes from the internationally significant Joseph Box collection. Joseph Box Ltd (today owned by John Lobb Bootmaker Ltd) was a London based shoe company which had its origins in a business making women’s shoes founded by James Sly in 1808. The collection includes remnants of leather shoes from the Middle Ages, excavated from British archaeological sites, intact European shoes from the 1600s to the early 1900s, ethnographic shoes, shoe buckles, tools and spurs, as well as an extensive company archive.

Visitors will be dazzled by a range of men’s and women’s shoes made or worn by celebrity names, such as Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Super Elevated Gillies’, Marc Newson’s cosmonaut-inspired sneakers for Nike, a pair of Charles Jourdan heels worn by Nicole Kidman in the film Moulin Rouge and a pair of cricket boots signed by Sir Donald Bradman. Also on show will be an extensive collection of designer high heels, wedges and boots owned and worn by costume designer and film producer Catherine Martin.

The display would not be complete without a range of shoemaking equipment, including an early 20th century clicking press, shoe lasts and patterns to demonstrate the process of making bespoke (made-to-measure) shoes, in addition to a collection of recent acquisitions, fashion photographs and a section about caring for shoes.

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the installation of Recollect: Shoes [1:14]

Interview with bespoke shoemaker Jodie Morrison [2:32]

Image courtesy of Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Photo: Marinco Kojdanovski