The design gauntlet has been thrown down. The Museum at FIT’s lower-level exhibit, Shoe Obsession, pits establishment high-heel designers against upstart shoe artists in a no-holes-barred visual extravaganza that footwear lovers will savor.
There’s really no winner or loser. It’s all an impossible-to-take-in treasure trove. Take a look at FIT’s Flickr site, which gives you a taste, but doesn’t even tell half the story. There are 150 pairs of shoes on display, all fighting for your attention as to which is the best, highest, most outlandish, to-be-seen-in, and impossible-to-wear shoe creation.
The show, sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue, focuses on 21st century shoe design, seeming to claim that bags are over and that shoes are “it”. If stats tell the story, FIT says that the average American woman today has over 20 pairs of shoes – double the average of the late 1990s.
The glass vitrines present all the artistry beautifully. When we visited, admirers were circling each slowly to view the exquisite, fanciful creations from all angles. The center aisle features selections from several private shoe collections, including a few from McQueen muse Daphne Guiness.
You’ll see over-the-top works by incumbants Vivier, Prada, Blahnik, and Gucci right next to glass houses showcasing the upstarts, as in our photo here: Center front is Mariela’s actual glass slipper, which no one can actually wear. Above it and to the right, are Tea Petrovic’s prototypes inspired by futuristic sculptor Naum Gabo and the soaring architecture of Calatrava. On the left, Janina Alleyne’s menacing Exoskeleton shoe actually has been created by a 3D printer.
Go and make your own choice about what you would take home if you could.
There’s no video to accompany this incredible show (just a book), so enjoy the trailer for the documentary God Save My Shoes, which FIT had running in its 27th Street entrance: