What do your shoes say about you? Shoes are now much more than just things to walk in. From kids on the block to models on the catwalk, we use them to signal how fashionable we are. But, beyond style, this most intimate object communicates much more . . . our sexual desires, aesthetic sense, social status and personality. And, before they became supreme objects of desire, shoes had a history. From ancient times to the present, shoes have had a cultural as well as a practical purpose. Within these pages is pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about shoes - the tiny crushing shoes of China, the infamous chopine with its 23-inch heel, how dandies made men's shoes beautiful in the eighteenth century, and how the powers of conservatism made them dull again, war and the wellington boot, sex and the high heel, the codes of the 'gay shoe', shoes in fairytales and in art, the irresistible rise of the sneaker, and the cult of shoe designers.
Giorgio Riello is Associate Professor in Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick. He has widely published on fashion, textiles, product innovation and design in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is the author of A Foot in the Past (2006) and co-editor of several volumes including The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives (2010 with P. McNeil).
Peter McNeil is Professor of Design History in the School of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney and Foundation Professor of Fashion Studies at Stockholm University. Recent publications include The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, and Fashion: Critical and Primary Sources, Renaissance to the Present Day (4 Vols. Berg, 2009).