Tuesday, May 21, 2019

St Andrews, The Lion Rampant and the Flower of Scotland

The feast of Andrew is observed on 30 November in both the Eastern and Western churches, and is the national day of Scotland. St Andrew’s patronage extends to fishmongers, gout, singers, sore throats, spinsters, maidens, old maids and women wishing to become mothers.

Andrew the Apostle (or Saint Andrew) was the brother of Saint Peter. Prior to becoming disciples, the brothers were Galilean fishermen working in the Black Sea. Andrew derives from the Greek word for brave and was martyred at Patras in Greece, bound, (not nailed), to an X shaped cross or saltire (crux decussata). Legend has it a Greek monk called St Rule or St Regulus was ordered in a vision to take relics of Andrew (a tooth, a kneecap, and arm and finger bones) to the ‘ends of the earth’ for safe keeping. He set off on a sea journey and eventually came ashore on the Fife coast at a settlement which would become the modern town of St Andrews.

According to legend, in 832 AD, Óengus II (Angus) led an army of Picts and Scots into battle where they were heavily outnumbered. The night before the battle Óengus prayed to St Andrew for help. In the morning a white cloud formed an X in the sky and after the battle Óengus honoured his pledge and duly appointed Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. Andrew was first recognised as an official patron saint of Scotland in 1320 at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath an appeal to the Pope by Scottish noblemen asserting Scotland’s independence from England. The white saltire set against a celestial blue background was eventually adopted as the flag of Scotland with the earliest use of the saltire as a flag traced to 1542.The original colour of the saltire cross was silver (Argent), but in heraldry white stands for silver.

There were several advantages having Saint Andrew as Scotland's Patron. Early Picts and Scots Christian converts modelled themselves on Saint Andrew which, in turn, carried favour with the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. In the event of conflict between England and Scotland, the Scots could now appeal to the Pope for protection.

A local superstition was to use the cross of Saint Andrew as a hex sign on the fireplaces in northern England and Scotland to prevent witches from flying down the chimney and entering the house to do mischief. By placing the St Andrew's cross on one of the fireplace posts or lintels, witches are prevented from entering through this opening.

The Confederate flag also features a saltire commonly referred to as a St Andrew's cross, although the designer, William Porcher Miles, said he changed it from an upright cross to a saltire so that it would not be a religious symbol but merely a heraldic device.

(Video Courtesy: Scotland Is Now by Youtube Channel)

The Lion Rampant

The Royal Standard of Scotland (Banner of the King of Scots) is the Scottish Royal Banner of Arms used historically by the King of Scots. The flag historically, and legally, belongs to the monarchy and since there has not been a Scottish Regent since the 17th Century, it now belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. The earliest recorded use of the Lion rampant was by Alexander II in 1222. Later a double border set with lilies was added to the standard during the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286). Following the Union of the Crowns of England, Ireland and Scotland in 1603, the Royal Standard of Scotland was incorporated into the royal standards of successive Scottish then, following the Acts of Union in 1707, British monarchs.

The Royal Banner of Scotland is used officially at the Scottish royal residences of the Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh, and Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, when The Queen is not in residence. The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom used in Scotland is flown when the Sovereign is present.

According to an Act of Parliament, passed in 1672, it is an offense for any private citizen or corporate body to fly or wave this flag. In 1935, King George V gave permission for Lion Rampant flags to be waived by the public during his Silver Jubilee celebrations. Ever since the Lion Rampant is seen in public at many football matches and other events.

The Scottish Thistle

This is the oldest recorded 'National Flower' and one of the most well-known, and easily recognized symbols of Scotland. The prickly-leaved, pink or purple-flowered ‘Scotch’ thistle is a weed which may seem a strange choice for a national flower. This proud and regal plant grows to a height of five feet with vicious spines to protect it like a porcupine. It has no natural enemies.

For hundreds of years much of Scotland was part of the Kingdom of Norway. By the 13th century Norway seemed to have lost interest in their former territory. King Alexander III proposed to buy back the Western Isles and Kintyre from the Norse King Haakon IV (Haakon the Elder). He played the King of Norway for a fool, laying claim to the Western Isles and then stringing out negotiations until the Norwegian king lost patience. In 1263 King Haakon of Norway decided to conquer the Scots and sent a large fleet of longships. Storms forced the armada onto the beach at Largs in Ayrshire and the Norwegians were forced to land. Legend has it a sleeping party of Scots warriors were saved from ambush by the invaders when one of the attackers trod on a thistle with his bare feet. His cries raised the alarm and roused the Scots who duly defeated them. Many believe the thistle was adopted thereafter as the symbol of Scotland.

In Scotland there are several types of thistle and it is not clear which one was trod upon. Many believe it may have been the Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) as it is an abundant native species in Scotland.

Whilst the Cotton Thistle (Onopordum acanthium) is by far the most imposing thistle with extremely sharp thorns, it is unlikely to have been a native of Scotland at that time.

The first use of the thistle as a royal symbol of Scotland was on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. It is said that the Order of the Thistle, the highest honour in Scotland, was founded in 1540 by King James V who, after being honoured with the Order of the Garter from his uncle King Henry VIII of England and with the Golden Fleece from the Emperor of France, felt a little left out. He resolved the issue by creating the royal title of Order of the Thistle for himself and twelve of his knights. He set up the arms and badges of the order over the gate of his palace at Linlithgow. The common badge worn over the left breast by the knights is a cross surmounted by a star of four silver points, and over this a green circle bordered and lettered with gold, containing the motto "Nemo me impune lacessit", "No-one harms me without punishment" but more commonly translated in Scots as "Wha daurs meddle wi me", in the centre is the thistle.

Hugh MacDiarmid ‘s A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle was published in 1926, and remains one of the most famous works by a Scottish poet.

(Video Courtesy: John Laurie - Topic by Youtube Channel)

Flower of Scotland

(Video Courtesy: Peter Coiaby Youtube Channel)

Flower of Scotland is a Scottish song, used frequently at special occasions and sporting events. Although there is no official national anthem of Scotland, Flower of Scotland is one of a number of songs which unofficially fulfil this role. The lyrics were Written by Roy Williamson (1936- 1990) of The Corries in 1967 and refers to the victory of the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce (1274-1329), over King Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The tune was originally composed on the Northumbrian smallpipes, which play in D and have the benefit of keys on the chanter to achieve a greater range of notes.

(Video Courtesy: Guinness Six Nations by Youtube Channel)

When sung at sporting events, crowds will often call back after certain lines: after the words "and stood against him", you may hear "(a)gainst who"; and after the words "and sent him homewards", you may hear "whit fur?" ("what for?").

The Flower of Scotland

O flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

The hills are bare now
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

Those days are passed now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again

The music is credited to Peter Dodds McCormick (c1834-1916) who emigrated to Australia as a young man, and composed the National Anthem of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair".

(Video Courtesy: Anthony Callea by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 21/05/2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

Knickerbockers to big pants: A brief outline

Knickerbockers, later shortened to "knickers" were popular casual wear for the well-dressed gentleman at the turn of the twentieth century. Variations of knickers included plus-fours, plus-sixes, plus-eights and plus-tens. The "plus" referred to how many inches below the knee they hung. In 1925 when Oxford undergraduates were prevented from wearing their knickers in the classroom the wags wore baggy pants or Oxford bags.

Knickers, as in undies for ladies really only date as far back as 200 years ago. Even then, only high society ladies had the luxury of daily underwear changes. Although makeshift briefs were worn by Sumerian women in the form of a strategically knotted cloth these probably served as athletic briefs.

Bloomers come from Amelia Bloomer in the 19th century. She was an emancipated young lady who was simply fanatical about cycling. She loved her bike and chose to wear modern clothes that gave her freedom to move. Her bloomers were blousy ending in the ankles with a buckle closure.

Can-can girls in Paris were the reason bloomers got shorter and the shorter bloomers were stitched up and these were known as French knickers (camisole knickers). Ladies undies were also called pantaloons and drawers.

Drawers became fashionable about 1806. At first they were replicas of men’s long johns and considered rather risqué. These were worn by little girls and called pantalettes. During Regency Period underwear was sold to improve the line of clothing but later in 1905 lady’s undies were made from black silk, edged with ecru lace and a baby pink ribbon.

Cruchless panties are not new, by any stretch of lyrca, and were worn as a novelty up until the Thirties. Flappers commonly loosened their undergarments to dance.

Rigby & Peller are considered the most famous lingerie firm in Britain and even the Queen is a customer. R&B undies featured in the Bridget Jones films. According to a spokesperson for Marks & Spencer, since the first Bridget Jones film, sales of big pants soared.

(Video Courtesy: Ditto Greetings by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 20/05/2019

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A short history of miniature shoes

Giving miniature shoes is an age old custom. In antiquity funereal jars were made in the shape of boots and were kept as keepsakes in memory of the dearly departed.

By the late 18th century in England, Prince Frederick Augustus (Duke of York) got engaged to Frederica Charlotte Ulrica Catherina (1767-1820). Frederica was no raving beauty and had rotting teeth but the lady had dainty feet which captivated the Prince who wanted her to have special bridal shoes. The royal shoe maker was consulted and six new pairs of tiny shoes were promptly made.

At the time newspapers were unable to comment upon the beauty of the royal person so instead heaped praised upon the charm of her "neatness" and petite shoes. However, as a result of the media interest copies of her purple leather shoes (13.97 centimeters long), sold in their hundreds and miniature replicas became a must to have. Miniature shoes were made of silver and porcelain and many were used as pin cushions.

The popularity of all things oriental saw miniature porcelain lotus shoes as keep sake in many European houses. The gift of a miniature shoe was generally well-meaning and the sign of real friendship.

After George du Maurier (1834 – 1896) published the novel Trilby (1894) it had enormous success. The story involved an Irish girl who goes to Paris during the Belle Époque. There she falls under the control of Svengali (evil hypnotist). One of Trilby’s eccentricities was to flash her bare feet in public. At the time this was considered as rude as baring bear bosoms or flashing a bare bottom. The popularity of Trilby (novel and play) became international and caused public riots wherever the play was performed (because of the barefoot flashing). This caused the fashion for foot and shoe shaped objects such as snuff containers and hip flasks to become a gentleman’s must have accessory.

By this time the miniature shoes had taken on a more risqué meaning. Miniature tight laced ladies’ boots or even a full leg were popular hip flasks and snuff boxes. Foot shaped sausages and ice creams became a real novelty which attracted much attention among those familiar with the book and play. It is reasonable to assume the same population were familiar with Freud’s Castration Theory.

The tradition of giving a shoe to mark the completion of a business deal dates to Biblical times and supplies the origin to the custom of the bride’s father passing a shoe of his daughter to the groom. This marks the exchange of fiscal responsibility. In the past brides were considered property. Today the custom is still followed more usually in the form of a miniature shoe. These also make favourite good luck charms.


Finally, there is a superstition to not give shoes to friends at Christmas time. The belief is the friend would walk away from you. The origins are unknown but in less enlightened times it was understood whatever station you were born into was your destiny and helping people rise above this was not the right thing to do. The belief may have come from the wealthy classes who lived in abject fear of being overtaken by the lower classes.

(Video Courtesy:theshoeisthesign by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 19/05/2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

No brown in town: An idiosyncratic quirk of Britishness?

According to Rossi (1994) the word shoe (Old English scoh "shoe," from Proto-Germanic skokhaz - source also of Old Norse skor, Danish and Swedish sko, Old Frisian skoch, Old Saxon skoh, Middle Dutch scoe, Dutch schoen, Old High German scuoh, German Schuh, Gothic skoh) means to furtively cover the foot . Black and shoes therefore, presents an interesting combination which I hope the following explanation will help you understand why anything other than black shoes in the business world is historically considered socially unacceptable.

Colour (Latin celare, meaning to conceal or hide) is regarded as a code, sign, or message we use to communicate our thoughts and feelings. Colour vision in primates developed between 38 and 65 million years ago and neurons devoted to visual processing occupy more of the neocortex than those devoted to hearing or touch. Clothing from antiquity was full of colour and only constrained by the limited dyes available. In the West, despite foreboding by St Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430 AD) who accused colour of “a seductive and dangerous sweetness”, the early Christian Church, embraced colour in their churches and clothing and it became an integral part of liturgical garments of both high clergy and the ruling class. Sumptuary laws in some parts of Europe already prohibited the wearing of costly colourful clothes to anyone other than nobility, but as international trade developed and wealth increased amongst the Middle Classes of the city states, bankers and merchants of northern Italy wore black robes and gowns, made from the most expensive fabrics. High-quality black dyes were first made available in the 15th century, and garments of a deep, rich black became popular with Magistrates and government officials. Devoid of colour, official’s black robes, were worn to signify the importance and seriousness of their position. Black became the new fashion and soon the 16th century nobility abandoned their colourful sartoria and adopted black dress for preference.

Black has a pedigree and a history which did not happened by accident. During the Age of Enlightenment, Sir Isaac Newton (1643 - 1727), discovered the colour spectrum appears when you point white light at a prism (1672). Since neither black nor white were within the colour spectrum they were none-colours. This only added to the enigma of black and white. From antiquity the dualism of black (darkness) and white (light) became imprinted on the human psyche and symbolized the moral dichotomy of good and evil. Black was ambiguous and came to be associated with death, evil, mourning, magic, fierceness, illness, bad luck, and mystery. Yet in other cultures black represented age, maturity, and masculinity, as well as both rebirth and mourning. Through the centuries black has also come to symbolize sophistication and formality.

During the Protestant Reformation in Europe (1517 -1648), black came to represent sophistication, culture, power, secrecy and self-control, and was the emblematic colour of the Puritans in England and America. As colourful church interiors and clerical clothing were denounced and colour was regarded idolatry symbolising luxury, sin, and human folly. Colour was a distraction from God, and systematically stripped from all protestant churches. Protestant doctrine, demanded clothing be sober, simple and discreet. Black signified renunciation, self-control and business. The French Revolution (1789 –1799) saw the end of ostentatious, peacock fashions for men, and many public figures and revolutionaries styled themselves as ‘citoyens sans-culottes.’ in solidarity. Black sober clothing became the order of the day and in 1801, Thomas Jefferson almost caused a scandal by wearing black lacing bootees to his inauguration. Jefferson shoes eventually became the preferred shoes for American politicians.

By the early 19th century men's fashions underwent radical change. Gradually long trousers replaced knee breeches. Nineteenth century dandies and men of fashion like Beau Brummell (1778 – 1840) wore black, champagne polished leather boots for town wear. Others followed his example as leading arbiters of fashion like Comte d’Orsay (1801 – 1852), Hermann Fürst von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871), Honoré de Balzac (1799 – 1850), Barbey d’Aurevilly (1808 – 1889), and Edward VII (1841 – 1910) followed his example and wore black footwear for formal occasions and in town. Social organisation was divided between hunting on the estate where browns were acceptable and doing business in town wearing only black footwear. It was at this point in history the fashion maxim, “no brown in town” or “no brown after six” were very much respected, and ensured people were socially accepted. By the end of the century black was the uniform of power and control and the banking classes, and high society wore it as the uniform of seriousness, high culture and sophistication.

In America, brown shoes became stigmatised because they were associated with cheaply produced footwear for African American slaves and made from undyed leathers. In the eighteenth century, enslaved adults generally received one pair of leather, straight-lasted (i.e., no left or right) shoes in their annual clothing allotment. Some shoes were imported, some purchased from local tradesmen, and others, called "country shoes," were produced on the plantation when a slave was taught the trade. In the nineteenth century, enslaved shoemakers continued to produce country shoes, while other shoes, called red russets ('Ga Bootees, Nigger shoes, or Jackson ties) were massed produced in factories in the North. The wooden-soled brogans so uncomfortable, many slaves preferred to go barefoot. Later, when the Confederate troops were supplied with the same russet shoes, they frequently blacken them with grease and soot so not to be seen wearing brown, sweet potato coloured shoes.

During his reign King Edward VII (1901-1910) saw the introduction of the Edwardian style which would determine international men's fashion. The de rigueur was regulated by exact rules, and published by prominent tailors, as to when and under what circumstances certain clothes were to be worn. Laced, (later elastic sided) boots were generally designed for country walking and appropriate for traveling, and manual labour. Black Oxford shoes were strictly for business. A cap toe was the standard choice for city life while some punctured holes (brogueing) on the toe top decorated men’s country shoes. At first, younger men preferred the oxford over the boot while older men held fast to their traditional boots. For formal wear, black dress pumps sometimes in patent leather, were worn to social events. Nineteenth century bankers and city business men dressed in morning dress with tailcoat, striped trousers and black shoes to match. Each bank had its own distinctive stripes, which became the catalyst for the two and three-piece business suit versions. Dubbed the English Look, by the 20s and 30s pinstripe suits gained popularity in America but were largely worn by the Nouveau Riche including less salubrious types of the Prohibition Era and Hollywood. By the late 1930’s, the influence of Edward the Prince of Wales (1894 – 1972 ) saw a more relaxed set of rules in menswear, leading to softer materials and bolder colours. Edward made spectator (two tone) shoes very popular when photographed wearing them. On set Fred Astaire took to wearing pink socks in his outfits for films.

By the 1950’s, clothing guides such as Clothes and the Man: A Guide to Correct Dress for all Occasions by Sydney D. Barney in 1951 advised shoes and suit had to match. Like red and green must never be seen. Blue suits with brown shoes was a fashion faux pas. In more conservative circles, black still held a certain association with business, but brown oxford shoes were becoming increasingly popular. Then, in the London Stock Exchange young traders who dared wear brown shoes were booed off the trading floor.

In 2016, a Social Mobility Commission’s study entitled Socio-Economic Diversity in Life Sciences and Investment Banking was conducted and it was discovered investment banks were less likely to hire men wearing brown shoes to an interview. Even graduates with first-class degrees from elite universities were rejected when they wore brown shoes to the interview.

According to Rossi (1995), most businessmen are comfortable in ‘masculine shoes. This he postulated, may be in part because they provide compensation or a psychosexual defence for an insecure masculinity. Masculine shoes e.g. Oxfords are the preferred footwear of conformists in personality, habits, attitudes and behavioural patterns. By far Oxford Shoes take the highest preference for city gents with Derbies second, and loafers an aesthetic inferior in the workplace. The modern business psyche in regard to black shoes is they are inconspicuous, do not draw undue attention nor distract clients from the business of the day. In the workplace Black shoes are considered bland, and safe, yet, boost confidence in appearance, and increase the sense of potential and possibility.

The conventions of black dress pre-date the English Look by centuries but the influence of European fashion most certainly impacted on the attire of North American businesspeople. The non-colour black, has long been associated with power and privilege promulgated by ‘protestant chromophobia,’ it has transferred into the modern judicial, academic and business clothing. This still exists, although its origins are long forgotten. In the 19th century America brown leather footwear became déclassé in no short measure because of their association with the slave trade.

Batchelor, D. 2000 Chromophobia. Reaktion Books. London
Corvette M 2016 Consuming colour: a critical theory of colour concerning the legality and implications of colour in public space Department of Art Goldsmiths University of London
Footwear C & D Jarnagin Company
Goethe, J. W. 1810 Theory of Colors . C. L. Eastlake (Trans.). Dover (2006)
Harvey, J. 1995 Men in Black. Reaktion Books. London
Pastoureau M 2008 Black - The History of a color Princeton University Press
Rossi WA 1995 The sexlife of the foot and shoe (2nd Edition) Krieger Publishing Company Malabar Florida

Shoe Fetish (Retifism)

Shoe fetishism i.e. retifism (or restifism) , is similar in principal to foot fetishism but with the shoe the total focal point for arousal. Some retifists need only the shoe to be satisfied. Others will incorporate shoes within their coital habits and to a high level shoe fetishist, complete satisfaction is only possible when a shoe is involved.

Flugel (1930) described the phenomenon where clothes could not only rouse sexual interest but in them self symbolised the sex organs. Because the shoe became an erogenous zone then lovemaking incorporated all that would take place around genitalia with kissing, licking, biting and caressing all common place. To the retifist the shoe resembles female genitalia with even the aroma of the shoe a powerful aphrodisiac. The heel represents the phallus and is an aspect often favoured for frottage and masturbation.

Brame, Brame & Jacobs (1996) believe many foot fetishists are uncomfortable with tastes which appear extreme or kinky. Most foot lovers were repelled by D & S or acts considered unclean, such as sniffing socks or licking shoes. This may be a manifestation of their internal conflict i.e. if foot fetishism was shameful then other kinky desires were even less acceptable.

As a group gay men seem to be the most at ease with foot /shoe fetishism. The belief is since homosexuals men have already come to terms with a momentous social challenge in their sexuality then acceptance of stimuli is no major drama.

Retifists usually collect women's shoes and have exquisite taste for elegant style. Their preference covers the seven basic shoe styles described by Rossi (1993) and materials such as leather and furs often influence their choice. Retifists will personalise their collection by giving names to their favourite shoes. Possession of shoes is important to the retifist and in cases of paraphilia; men may steal the shoes they are attracted to. Kiernan (1917, reported in Rossi, 1990) first described the term kleptolagnia which was used when theft took place when associated with sexual excitement. "Hephephilia" is a term used when there is an uncontrollable urge to steal the objects of specific focus. Many hephephiliacs are ordinary people with no criminal intention other than a compulsion to possess the object of their desire due to a repressed or complicated sex life. Theft from shops is common as is robbery from private property. Many retifists keep copious records of their activities all of which adds to their excitement.

Shoe snatching, including foot assaults, have been reported around the world. When these cases do come to court however the behaviour is often dismissed as a trivial deviation. Most medical authorities agree such behaviour signifies power and indicates domination. Richard von Krafft-Ebing considered the majority of shoe fetishists were masochists. Wedeck (1963) described this behaviour as someone who would steal shoes from their victim and tear, slash or burn them to attain a sexual climax. Retifists report higher use of sex services because they find difficulty in trying to convince their partners to comply with their fantasies. The term "bootman" is commonly used within the sex industry to describe retifists. In the majority of cases, shoe fetishism poses no danger to others and individuals pursue their use of the fetish object in private, usually through masturbation.

To the submissive foot fetishist the idea of kissing the masters’ feet relishes his physical, psychological and even social inferiority to the dominant.

Famous retifists include: Publius Ovidius Naso (or Ovid), Omar Kayyam, Retif de La Bretonne, Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostoevski, and Oled Cassini.

This is not intended to be anything other than a brief outline of the subject and is complementary to Profile of a foot fetishist If you have any health concerns please discuss these with your physician.

Brame GG, Brame WD & Jacobs J (1996) Different loving: the world of sexual dominance and submission London: Arrow.
Flugel JC 1930 The psychology of clothes London: International Universities Press.
Rossi WA 1990 Foot and shoe fetishism : part one Journal of Current Podiatric Medicine 39:9 9-23.
Rossi WA 1990 Foot and shoe fetishism : part two Journal of Current Podiatric Medicine 39:10 16-20.
Wedeck H E (ed) 1963 Pictorial History of Morals New York Philosophihical Library.

Reviewed 18/05/2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Zapatos Humanos/Human Shoes/ART

(Video Courtesy: Ana Jakab by Youtube Channel)

Fashionable Shoes: Wet look, patent leather and nudie

Patent leather nude coloured shoes with 3 inch stacked heels are all the rage and the ‘Nudies’ retail at approx $300 (US) per pair. Obviously wardrobe malfunctions and shoe damage need to be avoided as all fashionista know and care is necessary negotiating uneven sidewalks and steps. This aside nude has become a trendy colour for shoes.

In fashion-speak, "nude" refers to a kind of pink-beige-coffee blend but in the interests of political correctness (PC) the nude range covers pale ivory to deep chocolate. Shoes matching skin tone gives the leg the appearance of extra length and where the perfect match is not possible, spray tan is recommended.

Nude shoe aside it is patent leather which history has shown is very risqué and was much cause for concern when conservative groups discovered the mirror like surface allowed boys to see up girls’ skirts when they wore patent leather shoes. The up-skirter shoes predate electronic cameras by at least a century and only go to prove nothing changes when it comes to sex. Such concern was expressed in the early 20th century patent leather shoes were banned in some States of the US.

In the sixties when “The Wet Look” prevailed so called experts feared a plague of undinism (sexual arousal from urine) was abroad.

Patent leather which describes the gloss finish on the leather as opposed to a type of hide was developed in 1818. The leather protection ensured dressier looking footwear which could easily be kept clean with a cloth. It was invented in Newark, New Jersey by Seth Boyden and involved coating the leather with linseed oil. Now the process involves plastic coating which makes the mass production of patent leather cheaper.

Reviewed 17/05/2019