At the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising museum (FIDM)in Los Angeles forthcoming programs, will showcase showbiz shoes in its 10th annual “Outstanding Art of Television Design Costume” exhibition and rare footwear in its “ManMode: Dressing the Male Ego” exhibition. Both open on Aug. 2.2016.
Certainly one of the most striking in the collection is shoes worn by Mae West. At 5 feet tall, the curvy bombshell wore customized Pepenie heels to boost her to towering statuesque heights, creating a va-va-voom silhouette. The curiously crafted shoe-within-a-shoe is designed in silvered leather with a white platform built on top of the insole and an ankle strap to keep West steady. Together, the heel and platform measure 9.5 inches.
The hemline of her dress was designed at such a length to covers the upper portion of the shoe, lest the illusion be discovered. The Hollywood siren perfected the sashay gait to glide without lifting her feet up. In total, FIDM has eight pairs of West’s shoes (including a pair of strappy Chinese silk platform heels), and six sets of her bespoke undergarments.
The FIDM has also the largest Marlene Dietrich collection in the United States, and among the garments the museum has 19 pairs of her bespoke shoes, including a pair of patent leather tuxedo pumps with bold red heels.
Marlene Dietrich was a style icon with refined and androgynous fashion.
Contrary to popular belief I the actress had normal-size shoes for her height and weight (8-AA)
As part of the same FIDM collection is Fred Astaire’s the tuxedo shoes, evening pumps, correspondent shoes, and brown day tap shoes, as worn in his dance routines on screen.
When the dancing actor liked the look and feel of his custom made screen footwear he had them made up for everyday shoes.
The FIDM has a rare collection of men’s and women’s shoes from the 1800s and later, representing the evolution in footwear from neoclassical style influences to the formation of the modern pin high heel. These are definitely not exhibitions to miss.