You probably noticed that I am fond of shoes; a preference I share with millions of other women. Meanwhile I started reading about shoes find it quite interesting.
The Roaring 20ies
Shoes were important and had to be long-lasting, comfortable and practical. But when in the 1920ies the dresses became shorter, shoes were much more visible and important. Shoes were no longer only function but style. If it comes to heels it is safe to say that style is above function.
The less Roaring 50ies
In the early 1950 women were recommended to have eight or nine pairs of shoes. (I won’t ask how many you have)
- Good walking shoes
- Pumps in brown, black or navy blue
- White shoes for the summer
- Sandals that go with an evening gown (preferably gold coloured)
- Sport shoes
- House shoes
- Shoes for rainy weather
During the war leather was scarcely available which forced the shoe manufacturers to be more creative. They used wood, canvas and other material for their products. (Gucci became very successful with canvas, a story I will tell you next week.)
When in the 1950ies life standard improved the ladies could afford more shoes. Moreover other accessories like hats, scarves etc. lost their importance and women could invest that money in shoes. Good raw material was available again and the shoe industry came up with a lot of new ideas.
The Origin of Shoes
While the United States was the biggest shoe supplier during the war the increasing wages in the 1950ies led to an industrialized mass production. In 1945 the Italian shoe manufacturers merged to a union, the so called ANCI. The Italians specialized in the production of smaller quantities and occupied the luxury segment; especially when it came to heels. They had know-how and style.
In the 1970ies Spain became with about 1800 shoe manufacturers more influential to the shoe industry but the Brazilians were a strong competition since they produced at lower cost and started exporting their products in 1968.
Nowadays the shoe market is dominated by brands. Even men’s shoes that haven’t changed much within the last 50 years are now subject to trends. Of course the changes are much less significant than the ladies’ footwear; unless one goes for sport shoes.
As for me I think shoes are more than “walking devices”; shoes are a statement. And the right amount? Just get yourself a large shoe cabinet.