Red shoes are everywhere! So are ballet slippers being worn as street shoes. You just have to keep your eyes open for them. I am always on the lookout! I recently found this great pair of red shoes by Chinese Laundry in a thrift shop near my house. They were in brand new shape, never worn! They are a perfect fit and have that great 1940’s retro vibe ~ perfect with WWII era rayon print dresses and navy blue 1940’s suits. Note the high drama platform sole, the raised four inch heel, and the thin, but practical and feminine ankle strap. And the just right shade and color of 1940’s blue tinged cherry red! I had to pick up a matching red lipstick to wear with them!
Combined with a great little 40’s era hat they make me look and feel like I’m waiting for my man to come home from the war! Amazingly, I got these for a post World War II Era Price, too! I only paid $9.99 for them! Of course that made me feel great as well!
Chinese Laundry makes sexy reasonably priced shoes that are sold in malls at stores like Nordstrom’s and Macy’s. I have a great pair of black silk satin ones ~ on high platforms, as well, ~ that look like like something from a 1970’s Yves St. Laurent runway show. And a pair of midnight navy ones that channel Isabella Rosellini in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. There is a gorgeous pair of black lace ones, again on their trademark dramatic platform soles, that has just come out for the holidays! These sell for the amazingly reasonable price of about $69.99 as I recall! Part of the reason this can be done at this low price is because of the types of materials used for the shoes.
These shoes are not leather and many of their designs are made of cloth like satin or velvet or lace ~ again just like the shoes that were made in France were during the wars because they were not allowed to use leather that had to be allocated to the war effort for soldier’s boots and shoes. In fact the French designers were so clever during the wars with their use of cloth and other materials in the creation of inventive attractive shoes, that British women were extremely envious of them.
During this time period platform soles evolved, and colored printed fabric was used for espadrilles and wrapped like ballet dancer’s ribbons around the ankles to secure the wearer’s shoes. Ballet shoes were not rationed. They were made of leather or canvas and were relatively inexpensive. An insole could be cut of cardboard at home and inserted inside to give the shoe more shape and solidity for street wear. It could be tied on with ribbons or secured with attached elastic. All these tricks for customizing ballet slippers were commonly practiced by dancers. Dancers, then fashion designers, then regular women discovered this and showed ballet shoes worn with shortened gathered skirts thus developing ballerina length cocktail and evening dresses and ballerina length dresses for day! Ballerina length skirts used less material than long ball gowns. And ballet shoes were charming and feminine and cheap! That is how the evolution of ballet slippers being worn as fashion shoes that is so popular today, began.
Chinese Laundry is a company that deliberately and successfully makes a line of shoes that look like some other designer’s shoes from the past.They are meant to wear with one special outfit and not set you back a fortune! They are essentially a costume shoe! I think it is great that they make shoes like this for reasonable prices when you want them for one wearing! These 1940’s styles are also so dramatic they would work well for period stage costumes. I find these shoes comfortable too! I have had no problem wearing them for several hours!
Photos by Fredric Lehrman.
Styling by Violette de Courcy.
Shoes from the Lady Violette Shoe Collection.