1961 | FONTANA SISTERS | INTERCHANGEABLE SHOES

1961 | Fontana Sisters | Interchangeable Shoes
Source: Fondo VEDO/Archivio LUCE

Rome - July 12, 1961
Palazzo Barberini, Pietro da Cortona room

Italian designers opened a new fashion season today and unveiled a shoe that milady can wear on either her right or left foot. Fontana Sisters of Rome put the interchangeable shoes on display and called them "an absolutely new concept," but a spokesman admitted the idea came from a 100-year old form found buried in Fontana's cellars."They aren't really new even if they are revolutionary," he explained.


1961 | Fontana Sisters | Interchangeable Shoes
Schenectady Gazette, NY (July 14, 1961)

The secret of the shoes is in their gently rounded toes, which form an easy semi-circle. Although the criss-cross shoes resembled ordinary ones, they are elongated and only vaguely shaped in the form of a foot, leaving the toes free to wriggle in the comparatively roomy front. Fontana Sisters said the new shoes are extremely comfortable to wear. 


1961 | Fontana Sisters | Interchangeable Shoes
Source: Fondo VEDO/Archivio LUCE

The models shown have heels only one inch high. They are held firmly in place by a buckled or buttoned strap across the top of the foot and seem to solve a "great problem for women who awaken too sleepy to know their right foot from their left." 


1961 | Fontana Sisters | Interchangeable Shoes
Source: Fondo VEDO/Archivio LUCE

Shoes in general were the biggest news of the opening day of the Italian shows for fall and winter fashions, held for the first time in the 17th century Barberini Palace here. The movement toward a shorter heel continued.


1961 | Fontana Sisters | Interchangeable Shoes
Source: Fondo VEDO/Archivio LUCE

The boutique and sportswear collections were presented in the Barberini Palace because Rome's newly reorganized Centro Romano Alta Moda Italiana is making a brave attempt to recapture the Italian fashion crown from Florence.

China Altman
Schenectady Gazette, NY (July 14, 1961)



BEING STRAIGHT ABOUT THIS
Until around 1800, welted rand shoes were commonly made without differentiation for the left or right foot. Such shoes are now referred to as "straights". 
Source: Charlotte Yue
Shoes: Their History In Words And Pictures (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997)

Not to mention another "absolutely new concept" from Christian Dior ten years before the Fontana Sisters ...

Source: LIFE magazine
October 15, 1951


Fontana Sisters

1956 | Interchangeable Heels

1961 | Interchangeable Shoes

HEELSTORY
Heel
History In
Pictures



1961 | Fontana Sisters | Interchangeable Shoes
Source: Fondo VEDO/Archivio LUCE

1961 | Fontana Sisters
Source: Fondo VEDO/Archivio LUCE


 

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