1948 | THE CHIMERA SANDAL BY GIOVANNI VESPERO | MILAN

1948 | Gio Vespero | Milan
The Chimera Sandal
Source: Ars Sutoria magazine #5 Vol.2 - 1948

"Shoe upper made of a cord in the shape of a snake": it's the patent description made by Giovanni - Gio - Vespero of his Chimera sandal (granted October 22, 1946 - patent number 25374). No photo available at the Italian patent database.


1948 | Gio Vespero | Milan | Detail
The Chimera Sandal
Source: Ars Sutoria magazine #5 Vol.2 - 1948

Wacky and creative. Even ingenious and clever for how the snake cord is wrapped around the foot. The sandal's name fitted perfectly the illusion to find an actual pair somewhere. And then, digging in that warehouse-size cabinet of treasures called Metropolitan Museum of Art, we found it.


1945-1955 | Leather sandal
Gift of Herman Delman

The Museum's time frame fits and this is how they describe the sandal:
This whimsical model coordinates the snake theme in both motif and materials. Although the maker of these shoes is not known, the inventive styling suggests that they could have been a product of their donor, premier American high-style shoe manufacturer Herman Delman. 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Maybe, or maybe not. A Delman product, that is. General idea and design are pretty obvious, but the MET sandal differs in details such as cord holders on the side of the sole, a low heel, sole shape, and how the snake head is secured at the neck of the foot.


1945-1955 | Leather sandal
Gift of Herman Delman


In the end, anyway you look at it, a pretty nice finding, isn't?


FOOTNOTE

1966 | Two-headed snake sandal (right) | Unknown manufacturer
Photograph: Helmut Newton for Vogue
Clever, but nothing like the Chimera

Aspiga | Gold cobra sandal
Not bad, although a bit late in the game



 

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