Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Shoe Sketch | Drawing by Sylvia Plath
Source: Sylvia Plath Desenhos (Biblioteca Azul, 2014)

“Why do I not wear heels ... because I look like such a bobby soxer in flat shoes? I am young, naive, childish, sixteen emotionally. My reactions are too obvious, too excitable easily. ”

Sylvia Plath (1953)
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Red Prysock And His Orchestra
Fruit Boots (Mercury, 1957)

“I was grateful for a good dinner and tried to be nice to Sally who was very serious and deadpan and who never walked because her feet hurt (looking at my paper-thin red ballerinas, she said somewhat resentfully: "I could never wear shoes like yours")”

Sylvia Plath (1956)
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

The Bangles
Sweetheart of the Sun (Model Music Group, 2011)

“Slipped into my dirty red down-at-the-heel ballet shoes (which I must throw out) & tried to sit in the relatively clean & unfeverish livingroom after wandering about collecting dirty plates & glasses & stacking them intricately in the yellow plastic dish pan. ”

Sylvia Plath (1958)
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Down at the heel red ballerinas ready to be thrown out/sold
Source: ebay

“Time slips shockingly by with our 'schedule' unbegun as yet - and nothing but a whole year, undivided, ahead: the discipline demanded is enormous. I have been tired, feverish, cramped. We have spent a lot of money already - on shoes (I bought mine too tight as usual & got frightful heel blisters from my 'walking shoes' on our first walk at midnight through Scollay Square”

Sylvia Plath (1958)
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Zina Nahid
Babouch’ Party Columbia Records (France)

“She sat with me, leafing through a copy of Vogue she had brought & giving me a little monologue on each page, talked of "almond" - toed shoes, and the new round toe (I said I thought it was the old round toe) and how she had bought a blue beret in Exeter, and how wonderful Brigitte Bardot was …"

Sylvia Plath (1962)
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Vogue magazine | April 1962
Source: Sun

Friday, November 24, 2017


19th Century | X-Radiograph(s) of "Cobbler"
Dutch School Or German School

Examiner: “Because you think in snobbery terms, also parochial, of your quarter. In more open and nonconformist environments, craftsmen such as cobblers, blacksmiths and carpenters, are not considered low-ranking professions. In fact, their jobs go hand in hand with other studies and creative activities. Do you know that Spinoza, whatever his relationships with Silvera, made eye-wears? "

Female Candidate: Yes, but he wasn’t the glassmaker (and moreover Spinoza, as far as I know, cut mostly lenses for microscopes and telescopes), and ... "

Examiner: "Then think of Hans Sachs, the famous shoemaker-friend of Dürer and Luther, who studied Latin, the flute and the resoling of shoes, inspiring along the way Wagner's “The Masters Singers Of Nurenberg“. Or think about the Dresden cobbler who hosted Goethe in 1767, giving him the inspiration for the “Ewige Jude” character and, later, "Faust". Again, think of “Shi the carpenter”, honoured by the Chinese! ... Not to mention the son of the carpenter of Nazareth, who learned and also practiced his paternal job? Would you tell me that this was not a gentleman? "

Female Candidate: "My God, Christ is one thing ..."

Carlo Fruttero & Franco Lucentini
From: The Lover Of No Fixed Abode (1986)

19th Century | Albert Dürer Visiting Hans Sachs (Engraving)
Stephen J. Ferris

Esaminatore: «Ma perché lei ragiona nei termini snobistici e, se lo lasci dire, provinciali, del suo ristretto ambiente. In ambienti più aperti e spregiudicati, attività artigiane come quella del ciabattino e del maniscalco, del fabbro, del falegname, non solo non hanno e non hanno mai avuto nulla di basso, di disdicevole, ma spesso si accompagnano ad altri studi e alle attività creative più diverse. Lei lo sa che Spinoza, quali che siano stati i suoi rapporti con Silvera, faceva l'occhialaio?»

Candidata: «Sì, ma altro è l'occhialaio (e del resto lo Spinoza, a quanto ne so, intagliava soprattutto lenti per microscopi e telescopi), e altro è...»

Esaminatore: «E allora pensi a Hans Sachs, il celebre poeta-calzolaio, amico di Dürer e di Lutero, che studiò congiuntamente il latino, il flauto e la risuolatura delle scarpe, ispirando a Wagner i suoi "Maestri Cantori di Norimberga". O al ciabattino di Dresda che ospitò Goethe nel 1767, fornendogli il modello dell’ “Ewige Jude" e più tardi dello stesso "Faust". O a Shi il carpentiere, onorato da tutta l'antichità cinese!... E il figlio del falegname di Nazareth, che apprese ed esercitò anche lui il mestiere paterno? Non mi dirà che per questo non sia stato un gentiluomo?»

Candidata: «Dio mio, Cristo è una cosa...»

Carlo Fruttero & Franco Lucentini
Da: L’ Amante Senza Fissa Dimora (Mondadori, 1986)

20th Century | Cobbler (Etching)
Dwight C. Sturges

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Subculture Suicide 7" EP (Dirt Cult Records, 2016)

Rafael Bieber picked it up: “This shoe, the one you’re looking at, has a story.”

He told me it had belonged to a patient who had trouble breathing.

Sometimes a machine or medication opened his lungs for a time, but then the air would abandon the suffocating man, no matter how much he implored it to come back.

No Class
Keine Klasse II (Deranged, 2012)

One night in his distress, the fellow threw this shoe at the windowpane. At last, air came into his house and into his body, and he slid into a deep sleep after so many enemy nights.

When he awoke the floor was littered with shards of glass.

But they were not from his window, not from a window at all: they were what remained of the mirror, his mirror, shattered into a thousand pieces by this shoe.”

Eduardo Galeano
“This Shoe” taken from: Hunter of Stories (Nation Books, 2017)

EDUARDO GALEANO [1940 - 2015]

The Shifters
Shattered (Radio Records, 2000)

Friday, November 17, 2017


“He studied the shoe on the foot of someone seated near him. It was an Earth shoe, one of those functional, sensible, unsexy, shallow-heeled and vaguely Scandinavian items of fad footwear, the shy, androgynous and countercultural shoe, unthreatening to the environment or the species, and he wondered why it looked so sinister.”

Don DeLillo
Underworld (Scribner, 1996) 

Earth Shoe
Source: PJ Media

“She said, “I think you look forward to the job interviews. Shave the face, shine the shoes.”

“I’m down to one decent pair of shoes. This is not rank neglect but a kind of day-to-day carelessness.”

“Do you feel a certain affection for these decent shoes?”

“Shoes are like people. They adjust to situations.”

Don DeLillo
Zero K (Scribner, 2016)

Sam Phillips
Martinis & Bikinis (Omnivore Recordings, LLC - 1994)
Produced by T-Bone Burnett

“His father’s shoes were also there, scuffed and monumental, located between the cigarette lighter and the newspaper. It was hard to believe that creatures with feet large enough to be suitable for these containers actually walked the earth and that one of these creatures was his own pop, his flesh and blood, Babe of the subway tunnels. Are we really of the same race of people? Did I really come from him and her or is it all some kind of story they tell to kids?”

Don Delillo
Ratner's Star (1976)

Venegoni & Co.
Sarabanda (Cramps, 1979)

“In the last car again, somewhere beneath the ruck of Red Hook, we saw a boy and two girls steal a sleeping derelict’s shoes. The man stirred, then curled more tightly into the bouncing seat. Opening the door between cars, the three children headed for the heart of the train.

“Too young to understand the dignity of shoes,” Hanes said.”

Don Delillo
Great Jones Street (1973)

Pasivos Muertos 7” EP (Lengua Armada Discos, 2010)



X-Ray Fitting

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Tiffany’s by Marian Keyes
Cover detail
Photogrph: Getty Images

“The bellhops seem particularly delighted by his makeover. Or perhaps it is just that he is wearing leather shoes for once: topsiders, which he’s always thought of as the mark of effete preppies, but which are actually a reasonable thing for him to wear today. ” 
Neal Stephenson
Cryptonomicon (Avon, 1999)


“Ask a Soviet engineer to design a pair of shoes and he’ll come up with something that looks like the boxes that the shoes came in; ask him to make something that will massacre Germans, and he turns into Thomas Fucking Edison.” 
Neal Stephenson
Cryptonomicon (Avon, 1999)

Kobe II

Friday, November 10, 2017


1960 | Pappagallo ad by Reba Sochis
Source: PrintMag

“Had a lovely time last night at playreading of “King Lear” being wicked Regan in gothic-spired turrets of St. John’s College. 
PS: could you please get me a pair of RED pappagallo ballet shoes (7M) as soon as possible, before I leave on vacation. I think Wilbar’s has them. You can tell them by the striped red & white inside. Don’t take a reasonable facsimile! Only the gen-you-ine article!” 
Sylvia Plath - November 7, 1955
The Letters of Sylvia Plath Volume 1 (Harper Collins, 2017)

Care for the striped red & white inside
1955 | Pappagallo shoes at John Wanamaker

Pappagallo shoes
& Frenchies miracle pumps at Wilbar's

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


After building a relationship with Peter Sapper, a German with a small moccasin business called Sioux, Lance (Clark), while working at Padmore & Barnes in Ireland (part of Clarks Ireland Ltd), was responsible for ‘Project M’, which came to fruition in 1967 with the launch of the Wallabee. 

This iconic shoe – a lace-up with crêpe sole, inspired by classic men’s moccasins – was at first regarded as too radical for the British market but enjoyed almost immediate success in North America. To advertise the Wallabees, the largest billboard ever seen up to that time on the North American continent (it measured 185ft by 45ft) was erected in Toronto, Canada, next to a highway used by more than 250,000 motorists every day. 

By 1973, the two Padmore & Barnes factories – in Kilkenny and Clonwell – made little else other than Wallabees, producing some 18,000 pairs a week.”

Mark Palmer
Clarks: Made to Last (Profile Books, 2013) 

1967 | Clarks' Wallabees billboard in Toronto
Source: Clarks: Made to Last (Profile Books, 2013)

“She took off her dress and put it over a chair.

“I never thought I’d end up in bed with a man who wears Clark’s Wallabees.”

“I don’t wear them in bed.”

“At least they’re not Hush Puppies,” she said. “Good Christ, think of it.”

Lomax stood up to get out of his pants.”

“What’s wrong with Clark’s Wallabees? They’re a damn good shoe.”

Don Delillo
Running Dog (Alfred A. Knopf, 1978)

You can say that
1970 | WALLABEE the shoe that's noticeably different

One summer’s day in 1989 I was out shopping for Wallabees. I'd been told there was a shop down King's Road that sold them. Evidently, half of London had also heard months before me. The queue stretched down the road and inside the shop was a shoe frenzy - a whole new generation of Modernists were getting theirs. You could see there was a new look emerging.

Paul Weller
From: The Soul Stylists by Paolo Hewitt (Mainstream Publishing, 2000)

1974 | Out-Wallabee the Wallabee
Source: NY Magazine

“A stroke of good fortune came Clarks’ way when Richard Ashcroft, frontman of The Verve and not exactly the institutional type, wore a pair of Wallabees – first launched in 1966 – on the cover of the band’s massiveselling 1997 album, Urban Hymns. And it could have done no harm that Parker, with his shock of curly hair and propensity for wearing jeans and no tie – and who played the flute in his spare time, and drove a Porsche – was something of a dashing figure.”

Mark Palmer
Clarks: Made to Last (Profile Books, 2013) 

The Verve ‎– Urban Hymns
(Hut Recordings/Virgin, 1997)

Hip-hop fans tended to gravitate toward timberland boots or sneakers for their footwear. But Wu-Tang Clan members, particularly Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, wore Wallabees because not only did they find them aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, since no one was really wearing them, they also weren’t succumbing to trends…

In the mid to late 1990’s Wallabees suddenly became a hip-hop stable. Ghostface justified calling himself the Wally Champ when Ironman’s album cover was littered with dozens of custom-dyed Wallabees shoes. But alas, purported overtures to Clarks about teaming up with Wu-Tang did not materialize. 

Alvin Blanco
The Wu-Tang Clan and RZA: A Trip Through Hip Hop's 36 Chambers (ABC-CLIO, 2011)

Ghostface Killah - Ironman
(Razor Sharp Records, Epic Street - 1996)

People such as Sarah Young nurture relationships with rap artists, who they lure into wearing certain clothes items. When the company that makes Hush Puppies was looking to increase their presence in the urban market, Young helped persuade Wyclef Jean, a singer with the Fugees, to wear powder blue Bridgeport chukkas, which bear a sneaking resemblance to the Wallabee shoes familiar to members of my generation.

Alex Kotlowitz
False Confessions (1999, taken from The Consumer Society Reader - New Press, 2000)

Out-Wallabee the Wallabee again

… I’d have to say that the most unforgettable thing about Junius Sparling had been his Wallabees. He’d had them a long time, they fit his smallish feet perfectly, and they’d been very well taken care of. They’d been brushed and brushed and there wasn’t a spot of coffee stain or pump grease or anything else on the suede leather uppers; even the nubby rubber soles seemed clean and evenly worn down. You could just tell that these shoes were important to the man.

Patrick Fox
Hell’s Creek - A O’Toole Novel (Iuniverse Inc, 2003)

Into the future/1
Clarks Two-Tone Wallabees for NY's Supreme

Into the future/2
Breaking Bad's Walter White (Brian Cranston) | Faithful to the Wallabee
Source: FilmGarb

Saturday, November 4, 2017


CA. 1962 | Roger Vivier for Dior
Source: V&A museum

“I read something in the paper not long ago. Made me think of you,” Matt said. “Remember those machines they had in shoe stores? Tall consoles sort of like old radios, but with a slot down near the bottom.”

“Jesus, yes. I haven’t thought of that.”
“The clerk puts shoes on the kid’s feet and then the kid goes and stands with his feet inside the slot.”
“I haven’t thought of that since I was, what. They stopped making them.”

The Pedoscope Shows Good Fit/Bad Fit

“And the clerk looks into a viewer at the top of the device and can see the feet inside the shoes.”
“To check the fit,” Nick said.

“To check the fit. Well, the machine was a fluoroscope and what it did was transmit x rays through the shoe and into the foot, it’s called differential transmission and it makes a shadowy greenish image. I just barely remember this. Jimmy’s buying you a pair of shoes and then he’s lifting me up so I can look into the machine and see your feet inside your shoes and your bones inside your feet.”

The Pedoscope In Use

“The question is, Where are those shoes now?”
“No, the question is, Did you do this enough times to suffer bone damage because the machine was basically spraying your feet with radiation.”
They heard the key in the lock.

“I have healthy feet,” Nick said.
“I’m relieved.”
“But thanks for the scare. I’ll do the same for you someday.”

Don Delillo
From: Underworld (Scribner, 1996)

1947 | Primex X Ray Shoe Fitter | detail
Source: The Gaffney Ledger | September 9, 1947


X-Ray Fitting