The Coronation Shoe was a Delman shoe manufactured by H.R. Rayne and designed by Roger Vivier.
Let that sink in.
Over the years this piece of information felt by the wayside leaving the sole Vivier claiming fatherhood. Of course Delman acquired by Genesco - and slowly fading into oblivion - didn't help, but it is truly remarkable that H.R. Rayne forgot about it in spite of their role as Royal Family's supplier being prominently showcased on their website.
Moreover, H.R. Rayne was the first name to be erased from the whole deal as we were able to retrace only two mentions: one in 1953, when Delman celebrated the joint venture with Dior, and another one in 1957, although, we are sure, more sources can be traced in the U.K.
The only book that touch upon the Delman - H.R. Rayne collaboration is Mary Trasko's "Heavenly Soles": the picture on top comes from page 68 and following is the original caption:
"… design by Roger Vivier of the coronation shoes for Elisabeth II, 1953, created in association with English manufacturers Rayne. The gold kidskin sandal had a slight platform for comfort (since the Queen remained standing during the three-hour ceremony) and a heel studded with garnets. Pen and pencil on paper. (Roger Vivier, Paris)"
1953 | Roger Vivier
Le Soulier De La Reine
This is the most famous shoe never seen when shod (cause the length of the gown) and even when not shod. No pictures are in existence of the Vivier's Coronation shoe, nor the original artefacts since they were not part of "The Queen's Coronation 1953" (Buckingham Palace, 27 July-29 September 2013).
More than that, even serious historians doubted that Vivier designed the Coronation shoe:
In a recent discussion I had with Alexandra Kim, a former curator at Kensington Palace, Kim said:
“...there are no surviving (coronation) shoes that they know of and no record of them being Vivier… it seems highly unlikely that the queen would wear the shoes of a French shoemaker for this event and I also think that she might have chosen more comfortable/practical shoes for an event which was long, with a heavy crown to worry about and shoes that wouldn’t be seen.”
So, here goes the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth:
"I made the design here in my peaceful workshop after being inspired by the rose windows of Chartres and I sent it to London last December," he (Vivier) said. "The Queen accepted the design and I have made a unique pair of shoes which are at the same time light and strong to bear the strain of Coronation Day."
He said the model was to remain secret up to the Coronation next Tuesday so no other woman could copy it ahead of time and wear the same thing.
United Press Staff Correspondent | May 25, 1953
Chartres Cathedral | Detail
Photograp: Francesco Bandarin
It is understood that, as soon as Coronation Day was over, Herman Delman cashed in on the project:
"Delman is the creator of the gold kid slippers Queen Elisabeth wore on Coronation Day ... the new queen's slippers, with an open "rose-window" medallion edged with jewels on the toe and rubies in the slender heel, are being duplicated for sale in America this fall.
The Journal Herald | July 14, 1953
"Her majesty wears a size five, narrow", according to Herman Delman, head of Delman, Ltd., whose French salon made the shoes for Elisabeth.
The shoes cost the court nearly 20 guineas (slightly over $50) - but Delman hastens to add that next fall there will be copies available in all sizes for American women at less. About $49,75 he figures.
Arizona Republic | July 5, 1953
Delman's Coronation Shoe up for sale
In spite of the caption, the pair on the left is more likely "inspired by"
Source: Left - The Corpus Christi Caller Times | August 30, 1953
Source: Right - The Leader Post | June 4, 1953
Given all the above, we now have proof that Vivier designed the coronation shoe via Delman while the role of H.R. Rayne is certain but vague. We'll leave that to our friend Miss Rayne to further investigate.
Here things get interesting: in 2013, for the 60th Coronation Anniversary, the brand Roger Vivier (the man died in 1998) manufactured a Coronation Replica to celebrate the event and they failed to mention the original was made by another brand.
On the other hand, Delman and H.R. Rayne said nothing, but Bally Of Switzerland went beyond outer limits:
|2012 | Roger Vivier|
The Coronation Shoe REPLICA in Hong Kong (January 2013)
Bally has created an exclusive exhibition in Australia and Singapore to commemorate the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, showcasing two replica pairs of shoes worn by the Queen at her wedding and coronation.
Selected from the Bally Shoe Museum’s treasures, these replicas of the shoes worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II for her 1947 wedding to His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and her 1953 Royal Coronation will be on display for the first time in Australia and Singapore in selected Bally stores during August.
The Queen’s wedding shoes, crafted from duchesse satin, and her Royal Coronation shoes, created with gold kidskin, will be on display exclusively at the Bally Queen Victoria Building Boutique in Sydney, from August 1-8, 2012.
Now: how silly is that? Actually Bally didn't say they made the coronation shoe but only the replica, only it bears no resemblance to the authentic Coronation shoe.
The Coronation shoes according to Bally | Replica
Replica of the shoes worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II for her 1953 Royal Coronation, displayed for the first time in Australia at Bally Queen Victoria Building Boutique in Sydney — at Queen Victoria Building.
In the end, we're left here with the moral that marketing reigns supreme and makes a mock of footwear history along the way.
One final thought: how come at Kensington Palace there are no surviving Coronation shoes? Who is the one that - at a certain point - decided to throw them away?
THAT would be nice to know.
1985 | Andy Warhol
From the Reigning Queens portfolio
Since 2012 part of the Royal Collection