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Footwear in Step with Labor Activism, Suffrage, and the Sexual Revolution

February 27–June 6, 2021 |  Fifth Third Gallery

From silk boudoir shoes created for the 1867 Paris Exposition to early 1940s leather spectator pumps signed by the New York Yankees, Walk This Way features more than 100 striking pairs of shoes. Organized by the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition presents footwear—spanning nearly 200 years and multiple countries—from the collection of high-fashion shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. Weitzman’s wife, businesswoman and philanthropist Jane Gershon Weitzman, formed and added to the collection as a gift to her husband over their 50 years of marriage.

An integral part of our everyday lives, shoes not only protect our feet, but tell stories centered around women’s labor activism, the fight for suffrage, and the sexual revolution. They also serve as pathways toward discovering the vital role women and diverse historical narratives played in both the production and consumption of footwear. In this exhibition, women take center stage as we explore a variety of shoes, including those worn by suffragists as they marched through the streets, Jazz Age flappers as they danced the Charleston, and starlets who graced the silver screen in the postwar era. Walk This Way features the footwear designs of Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Beth Levine—the “First Lady of Shoe Design”—as well as shoes by Stuart Weitzman himself.

Exhibition Support Generously Provided By

 

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