Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Roaring Twenties Opening - by Guest blogger Florence McCambridge

The Roaring Twenties: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits

After the initial excitement of being invited to the Bata Shoe Museum for the launch of the new Roaring Twenties exhibition wore off, the fear set in: I had no idea what to wear.  I went through my closet and quickly discovered that I didn't own much of anything inspired by the twenties.  Still, I did the best that I could with what I had and made my way to the event this past Tuesday night.

As I walked through the main entrance of the shoebox-shaped building, I was immediately greeted with the music of Liberty Silver and the Jazz Kats, which set the perfect tone for the evening.  I sipped on a sweet sugar-rimmed Parisian Sidecar cocktail and moved through the crowd made up of mostly women dressed in their best flapper looks.  There were glittering headbands, endless strands of pearls, and of course, sparkling shoes to finish the whole look off.

Parisian Sidecars were the featured cockta
Liberty Silver and the Jazz Kats










After nibbling on some delicious hors d'oeuvres and listening to the introductions of the night, a couple of Charleston dancers led the way up the stairs to the exhibition, and I followed closely behind them.




In her introduction, Sonja Bata said that the Bata Shoe Museum used shoes to tell you about another time period, and this was definitely true of "The Roaring Twenties: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits".

Spectator Shoes - Hellstern and Sons, French late 1920s
I went in not knowing much about the 20s other than what I'd read in the The Great Gatsby and various Coco Chanel biographies, and I would have never imagined that I would have anything in common with the women of that time.  But as I glanced down at a pair of menswear inspired shoes that looked eerily like a pair that I currently own, I realized that we were more alike than I thought.


 The exhibition allows you to get up close to the glittering heels and the floral and textured fabrics of the shoes.  You learn all about the footwear designer Andre Perugia and about why T-strap shoes were invented (hint: it has to do with dancing the Charleston!).  And most importantly, you get to see what life was like for the women of  the 1920s  in the most entertaining way possible,which is through their shoes of course!

Shoes and shoebox by Andre Perguia, French, 1920s
And it doesn't have to end when you leave the exhibition.  The Bata Shoe Museum also has a lecture and movie series to let you get even deeper into the Roaring Twenties.  You can take in an illustrated talk by any of the scheduled speakers, or you can watch a movie set in the 1920s, such as La Vie En Rose, Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, and Some Like It Hot.

On my way home I remembered something that Liberty Silver said in between songs.  She was talking about the twenties and asked the audience "Can you imagine yourself back then?" Originally my answer was no, but after taking in the exhibition I think that I can.

3 comments:

  1. In 2001 me and my friends derided to visited the Bata shoe museum it is really very great and all the shoe styles in the museum are really very nice i really enjoy .. .. ..
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  2. i have watch the video the museum was really very well decorated nice variety of shoes!

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  3. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

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