Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Empreintes": A BSM installation by Parisian artist Pascale Peyret

2015 has been a wonderfully busy year for the Bata Shoe Museum. We’ve been celebrating our 20th anniversary with new exhibits in our galleries and new art installations in our atrium. On October 1st, we unveiled Empreintes, an installation by French artist Pascale Peyret, which consists of 180 carbonized shoe lasts suspended from the ceiling of our 4-story atrium.

2015 is not only a celebratory year for us, it also marks an important date for the Government of Ontario: it is the 400th anniversary of the French presence in our province. In order to celebrate these two milestone events, The BSM worked with the Consulate General of France in Toronto and the Office of Francophone Affairs to invite Pascale to create a dynamic art installation in our museum.   

Pascale first visited the Bata Shoe Museum in December 2014 and spent several days going through our artifact collection. While examining the soles of our shoes, she became interested in the concept of footprints and what traces, both literal and metaphorical, human beings leave on the planet. Pascale began plans to create a large, spiral-shaped installation made of carbonized wooden shoe lasts that would hang in our atrium. These lasts were designed to represent our collective footprints, and the social and environmental impact of our lives.  

Shortly after her visit, Pascale began collecting wooden shoe lasts, which are forms that shoemakers use to shape and create footwear. These lasts came from several different sources around the world, and Pascale worked with Martial Acquerone in the south of France to carbonize these lasts; a process which gave them a rich, dark, black sheen. She also designed a large metal frame, shaped like a carbon molecule, on which these lasts would hang. Suspended from each last is a transparent label which has written on it an important message about the environment. Working with Alliance Francais, the BSM collected over 200 labels on which Francophone youth reflected on their own carbon footprints, and wrote messages about how we can collectively change our habits to reduce our negative impact on the environment.

After several months of careful planning, the installation began in late September. The lasts themselves were very fragile so we had to be extremely careful during the hanging process to limit any damage. Fortunately, we had an amazing installation team, which included very skilled rope climbers from Rope Access Maintenance, and after a few late nights, we had the installation successfully up! Pascale was here on hand when we officially unveiled the installation as part of Nuit Blanche, and visitors were excited to learn about Empreintes from the artist herself.

Visitors to the Bata Shoe Museum can see Pascale’s work through January 31st, 2016.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

20 Shoes to Inspire your Halloween Costume!

In honour of our 20th anniversary year we're creating some fun top 20 lists from the BSM collection! Join us in celebrating this milestone by learning something new and unique about the BSM collection.

In celebration of Halloween later this month, here is a list of 20 shoes that may just inspire your Halloween costume this year!

1) Astronaut
This astronaut’s training boot from the Apollo Space Program were worn by Jim Lovell and are on loan from the National Air & Space Museum.

2) Disco Queen 
This pair of platform sling-backs with a funky pattern are Loris Azzaro originals from the 1970s. 

3) Spy
These leather brogues were actually worn by James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan in the 1999 spy film "The World is not Enough".

4) Witch
This pair of lace-up boots from 1900 are perfect for a classic witch costume. 

5) Baseball Player
Worn by Toronto Blue Jay Dave Winfield at the last game of the 1992 World Series.

6) Knight
Sabatons are armoured footwear worn as part of a complete suit of amour. This pair of authentic German gothic sabatons are from 1490.

7) Ballerina
These silk ballet pointe shoes were worn by Veronica Tennant, one of Canada's most famous ballerinas. 

8)Race Car Driver 
These Sparco racing boots were worn by Nigel Mansell when he won the 1992 Formula 1 Championship driving for William Renault.

9) Pop Star
As a member of the Spice Girls, one of the most successful girl bands, Gerri Halliwell (better known as "Ginger Spice") rocked these platforms in the 1990s.

10) Policeman/woman
This pair of Canadian police motorcycle boots in black leather are from the 1990s.

11) Cinderella
These square-toed glass slippers look nearly identical to the ones Cinderella wore to the ball in the classic 1950 film.

12) Clown
This pair of red leather clown boots worn and signed by Ronald McDonald himself!

13) Movie Star
These strappy high heeled evening sandals by Halston were owned by one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, Elizabeth Taylor

14) Princess
These classic turquoise pumps were made in 1987 by Rayne for Princess Diana. 

15) Cowboy

These classic cowboy boots were made by Tony Lama in the middle of the 20th century and are ready to be worn on horseback! 

16) Cat
Throw on some cat ears and you'll be purrr-fect from head to toe!

17) Flapper
This pair of satin heels are from what many call the Flapper Era - the mid to late 1920s.

18) Basketball player
While not many people would fit into these size 23 basketball shoes belonging to Shaquille O'Neal, they may inspire some to dress up like their favourite basketball player!

19) Doo Wop Darling
These white and blue saddle shoes are from the 1950s. This saddle shoe style was popular among teenagers in the 1940s to the early 1960s.

20) Hockey Player
Jennifer Botterill wore these skates at the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 when her team won the gold metal for Canada in Women's hockey.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

20 French Shoes at the BSM

In honour of our 20th anniversary year we're creating some fun top 20 lists from the BSM collection! Join us in celebrating this milestone by learning something new and unique about the BSM collection.

This September marks the 400th anniversary of the Francophonie in Ontario and a new art installation is now on display at the BSM created by Parisian artist, Pascale Peyret. As such, we have compiled a list of 20 French shoes in our collection! 
1) Silk Slippers
These blue silk Albert cut slippers date back between 1860-1880 and are said to have been from Provence.

2) Chameleon Shoes
These women's dress shoes come from Montpelier between 1860-1863. 

3) Adelaide Boots
Found in a cottage on Peaks Island, Maine, these boots are French-made from 1855.  

4) Lace Up Boots
This pair of satin ankle boots were designed by French designer, Francois Pinet, in 1870. 

5) Single Mule
This brocade mule from 1700 has a needlepoint toe and a leather-covered Louis heel.

6) Court Shoes
This pair was handcrafted by Pietro Yantorny in the early half of the 20th century. 

7) Silk Boots
The style of this French pair of crimson boots is actually known as Polish or Hungarian.

8) Courreges Boots
Made in France, these cream leather boots are still with their original box from 1964. 

9) Plaid Ankle Boots
These lace up booties are dated from 1855-1865 and are currently on display in our exhibit, "Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century".

10) T-Strap Heels
Handmade by French designer Andre Perugia in 1923, these two-tone shoes are fashioned from bronze velvet and metallic gold leather.

11) Wooden Platforms
These heels were purchased by a US army lieutenant while being stationed in France in the mid 1940s.  He sent them to Joyce (Sommer) Bull as a present who wore them and even had leather added to the soles after the war to prolong their longevity.

12) Roger Vivier Pumps
These Vivier originals are from 1963-1969 and have a novelty heel shape and design.

13) Sling-back Platforms
Designed by Pierre Cardin in 1976-1978, these platforms are made of red cast foam.

14) Patent Leather Boots
This pair of metallic wine-coloured boots were designed by Charles Jourdan in the early 1990s. 

15) Chanel Ballet Flats

This pair of Chanel shoes are signature to the iconic brand. These are from the 2007 collection and were used in Montreal as press samples. 

16) Christian Dior Court Shoes
These heels were designed by Roger Vivier between 1960-1963. 

17) Black Pumps
This pair of heels was designed by French designer, Andre Perugia, for Princess Lilian of Belgium in the 1950s.

18) Mules
This pair of sleek mules, by Charles Jourdan, were designed in the mid 1990s.

19) Cathedral Mary Janes
These Christian Louboutin originals from 2007 were inspired by the designer's visit to the Bata Shoe Museum in 2005. They are currently on display in our permanent exhibit, "All About Shoes".

20) Slippers
Made by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s, these slippers are covered in pink suede and even have a small wedged heel.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

The BSM turns twenty!

By Maxine Verclyte, Communications Intern

                     The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.

2015 marks the BSM’s twentieth anniversary year and I am very excited to be here in Canada from Belgium doing an internship at the museum while they celebrate. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to look back at the past 20 plus years of the BSM collection and see how far they have come!

The very first time visitors were able to see BSM Founder Sonja Bata’s shoe collection was in 1979, at the offices of Bata Limited, in the Don Mills area of Toronto where it was displayed for 6 years. Later, in June 1992, the exhibition opened on the second floor of the Colonnade, an office and retail complex in downtown Toronto where it remained until November 1994.

On May 6th, 1995, the Bata Shoe Museum opened its doors to welcome shoe lovers from all over the world. More than 13,000 shoes and artifacts from around the globe had finally found a permanent home. From that day on the BSM has continued to create themed exhibitions for their visitors to enjoy and learn from.

The themes vary from a specific time in history to examining different cultural groups of people in the world. All the themes were different but they all concerned the same topic - footwear.
A lot of exhibitions have come and gone here at the Bata Shoe Museum. Here is a look back at some of their most successful ones.

First off is the Spirit of Siberia exhibition that organized in 1995. It was a fascinating exhibition about the lives of Siberian people. They wanted to create an exhibit to share their stories with their visitors by showing how Siberian people dress and what kind of footwear they wear to withstand the extreme weather conditions.

The Perfect Pair: Wedding Shoe Stories opened in 2002 and featured traditional wedding footwear and rituals from around the world. In the exhibition, visitors could see wedding shoes such as the Japanese zori, the Indian paduka and many more which illustrated how many wedding rituals are performed to ensure that newlyweds step into the future on a sure footing.

In 2006 the BSM was proud to present The Charm of Rococo: Femininity and Footwear in the 18th Century. This exhibit showcased the opulence of the age of Louis XV. The quality of the artifacts showed the exquisite craftsmanship and eclectic imagination of the era of Rococo.

The following year a wonderful exhibition with seldom seen artifacts opened to the public. From Napoleon’s black silk socks to a Japanese samurai’s shoes of bear fur and silk were on display in Chronicles of RichesThe gallery was very colorful and dynamically designed which made the exhibition very enjoyable to visitors.

On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels was a unique exhibition which made history! This exhibition brought together treasured pieces from the BSM’s collection and many other international museums.

The exhibition was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for shoe lovers to see extremely rare 16th and 17th century artifacts. On a Pedestal focused on two of the most extreme forms of footwear ever worn in Western fashion: the outrageous platform chopine and its more modern equivalent, the heel.

The 5000 square foot uppermost gallery made the visitor feel as though they were visiting both a Venetian home with an intimate loggia and an elegant Dutch house of the early 17th century.

Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection was an homage to the methodology of this masterful shoe designer. The exhibition opened its doors in 2012 and stayed open till April 7th, 2013.
Origin Studios created three different rooms to honour the designer. The first one was the Salon - an imitation of the boutique look and feel of Paris couture. The 'perfection' room displayed completed shoes and last but not the less important, was the 'process' room where visitors could catch a glimpse into the designer’s mind though his original drawings.

To wear dreams on one's feet is 
to begin to give 
reality to one's dreams 
- Roger Vivier

In 2013 the BSM opened a ground-breaking exhibition - Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture which will soon start travelling in the US beginning at the Brooklyn Museum in July.
The sneakers on view were chosen by designers such as Eric Avar, Mark Smith and the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the designer of the Air Trainer and Air Max 1 and almost every Air Jordan. Their work and their corresponding drawings could be seen in the exhibition and on the walls.
The design for this exhibition had a very new and modern look and was designed by renowned industrial designer Karim Rashid.