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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

20 Artifacts from the Bata Shoe Musuem that aren't shoes!

We've have put together a list of 20 artiefacts you might not expect to find in a shoe museum. The BSM's collection of 13,000 artefacts obviously contains a large number of shoes, however, we also collect, own and display various other items that may take you by surprise. 

1) Roger Vivier Sketches
The museum has 63 individual and original design sketches dated from 1949 to 1988 by French shoemaker and designer, Roger Vivier. 

2) Egyptian Gilt and Painted Cartonnage Ensemble
Egyptian mask, a pectoral and a foot covering. Ensemble is from the Roman Period, circa 1st century CE.

3) Chinese Painting on Paper
Chinese painting on paper of a woman sewing lotus shoes, late 19th century.

4) Swiss Silver Guild Cup
An inscription at the top of the cup indicates that it was a gift of the Zurich Shoemaker’s Guild to the Zurich Tanner’s Guild in 1590.

5) Soapstone Sculpture
Soapstone sculpture of an Inuit mother, with a child on her back, putting boots on another child. Handmade by Canadian Inuk artist Killy Peshuktu, 1993.

6) Saami Winter Parka
Collected by Drs. Jill Oakes and Rick Riewe during a Saami field trip between April-May1999 sponsored by the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation.


7) Marble Foot Sculpture 
Circa 200-300 BCE, this sculpture is from the Roman era and was found in France.

8) Samurai Doll
This carved and painted wooded doll is adorned with body armour holds a fan in his right hand and a sword in his left. His shoes are very similar to a pair in the BSM's collection.

9) Shoemaking Automaton Monkey
This monkey music box is from 1880 and made by famed French automaton maker, Jean-Marie Phalibois. 

10) Indian Anklets
Anklets are worn singly and in pairs. They are made as single or multiple-piece units, either solid or hollow. The simpleness of this design emphasizes the purity of the silver.

11) Stone Sculpture
This cream coloured sculpture features a woman's
stiletto-heeled shoe and a man's low-heeled oxford. Called A deux, it is one of an edition of 400, signed and numbered
by German sculptor, Paul Wunderlich, between 1973-1988. 

12) Elvis Presley's Shirt 
This casual short sleeved shirt belonged to Elvis Presley in the early 1970s and was purchased by the BSM (along with a pair of shoes) from Christie's auction house.


13) Beaver Fur Hat
The desire for beaver fur hats in European men’s fashions dates back centuries and spurred the development of the 17th century North American fur trade.

14) Louis Vuitton Trunk
This vintage Louis Vuitton shoe trunk was last on display in The Roaring Twenties: Heels, Hemlines and High Spirits.

15) Sled
This Alaskan Inupiat sled from 1900 is primarily made of baleen wood.

16) Model Canoe
This model of a birch bark canoe, accompanied with a wooden paddle, is from the early 19th century.


17) Stirrups
Pair of Chilean wooden pyramid-shaped stirrups with an embossed design of a female figure holding a staff.  


18) Pin Cushions
These miniature seal skin slippers used as pin cushions are from 1989 by Eskimoans from King Island, Alaska.


19) Sneaker-Shaped Coffin
This coffin from 2009 hails from Ghana. A tradition that seeks to celebrate the dead by displaying the source of their success in life is a practice common in Ghana dating back to the late 1950s

20) Sewing Machine
Late 19th century black Singer sewing machine with ornate fret work on standards.