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.