Photographs by Corrado Serra.
“The New-York Historical Society explores how shoes have transcended their utilitarian purpose to become representations of culture—coveted as objects of desire, designed with artistic consideration, and expressing complicated meanings of femininity, power, and aspiration for women and men alike. Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes highlights 100 pairs of shoes from the iconic designer’s extensive private collection, assembled over three decades with his wife Jane Gershon Weitzman.
‘Walk This Way will surprise and delight visitors with its unexpected lens on women’s history through Stuart Weitzman’s unparalleled historic footwear collection,’ says Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. ‘Shoes on view range from designs to be worn in the privacy of a woman’s home, shoes that American suffragists wore as they marched through city streets, ‘sexy’ heels that reflected changing norms of female aesthetics, and professional shoes suitable for the increasing numbers of women in the workforce. We are thrilled to be able to offer the public this unique opportunity to explore the private collection of a collector extraordinaire who is also America’s top shoe designer.’
The exhibition considers the story of the shoe from the perspectives of collection, consumption, presentation, and production. It explores larger trends in American economic history, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as producers, consumers, designers, and entrepreneurs.
As Stuart Weitzman himself expresses in the exhibition catalogue, shoes ‘tell an almost infinite number of stories. Stories of conformity and independence, culture and class, politics and performance’.” — New-York Historical Society
Walk This Way is coordinated by Valerie Paley—New-York Historical’s vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center for Women’s History—with Edward Maeder, consulting curator, and Jeanne Gardner Gutierrez, curatorial scholar in women’s history.