Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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Shoes for Jamestown, and Williamsburg, and Whoopi Goldberg

I have some exciting news to share with you all!

While I was in Williamsburg, I had a couple meetings with the costume departments of Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, both of which went very well. The result is that we're going to be developing some styles with both sites!

It's early days, but I can hint to you that the 18th century shoe will be made of wool, and the Jamestown shoe will be a slashed leather flat. Both shoes will be worked for maximum comfort and durability outdoors, for the interpreters who will be wearing them daily...and they both will be available to the general public to buy too. :-D

I've fallen down the rabbit hole of research already. Here are some inspirational pieces for the Jamestown shoe...

VandA, shoe, c. 1600, English
John de Critz the Elder, portrait of James I, 1606

Robert Peake, portrait of Prince Henry, son of James I, c. 1608

In other weird,wacky, and wonderful news, out of the blue, Whoopi Goldberg has asked us to make four pairs of the most richly decorated shoes I can dream up. My head is spinning in so many directions! I have no idea how she found us, or what she's planning for these, but I'm really excited to see what kind of stuff we can come up with. Brocades and embroidery and silver lace, oh my!

The Met, early 18th c.
VandA, Spitalfields silk shoes, c. 1735
Museum of London, shoes, c. 1760
I'll share more about these projects soon!
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28 comments:

  1. I have to say, if you'd said a mystery celebrity wanted to buy some extravagant shiny shoes, Whoopi would have been my last guess.

    My excitement over the prospect of wool shoes is high!

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    1. I would never have guessed Whoopi either, but here she is! Crazy!

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  2. Awesome! Congratulations on the Whoopi project! :D

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  3. That's great! Congratulations!

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  4. Guinan wants your shoes. Girl, you have ARRIVED.

    My mind is blown over your Jamestown + Williamsburg collaboration! Congratulations on the well-earned recognition!

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  5. Terrific, congratulations! Will versions of the Whoopi shoes also be available to the public; because those sound divine.

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    1. Thanks! Not sure yet - we've never done anything like this before, so it's kindof an exploratory process. We'll see.

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  6. Just letting you know I spotted some American duchess shoes in the hallmark tv series "when calls the heart"

    Grace

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    1. Oh, thanks for the heads up! I'll need to find the show and watch it...

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  7. Wow...WOOOOWWW!!! Absolutely exciting news :)

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  8. Oh I can't wait to see what Whoopi does with them! And how over-the-top gorgeous you make them!

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    1. Eeee! I'm thinking vintage laces and all sorts of things!

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  9. Congratulations. Your work is worthy of deserving these projects. I'm already looking forward to seeing the results

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  10. Whoopi has a "shoe spotlight" on The View where she wears crazy cool shoes and sends a shout out to the people who made them. I'd recommend that, if she's gonna use the shoes for that, that you have some available to the public to buy when the feeding frenzy starts from her push.

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    1. Oh my giddy aunt! You're right ... just in case...should prepare....

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  11. Wow! So many exciting things going on. Congratulations. We all are so lucky to have found you and being able to purchase your beautiful shoes. Thank you, thank you.....

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  12. Bling. It needs bling. Like...precious-metal embroidery and the lovely flat eighteenth-century sequins. I'm kind of terrified about what you'll come up with because as soon as I see it, I'll NEED it.

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  13. I'm kicking around the idea of doing a really limited run of whichever 4 styles we do for Whoopi. It may or may not work - some of the ideas I've come up with have antique/vintage laces on them that obviously we wouldn't be able to reproduce exactly, but who knows. I won't lie, they won't be cheap, but they will be awesome.

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    1. Very keen on the shoes - probably welted with a double sole, grain out, quarters seam, and they appear to be unlined. It's interesting that there isn't any evidence of a top band or stitching along the opening, as that was very common at the time.

      Congratulations also on the excellent commission! One thought might be to take your "off the peg" shoes and bling them up considerably, showing how versatile they can be, even with regular clothes. That way, if she does intend to talk about them on her show, the masses will have access to the same shoes that she talked about, rather than a limited edition run (then again, limited edition could always turn into production!).

      - Francis

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    2. Thanks! After talking with Whoopi a little more, the shoes we're making for her are just for her, so we won't be doing any kind of production. Still, the idea of some blingin' "special edition" stompers in the future appeals to me...

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  14. That all very exciting!! Congratulations!

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  15. Are these them? https://www.facebook.com/whoopigoldberg/photos/a.773381362673886.1073741827.181582881853740/813439938668028/?type=1&theater

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    1. That's one pair - we did 5 custom designs for her :-)

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