V138: Early 18th Century Shoes

May 17, 2012 10 comments
The met, 1700-1720
Ladies, here is a look at the shoes that inspired "Pompadour."  I spend a lot of time studying extant footwear before we start development on a new historical style, and I look for the "hallmarks" of a certain decade, or span of time.

Have a look with me. :-)  The hallmarks of late 17th century and early 18th century shoes are:

  • Pointed toe
  • Large Louis heel
  • Latchet OR tab closure

The heels of the early 18th c. are often quite high, and actually get shorter further along in the century.  They are broad, chunky, and "waisted," some quite a lot, and some not so much.
Let's compare and contrast...

For Pompadour, the heel we developed is exclusive to American Duchess, and you can expect future mules and latchet Pomps using this same characteristic heel and pointy toe.

So here are the inspirations!...

Shoe Icons Museum, 1690-1720.  These have a tabbed closure, are made of a brocade textile, and exhibit the pointy toe and large chunky French heel.
Whitaker Auctions, c. 1720. These are a latchet shoe with a dog-leg seam, gold brocade fabric, beautiful!
From The Met, early 18th c., red leather with wooden heels that are surprisingly quite straight.
The Met, 1732-59. These are a "laced" shoe (the topical application on the toe), textile with a leather heel, like Pompadours
The Met, 1690-1729. Very intricately laced leather shoes, early in the century, with a killer pointed toe
The Met, early 18th c.  Textile upper with a tabbed closure, like Pompadours, and a leather-covered heel, fairly straight.
V&A, 1760. This is late in the typical span of this style of shoe.  You can see the construction has started to change a bit, but the big-ass heel is still en vogue
The Met, 1733-55, another laced shoe with a dog-leg seam.
Northampton Museums & Art Gallery, said to be worn by Lady Mary Stanhope in 1660, very early! but you can see the pointed toe, tabbed closure, and large heel. 
The Met, 1710, a laced shoe, textile upper, and a HUGE heel.

Black Pompadours - brocade upper, tabbed closure, and leather-covered Louis heel
So obviously there are some shifts between our modern re-creation and the museum examples - for instance, Pompadours will actually fit on your feet...you can walk more than 3 steps in them...you can buy them.  My goal with the historical footwear is always to get as close to an original style as we can, and still have them wearable.

Here's some more good news - ivory Pompadours are dyeable, and it's REALLY easy to do.  I tried painting on RIT, and they look wonderful.  They're even easier to dye than the Georgianas.

I'm not recommending trippy fade effects here - just testing the dyeability!
So you can get them in black, get them in ivory, dye them to match your dress, and know that what's on your feet are pretty darn close to what ladies were wearing 300 years ago.  This lady has got the right idea...

American 18th Century Catalyntje Post, c. 1747 Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch 1980.62.34 National Portrait Gallery DC
So remember - pre-order for Pompadours is open until June 1st, and you get the discounted price.  You can also enter to win a free pair of Pomps here on the blog, at this posting. (<-- click)


  1. They're awesome! And I think they'd work 'now'...jeans with a tee shirt and cute short jacket maybe!

    1. maybe so! they're kindof like low-top boots

  2. I think they could also work for some 20's styles too!

  3. They're fabulous, I think I might possibly like them better than the later styles. The green ones are my favorites. When I get a pair I will dye them green. I thing green works with the leafy/ seed pod kinds of curves these shoes have, plus they would be amazing with an elf or fairy costume.

    1. I think so too - they are kind of seed-pod-like, aren't they? Green will be an awesome color for these

  4. I'm sorry, I just latched onto the part where you said something about future shoes with the same characteristics. There will be more shoes like this?! Yes please!!! Can we have 1780s styles?

    1. Of course, so long as we get enough support for Pompadour, and I can run the style, there will be more More MORE

  5. Yes Comtesse I too noticed the mention of future styles - a Pompadour with latchets! ahhaha They just reek of Versailles my dear Duchess.
    Damn one's admirer is at the door. Just when one wants to think about shoes!

    1. There are a couple very early-century embroidered velvet mules that have my mind spinning...shhhh, it's our secret :-)

  6. BTW I LOVE LOVE LOVE those red leather shoes! OMgawd they are crackers!


Post a Comment

Costuming Blogs: