Spotlight: New “Fraser” Early 18th Century Leather Shoes

Lauren reporting –

As you all know, this year we’ve opened all of our new Fall/Winter historic styles for pre-order at the same time. We’ve also made the pre-order period longer – through November 1st – and each week, I’ll be focusing on each design and sharing my inspiration, research, and references.

This week the spotlight is on “Fraser,” the new earlier 18th century leather shoes perfect for cosplay, French and Indian War, or any ensemble from c. 1700 – 1760.

“Fraser” has been in development a *long* time. We first prototyped this design way back 2012, when it was called “Lexington.” Then it became “Madison” in 2013, but through factory changes and re-development and other stuff happening, the design, name, and timing still wasn’t quite right. Finally here we are in 2016 with two seasons of everyone’s favorite TV show set in 1740s Scotland behind us, with the 18th c – inspired patterns released by Simplicity this past Summer, and the timing couldn’t be more right.

When I was designing the Frasers, I wanted to include differences between them and the Pompadours. I knew you gals would be using them for more rough-and-ready events, and needed a lower heel, more robust materials, and a good comfortable shoe. We’ve done the “Fraser” with a tapered toe and our broad 2 inch French heel, essential hallmarks of earlier 18th century footwear. Additionally, instead of tabs we’re using latchets to be worn with buckles, and we’ve done pointed latchets, tongue, and dog-leg seams, also design cues from early 18th century shoes.

Comparing silhouettes of all our 18th century shoes (click for larger)

The Frasers are calf leather on the upper, lined in canvas like original 18th c. shoes. This is very comfortable and allows the shoes to conform to your feet more quickly. The heels are leather-covered; we’ve soled in leather as well; and, of course, we’ve included the white rand between the sole and the upper, one of the most identifying elements of women’s shoes in this period.

There aren’t very many surviving common women’s leather shoes in collections, but we do have lots of contemporary advertisements and records about women’s footwear. (Nicole of Diary of a Mantua Maker does excellent research in this vein. Also check out The Old Bailey for records). In looking at the records, leather was the second most common material after wool (“stuff”), and black the most common color.

Hampshire Museum, 1710 – 1730 (record no longer available)
LACMA, 1740-1750 M.82.26.4a-b (record w/o pictures)

Shoe Icons, c. 1770s 

We’ve done the Frasers in black leather (of course!) as well as ivory leather. I’m *so* happy with the final result of these beautiful, accurate, early 18th century shoes, and I know you’ll love ’em too. Frasers are on pre-order through November 1st for $20 off, plus combo discounts on buckles, stockings, and leather care products, as well as free USA shipping if your order is over $165.


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