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New York Cool - Fashion

Shoes in the City
The Museum at FIT's
"Shoe Obsession Show"
February 8 - April 13, 2013


Written by Wendy R. Williams

Photographed by
Katherin Wermke
Barcelona Photographer

Opposite Photo:
Dr. Valerie Steele, Director
The Museum at FIT
Photo Credit: Katherin Wermke


"All women have a bit of Imelda Marcus in them," Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT.

Women just love their high heels. Beautiful shoes are props for tales of romance, intrigue, limousines and sex. An exquisite pair of high heels can beguile the denizens of the Monkey Bar or transport the wearer into an "Evelyn Waughish" upper-crust world.

Fashion's ruby-red-shoed Dorothys will be enchanted this February when the Museum at FIT's (aka Fashion Institute of Technology) "Shoe Obsession" exhibit opens at the start of Spring/Summer 2013 Fashion Week. (The shows runs February 8, 2013 through April 13, 2013.)

Dr. Valerie Steele
Director, The Museum at FIT
Photo Credit: Katherin Wermke

"Shoe Obsession" was curated by Museum Director Dr. Valerie Steele who certainly knows a thing or two about shoes. Steele speaks of the extraordinary amount of enthusiasm the "shoe show" has generated among The Museum's supporters. According to Dr. Steele, shoes have replaced handbags as the "it" accessory. Shoe departments are bigger (the Saks Fifth Avenue shoes department has its own zip code), heels and platforms are higher and more and more women are obsessed with their heels.

What is it about a pair of shoes that magically transforms women into Cinderella's sisters? We covet and collect to the point that the average New York woman supposedly owns twenty or more pairs of shoes. But twenty pairs pale in comparison to the fantastic collections of fashion icon Daphne Guiness, jewelry designer Lyn Brann and Baroness Monica von Neumann (subject of the 2011 documentary God Save My Shoes) who loaned a portion of their personal shoe collections to The Museum for the exhibit. (Lending one's shoes to a museum exhibit certainly justifies going shopping for new shoes).

Roger Vivier (Bruno Frisoni) Eyelash Heel Pumps
Fall 2012-2013 Rendez-Vous (Limited Edition Collection)
Photograph courtesy Roger Vivier/Photo by Stephane Garrigues

According to Dr. Steele, the FIT exhibit will focus on the shoes of the last twelve years - the twenty-first century "post Carrie Bradshaw world." The exhibit will highlight the "usual suspects" such as designers Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Ferragamo. Also on view will be the creations of Bruno Frisoni (of Roger Vivier), Pierre Hardy, Nicholas Kirkwood, Alexandre Birman, Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Noritaka Tatehana and Alessandra Lanvin plus shoes from major design houses like Givenchy.

Tom Ford
Spring 2012
Courtesy Tom Ford
Photograph © The Museum at FIT

Admission to the "Shoe Obsession" exhibit is free and open to the public. Museum Hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon-8 pm; Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays. For more information about The Museum at FIT, log onto their website at

Chanel, 2009
From the collection of Lynn Ban Photograph
© The Museum at FIT

The exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT are supported by The Couture Council, a membership group of fashion enthusiasts. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon held every September. For information on the Couture Council, call 212 217.4532 or email






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