While these incredible shoes were not worn by the Wicked Witch of the West, she probably would have loved them. Labeled “The Livingston Shoe,” these bronzed leather lace-up beauties came from Charleston shoe retailer, Walter Francis Livingston (1874-1946). He opened his store at 366 King Street in 1896 and these probably date to right around then. They have long, shallow pointed toes, curvaceous Louis heels and high front lacing over a tongue lined in lamb’s wool.
Bronzing refers to a process of treating the leather with red dye, originally cochineal and by the 1890s, an aniline dye imitation, to give it a metallic semi-iridescence.
Livingston remodeled his store in 1922 and opened a second store in Jacksonville Florida. In the 1921 Boot & Shoe Recorder, he was touted as using an aeroplane to advertise “the best advertised shoe sale ever held in the South.” Livingston himself went up as a passenger in the plane to drop circulars and advertisements over the Isle of Palms on Sunday, June 25. Among the flyers was a coupon for a free pair of shoes and $1 off coupons. He was often mentioned as having attended the Boston Style Show, bringing the latest styles and patterns to Charleston direct from the largest and most representative manufacturers.
Ladies’ skirts were still long in the 1890s, so probably just these pointed toes would appear. But, some of the more active fashions (walking outfits, business wear) saw skirts rising around the ankle, so these would have been perfect.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday