Perfect for a crisp fall day are these two-toned heeled pumps from the 1930s. These tan suede shoes with brown alligator leather toes with perforated edging, heels and decorative bows were made by Naturalizer. Biltrite is stamped into the heel. There is decorative zig-zag stitching around the vamp opening. The covered knock-on heel is 3 inches high with the straight styling popular in the 1930s. In addition to Naturalizers, the label inside reads Plus Fit Lasts.

While similar to Spectator (or “Co-respondent” in Britain) shoes, these do not have the typical perforated wingtip or heel cap. They simply have a stitched and perforated toe cap and covered heel. Nevertheless, the two-toned construction gives the appearance of a Spectator without some of the flash, especially given the tan and brown coloring rather than the more typical white and brown (or black or blue).

Naturalizer was created in 1927 and by 1938 had a distinctive brand image. Biltrite was a rubber sole and heel company founded in 1908 in Trenton, NJ.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our 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

These stylish dark brown suede platform sandals, 1940s were made by and marked DeLiso Debs / Designed by Palter DeLiso. These high fashion shoes were worn in Charleston by, Mrs. T. W. Bennett.

Palter DeLiso was an American shoe design company, founded in 1927 by American businessman Daniel Palter and Italian-immigrant footwear designer, Vincent DeLiso.  In 1938, they invented the peep-toe slingback pump, shocking the public by offering such scandalous open-toed shoes. Their shoes were especially popular during and after the war. The brand was influenced by haute couture, but marketed to the upper middle-class, selling in high end shoe boutiques and department stores. They won the inaugural Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion.
A 1944 advertisement for Palter DeLiso in the Ottawa Citizen was entitled “Artistry in Shoes.” It read: “To wear Palter DeLiso’s Shoe is to experience the result of a master shoe designer’s art. This season they’re probably smarter than ever – simpler – in good taste.”

Another pair of platform sandals, these silver leather studded shoes, also from the 1940s, are labeled Ferralli of Hollywood.  They show their glamour with the “silver” studded platform soles. This nail head embellishment was popular throughout the 1940s, on shoes, trousers and dresses. Evening shoes and summer sandals with nail head embellishment across the vamp and along the ankle straps were widely advertised in the early 1940s. This pair was worn by Francys M. Kasdorf of Charleston in 1944. We have been unable to obtain information on Ferralli of Hollywood and the Museum would welcome any help.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our 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

These little white satin wedding slippers were worn by Maria Willard Grayson, the daughter of Hon. Williams J. Grayson, at the time of her marriage to Dr. Thomas Louis Ogier in 1833. They are very stylish for the period, being square toed slippers with long silk ribbons to tie around the ankle and a tiny ribbon bow on the vamp opening. The flat sole is thin leather. They were made as straights, but one is marked “Droit” for the right. This marking, including ”Gauche” for left, is often seen in early shoes. They are also marked in ink “M. W. O / 1833” for the original owner. Her granddaughter Julia Lynah McCoy, gave the shoes to the Charleston Museum in 1937.

In the early 1800s, women abandoned high-heeled shoes and began to wear less embellished leather or silk slippers. These remained fashionable until the middle of the 19th century. Our pair bears a label from the shoemaker, Esté / M. Cordonnier, Tient Msin de Souliers / de Femmes et Enfans, &c / Rue de la Paix No 13. / Près celle revue St. Augustin / Paris.”

Esté was a well-known shoemaker or cordonnier in Paris, as early as 1821. The Esté (and later Viault Esté ) are the most commonly seen labels in museum collections.  By 1838, Viault either bought into or married into the business and the label became Viault Esté.

While it is possible that Marian purchased these shoes in Paris, they might have been imported to Charleston, a bustling city with an array of fashionable shoe establishments.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our 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

These fashionable flowery shoes certainly represent the early 1960s with a flair. The colorful cross-stitch flowers not only cover the vamp and pointed toes of the shoes, but they adorn the stiletto heels as well. Wouldn’t they be perfect for a walk in the April sunshine?

Probably worn by the donor, Frances Schrader, these Mademoiselle brand shoes bear a label from The Capitol, Sumter, S.C. The Capitol was Sumter’s first department store, opened in 1928 by Reuben Brody and his brothers. It was known for carrying the “latest in fashions.”

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 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

This wonderful black silk slipper dates to the early 19th century, with its flat sole and pointed toe. It was made as a straight (no specific right or left) and has lovely ruched silk ornamentation. Such a delicate shoe would have required some protection when worn in the rather muddy and rather unpleasant streets. Our patten or clog has a flat wooden sole with a fairly pointed toe and a black velvet strap. A patten with a sharply pointed toe (like our slipper) would date before 1810, those with oval toes from 1800-1830 and ones with square toes after 1830. The iron ring elevates the slipper and foot, thus protecting the shoe. The wooden platform is about 2” high, typical for pattens of this period.

These were more useful in town than in the country since they would sink into mud but work well on pavement; however, walking would be rather noisy. The “ceaseless clink of pattens” is mentioned in Jane Austen’s novels, being quite popular in English towns.

Both the the slipper and patten are on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Shoes, January 26 - June 9, 2013

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 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

Accessorize for the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake!

These fabulous purple snakeskin and suede shoes, from the 1970s are labeled Andrea Pfister. Pfister was a noted Italian shoe designer, born in Pesaro, Italy in 1942. After designing collections for Lanvin, he opened his first shop in 1967, branching out to an accessory line in 1974 and a ready-to-wear line in 1976. He collaborated with Anne Klein for many years, invented colors and finishings for the Italian tannery, Stefania, and, since 1993, worked as the artistic director of Bruno Magli Shoes. Pfister describes his art: “My shoes are feminine, sexy, full of humor and perfectly made.” Colors are very important to him and are the starting point of any design.  

These stunning pink, black and white snakeskin sling-back shoes are also from Andrea Pfister.

Brown snakeskin zippered bag, probably 1950s, by Morle. It is edged with tan leather cording matching the long handles and bag lining.

Gray snakeskin clutch purse, probably 1970s, by Gucci, but the design is pretty timeless. It is lined with gray leather, has interior pockets and an enclosed mirror. The brass top spring clasp is covered with the same snakeskin and has Gucci’s distinctive symbol on the front.

We have many more photos of these snakeskin accessories. Click to view more!


These all belonged to the donor’s wife, Quintillia “Tilla” Shuler Ripley (1922-2003) of Charleston.
Gift of Warren Ripley in 2003

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 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

These shoe advertisements all come from our Trade and Advertising collection, in particular the ephemera subset, which consists mostly of trade cards and ads. The Trade and Advertising collection also contains a large amount of billheads and receipts. While these specific examples may advertise a nationally available product, these particular ads all promoted local Charleston businesses. While we do not have exact dates available, it is thought that most of these ads come from the late 19th century.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.

Brown leather and suede shoes, 1920s-1930s. The tan leather piping sets off the styling of these shoes, marked Delman / New York-Paris / Southampton-Washington, D.C. The back section and high, thin, straight-sided Louis heel are brown suede, the toe is brown leather. The open cut-out and skinny straps add glamour to this simple but stylish shoe. The small, plain buckle may help date these shoes earlier in the 1920s and be some of Delman’s earlier shoes.

The Delman label was established by Herman Delman (originally Nudelman) in 1919 as a made-to-order shop on Madison Avenue, N.Y. He expanded into ready-to-wear and cooperated with many famous shoe designers, especially Roger Vivier.

Delman one of the oldest and most respected salon brands in American footwear and is still available today. His concept was to produce glamorous, innovative, and classic styles designed to flatter and help a woman move gracefully day or night.

A 1934 article in Time Magazine states that when Delman gave up his retail store on Madison Avenue in 1933 and confined himself to manufacturing, he produced 2500 pairs / week of high-end ready-to-wear shoes.

Saks Fifth Ave signed a contract to be his exclusive agency in Manhattan; outside Manhattan, Delman shoes sold in 30 cities. Delman retired in 1954 and died in 1955; the business changed hands a few times and the brand belongs to Nina Footwear Co. since 1989.

20th century stylesetters and influential women wore Delman shoes – Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Jacqueline Kennedy, Joan Crawford, and Mamie Eisenhower.

These shoes will be on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Shoes from January 26 to June 9, 2013.

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 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

Red, white and blue for the 4th of July! Shoes, that is. All from the late 1940s and early 1950s, these stylish pumps are perfect for any celebration.

The RED peep-toe shoes are labeled Mainstreeter’s, size 7 and date c. 1948. In the late 1940s the open toe as well as the opening of the heel and the chunky heel were popular. The white-trimmed bow is a nice accent. This pair was worn by Mrs. Ruth Holmes Walker Gadsden of Summerville, SC.

The WHITE perforated leather pumps from the early 1950s are from Naturalizer / The Shoe With the Beautiful Fit. Started in 1927, Naturalizer became known for its stylish yet wearable shoes, a name that signified quality. In 1945, $5 million worth of Naturalizer shoes were sold. This pair was worn by Margaret Ellen Chandler James of Charleston.

The BLUE leather pumps are also late 1940s, worn by Mrs. William Mims Harper of Darlington, SC. The right shoe bears an I. Miller, Beautiful Shoes / Made in New York  label, while the left shoe label tells us  they were sold at the I. Miller Salon /  Sosnik’s, Winston-Salem, N.C. The squared walled toe is very stylish for the ‘40s, as is the smart 2 ½” heel. The unusual “bow” adds a streamlined flair.

Israel Miller, a Polish immigrant in 1892, was originally a theatrical designer in New York. He established the I. Miller Shoe Company in the 1920s, designing and manufacturing women’s shoes. In 1926 he built a large building on Times Square, with architect Louis H. Friedland and decorated with sculpture by Alexander Stirling Calder as a tribute to the theatre. The carving on one side reads: “The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear.”

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

Maroon satin shoes, 1880s. These stylish pumps bear a single buttoned strap across the instep, a satin rosette ornamentation and covered knock-on Louis heels. This pair was worn by Mrs. William Turner Jackson (1846-1900) of Gainesville, Florida.  She may have worn these with an elegant dress of similar color and fabric.
Note: this week every day is Textile Tuesday in celebration of Charleston Fashion Week!
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

Maroon satin shoes, 1880s. These stylish pumps bear a single buttoned strap across the instep, a satin rosette ornamentation and covered knock-on Louis heels. This pair was worn by Mrs. William Turner Jackson (1846-1900) of Gainesville, Florida.  She may have worn these with an elegant dress of similar color and fabric.

Note: this week every day is Textile Tuesday in celebration of Charleston Fashion Week!

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