Amazing shoes from the 1930s

Booties perched atop two square bridge-like platforms. A heel that protrudes from the gaping mouth of a ram’s head like a downspout from a gargoyle. Or a shoe that creeps up the foot in fan-like folds, as if foreshadowing the existence of the Sydney Opera House.

One might imagine that I’m describing part of Lady Gaga’s footwear collection but these shoe concepts are not only from far before her time, they’re far ahead of their own. Created by French designer Steven Arpad in around 1939, some for the House of Balenciaga, these shoes are at times whimsical, at times bazaar. Though avant garde for their day, many of the architectural and artistic shapes are now regularly seen on runways and on the street, and there’s many a pair of Arpad’s that sits well on trend today.

vintage shoes 1939

Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad
Shoe concepts from 1939: Steven Arpad

Peruse the gallery by clicking on the thumbnails to see more of Steven Arpad’s inventive footwear creations.

All images are from the Met Museum collection; and a hat tip to Retronaut for spotting them.

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