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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Some people's wardrobes are about a small selection of pieces that all fit within one aesthetic - Tania Braukamper isn't such a person. With a wardrobe that spans three different rooms, her approach to fashion is a mixture of current-season key pieces mixed with vintage finds she's sourced on innumerous shopping trips around the world's more cultured capitals. Despite a disparate approach to shopping, Tania is adamant that the key to mixing vintage with new season is to stick to key looks and colours that work for oneself. And it's a theory that she works into her writing for Fashionising.com, where she serves as the publication's Editor.