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Shoes: The Meaning of Style (Paperback)
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Shoes: The Meaning of Style (Paperback)

(author)
£15.00
Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 15/04/2019
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Today, buying shoes, wearing shoes, and collecting shoes is for many of us a habit that borders on fetish. Shoe lover or not, we all make choices every day about which shoes to wear. But why do we choose the footwear we do?

In Shoes: The Meaning of Style, Elizabeth Semmelhack explores the history of shoes and how different types of footwear have come to say varying things about the people who wear them. Organized around four main shoe types--boots, sneakers, high heels, and sandals--the book explains their origins, the impact of technology on how shoes are produced and worn, and explores their designs, describing how shoes now have social meaning far beyond their use to protect the foot. She considers how some footwear has been used to protect power structures and perpetuate cultural values, while other footwear has been worn in protest of prevailing cultural norms despite simultaneously being an unabashed product of consumer capitalism. Along the way, Semmelhack reveals the scandals, successes, and obsessions of the designers and consumers that have built the juggernaut shoe industry.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, Shoes is a surprising history of an everyday piece of attire. It will appeal not only to followers of fashion, but to those interested in social history and identity.

Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 9781789140804
Number of pages: 368
Dimensions: 234 x 164 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Semmelhack's book takes issues of identity politics firmly in hand, yet she writes like a true art historian. The result is an incredibly edifying, deeply entertaining, manifestly readable look inside everyday objects that most of us are too busy to truly consider. The book is a more than adequate reference guide for those in the industry, a sample of how to properly curate and discuss a museum exhibit, a lovely coffee table book, and a highly readable adventure in general. This is one of those rare books that truly offers something substantive for everyone who might not usually think about picking it up. On its face, such a daily subject may not seem worth getting excited about, but Shoes is not at all prosaic and it's quite difficult to put down after the first few pages."--Megan Volpert "PopMatters "

"In Semmelhack's wonderful new book she uses her extraordinary knowledge of shoes to shed light on the cultural and ideological over the more familiar accounts of fashion's ever evolving designs. Through vivid examples and rare illustrations, she invests the four categories of sandal, boot, high heel and sneaker with new meaning. It will become essential reading for students and scholars alike."

--Judith Clark, University of the Arts, London

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