From the Vaults: Silk Evening Shoes

Posted on July 17, 2014

Part of a series featuring highlights of my recent research at the Library of Congress.


“Silk Ribb Evening Shoe” by William Skinner and Sons.

William Skinner and Sons was a very successful silk cloth manufacturer with roots dating back to the 1850s.   Their earliest ads in Apparel Arts often promoted their quality silk linings for robes, suit jackets and tuxedos and occasionally for lapel facings and cummerbunds.  By the mid-1930s they were ambitiously diversifying into other aspects of formal wear.  In 1936 a six-page ad touted the company’s silk bow ties, waistcoat linings, opera hats, mufflers and, most unusually, the silk faille shoes depicted above.

I imagine these had very limited appeal considering they must have cost a fortune yet would be unable to stand up to the usual scuffs and stains incurred even by formal footwear.  Then again, perhaps such decadence was the very basis of their appeal.

Posted in: History