In Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 at 12:39 am
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In I want... on February 21, 2012 at 10:01 am
The shoes above were published in the October issue of VOGUE in 1939 as a design for the House of Balenciaga. However, this pair and the rest of the shoes you are about to see in this article were actually designed by a little-known designer called Steven Arpad (1904-1999), who worked mostly anonymously throughout his life in Paris.
The only existing documentation of Arpad’s unusual work is held with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection of prototypes made in 1939, is accompanied by an archive of his original design sketches which has made it possible for the museum to identify Arpad’s uncredited shoe designs for major fashion houses such as Balenciaga.
Which shoe designs would you wear today?
This shoe was actually designed for the theatre, but I’m taken with the prow-like rims that seem to be swallowing the foot. Comfy? Perhaps not.
I think these blue suede summer sandals are my favorite.
Notice the detail in the enclosing material which provides an integrated threading system for the laces.
Arpad refines the simple moccasin.
In a thoughtful twist, Arpad has used haired leather to coordinate thematically with a ram’s head– yes that’s a ram’s head on the heal. Unfortunately, at first glance, it looks like there’s gum stuck to the shoe.
The ‘Hooded heel’.
With thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for these images.
In I saw... on February 20, 2012 at 11:20 am
Should you ever find yourself in one of those slightly annoying and annoyingly intimidating conversations with a handful of culture snobs who start to quiz you on your favorite artists and photographers– remember this name: René Maltête. Repeat a few times, and you should have it.
“Favorite artist?” – that’s always easier to bluff. Throw names out there like Monet (who doesn’t like a Monet?) and you can usually get away with a knowing nod, having studied all the big boys in that Art History class you took to avoid doing any real hard work in college.
‘Favorite photographer?’ – this on the other hand can be a social land mine if you don’t know your sh**. If you don’t take an interest in over-priced coffee table books or photography galleries, these names tend to flow less easily off the tongue.
Less offensive than saying David LaChappelle or some other contemporary fashion photographer, the name René Maltête will likely raise an eyebrow or two amongst culture snobs and perhaps even test their knowledge. Considerably less mainstream than his snap happy comrade of the same era, Robert Doisneau (responsible for half of the romantic black & white postcards sold to tourists in Paris), Maltête photographed the French with buckets more tongue and cheek. You can describe him as a humanist photographer with a big sense of humor. There isn’t too much of this “alterior meaning” business going on behind René’s work which is probably why I enjoy it so. His satire is loud, slapstick and clear.
I’d like to thank my Auntie in Marseille for digging up these old photos for me. Enjoy …
René Maltête (1930-2000)