Fashion » Sole Searching

  • Sole Searching - Strappy sandals, 1949
  • Sole Searching - Daphne Guinness at the Met Gala, 2011
  • Sole Searching - Chaussures Chanel, 1958
  • Sole Searching - Mary Quant with models, 1972
  • Sole Searching - Ancient Egyptian Sandals
  • Sole Searching - Lady Gaga in Noritaka Tatehana shoes
  • Sole Searching - Beth Levine shoes
  • Sole Searching - The Shoe Book
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    Strappy sandals, 1949. ©Nina Leen / Time Life.

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    Daphne Guinness at the Met Gala, 2011. ©Neilson Bernard / Getty Images.

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    Chaussures Chanel, 1958. ©All rights reserved.

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    Mary Quant with models, 1972. ©Getty Images.

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    Ancient Egyptian Sandals. ©Corbis.

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    Lady Gaga in Noritaka Tatehana shoes. Photo by Film Magic.

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    Beth Levine shoes. ©Robert Morris.

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    The Shoe Book. Courtesy of Assouline.

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Sole Searching

A new book celebrates the history of footwear

“To put it in fashion terms, we’re having a major shoe moment,” reads a glowing yellow spread in The Shoe Book, a footwear history tome penned by author—and W contributor—Nancy MacDonell. Beginning with the oldest known leather shoe from 3400 BC, the book guides readers through the most notable footwear in history, from the extreme (17th-century Chopines which required assistants for walking) to the iconic (Biba platforms, Chanel cap-toe pumps, and Nancy Sinatra’s made-for-walking boots) and beyond. Along the way, shoe gurus provide insight: Manolo Blahnik discusses his hatred of platforms, Bruno Frisoni reveals his love of his own feet (“I am not a supermodel, but I know my feet look good”), and Christian Louboutin divulges the worst footwear faux pas one can make. Not only is the book informative, it’s stunning, to boot.

The Shoe Book, $50, assouline.com.