The Chopine!

Manolo says, ayyy! The Manolo is now officially desperate to go to Toronto.

Given current fashion’s infatuation with freaky footwear, “On A Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels,” an exhibition that opened at the Bata Shoe Museum last week and runs until Sept. 20, 2010, couldn’t be more apropos.
16th Century Venetian Chopine
A powerhouse show featuring rarities from around the world, it focuses on a couple of the most extreme styles ever to have shod fashionable extremities: the chopine, a kind of platform mule that, around from antiquity, peaked in 16th- century Italy, and the high heel, which by the 17th-century became the preferred mode in elevation.

When it comes to platforms and heels, the runways of the world have lately offered up some real doozies.

Sure, they say kitten heels and clogs are coming back, but the most talked-about shoes of the spring collections were the claw-shaped numbers with 25-centimetre heels worn at Alexander McQueen and sported by Lady Gaga in her “Bad Romance” video.

For outrageousness, however, the past trumps the present. Surely her Ladyship would die to get her hands on the 17th-century chopines, more than 50 centimetres in height, that the Bata has on loan from a museum in Venice and that are making its first and last appearance outside that city.17th Century Swedish Chopine.   Manolo Likes!  Click!

In Renaissance Italy, these contraptions, made of white kid leather over wood and looking like skeletal limbs, were not meant to be visible. Out of sight under long skirts, they were a means to lengthen a figure to allow more room for the display of sumptuous cloth. Nevertheless, chopines could be very pretty, as evidenced in a pair of velvet beauties daintily decorated with lace and tassels.

The Bata Shoe Museum is already one of the Manolo’s favorite places in the whole world, but now he is ready to brave Toronto in the depths of frosty winter to see the spectacular shoes which are on display .

P.S. Many thanks to the Manolo’s internet friend, the shoe-obsessed Wayne.

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