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Footwear in Step with Labor Activism, Suffrage, and the Sexual Revolution

February 27–June 6, 2021 |  Fifth Third Gallery

From silk boudoir shoes created for the 1867 Paris Exposition to early 1940s leather spectator pumps signed by the New York Yankees, Walk This Way features more than 100 striking pairs of shoes. Organized by the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition presents footwear—spanning nearly 200 years and multiple countries—from the collection of high-fashion shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. Weitzman’s wife, businesswoman and philanthropist Jane Gershon Weitzman, formed and added to the collection as a gift to her husband over their 50 years of marriage.

An integral part of our everyday lives, shoes not only protect our feet, but tell stories centered around women’s labor activism, the fight for suffrage, and the sexual revolution. They also serve as pathways toward discovering the vital role women and diverse historical narratives played in both the production and consumption of footwear. In this exhibition, women take center stage as we explore a variety of shoes, including those worn by suffragists as they marched through the streets, Jazz Age flappers as they danced the Charleston, and starlets who graced the silver screen in the postwar era. Walk This Way features the footwear designs of Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Beth Levine—the “First Lady of Shoe Design”—as well as shoes by Stuart Weitzman himself.

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Not ready to join us in person? Explore the exhibition remotely with a docent-led virtual tour on select Wednesdays. Learn more.

Experience the Exhibition

 

Virtual Talk | The Art of Footwear Design

Online Program

Thursday, February 18
6:30–7:30 p.m.

Join Claudia Rebola, Associate Dean for Research at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, for an hour-long exploration of the process of shoe design. Learn the basics of footwear from experimental to commercial design. This is a great opportunity to hear from a professional industrial designer! 

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Walk This Way | Virtual Members’ Opening 

Online Program

Thursday, February 25
6:30–7:30 p.m.

Join us for a Members’ Virtual Opening on our upcoming exhibition,Walk This Way | The Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes! Members will receive an exclusive members-only invitation via email in January for more details. 

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Walk This Way | Members' Exhibition Preview

On-Site Program

Friday, February 26
11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Join us for a Members’ Exhibition Preview for our special exhibition,Walk This Way | The Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes! Preview this special exhibition before the public as a Taft Museum of Art member! 

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Virtual Talk | An Evening with the Weitzmans

Online Program

Thursday, March 4
6:30–7:30 p.m.

Join the Taft Museum of Art for an evening of shoes and stories with legendary designer Stuart Weitzman, creator of the iconic Stuart Weitzman brand, and his businesswoman and philanthropist wife Jane Gershon Weitzman. Hear the Weitzmans connect the beautiful shoes displayed in the Walk this Way exhibition with highlights from their business ventures and personal life. This special talk will be moderated by local fashion icon, Tamia Stinson—founder of Tether, a community for creative image-makers, and founder of The Style Sample, strategy and styling for creators. 

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Bring the Exhibition Home With You

Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes 

Famous for his trademark use of unique materials and his creation of one-of-a-kind, "million dollar" shoes for Oscar nominees, American designer Stuart Weitzman's personal collection of antique shoes features a similarly eclectic range. Lavishly illustrated with one hundred color photographs from the Stuart Weitzman Collection, the exhibition catalogue Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes explores the impact of twentieth-century design and culture on the evolution of women's shoes from 1870-1980. It is a must-have for all shoe fans.

Written by Edward Maeder, the founding director of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Essays by Stuart A. Weitzman, the founder of the eponymous shoe company, and Valerie Paley, New-York Historical's Vice-President, Chief Historian, and Director of the Center for Women's History.

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Exhibition Sponsor

The Sutphin Family Foundation

            

Exhibition Support Generously Provided By

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