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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 leather spectator pumps signed by the 1941 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—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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Experience the Exhibition

Enjoy special tours, behind-the-scenes fashion insights, and more during this unique exhibition!

 

Studio of Irving Browning (1895–1961), Window Shopping, I. Miller, about 1920–38, gelatin silver photograph. Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, New-York Historical Society

Studio of Irving Browning (1895–1961), Window Shopping, I. Miller, about 1920–38, gelatin silver photograph. Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, New-York Historical Society

Virtual Tours

Can’t make it to the museum? Select Wednesdays you can experience a specially-curated online presentation led by Taft docents. These presentations are 30 minutes long and require registration in advance. This program is part of the Taft's special exhibition.
Want to tour the Taft's special exhibition on your own? Enjoy a self-guided virtual tour of this special exhibition.

 

Digital Series | Who, What, Wear

Airs March–June 2021

Every shoe featured in Walk This Way | Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes tells a story. Some reveal details about the maker or original owner, while others get us to think about footwear designed to make a statement. The Taft will be asking this question to some of Cincinnati’s fashion icons in our latest digital mini-series, Who, What, Wear.

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Walk This Way Catalog

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 catalog 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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Tour Schedule

New-York Historical Society, New York, NY | April–October 2018

Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, FL | January 2020–January 2021

Paine Art Center and Gardens, Oshkosh, WI | June–October 2021

 

Exhibition Sponsor

The Sutphin Family Foundation

            

Exhibition Support Generously Provided By

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