The Bata Shoe Museum (Toronto, ON) is set to open a new exhibit (May 8, 2015) where inches do matter. The new exhibit, Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, challenges the preconceived notions about who wears heels and why. The show will examine everyone from privileged rulers to hyper-sexualized rock stars and their affinity to heels. This ‘provocative’ exhibition explores the history of men in heels from the early 1600s to today with the promise of unpacking the uses and meanings of heeled footwear in men’s fashion.
Were you aware than men whore heels before women ever did? “When heels were introduced into fashion at the turn of the 17th century, men were the first to adopt them and they continued wearing heels as expressions of power and prestige for over 130 years,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator, Bata Shoe Museum. “Even after they fell from men’s fashion in the 1730s, there were pockets of time when heels were reintegrated into the male wardrobe not as a way of challenging masculinity but rather as a means of proclaiming it”.
French, 17th Century | French, 20th Century
English, 18th Century | Canadian, Master John 1973
Italian, 1970 (worn by Elton John) | American, 20th Century
The show, which runs until May 2016, features a number of rare examples of men’s heeled footwear from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, mid-nineteenth century military boots, 1930s cowboy boots and 1940s biker boots, visitors will also have the opportunity to view John Lennon’s original 1960s Beatle boot, platforms worn by Elton John in the 1970s, and many more. Maybe it’s time for men to re-embrace heels or at least take the time and go learn about the history of men in heels.
Photos courtesy of the Bata Shoe Museum