Oh, Making Decisions is Hard!

As I mentioned in my look back at 2012 post, one of early 2013’s projects will be to paint and decorate my recently purchased American Duchess Kensingtons.

IMG_4154

Kensingtons, yay! And the buckles came in that cute little bag. Love it!

When I first thought of buying Kensingtons, I was set on painting them yellow, either a lightish shade of yellow or medium yellow, like the images below.

19562579602677726_cFeJQDSV_c

1775-1785. Colonial Williamsburg.

19562579602677731_yrV0rrlH_c

Mid-18th Century. Bata Shoe Museum. (Those buckles are so pretty!)

But then I started looking at fashion plates… Some of them had very cute yellow shoes, but there were also some that had pink shoes that caught my eye. I love pink things… so I started thinking about painting the shoes pink.

First, fashion plates with cute pink shoes from the 1770s and 1780s.

274015958548037863_VRkBS78G_c

PINK shoes. 1778.

19562579602929854_TvBA2Lfq_c

PINK shoes. Gallerie des Modes, 1778.

19562579601416378_ktNfy7WF_c

PINK shoes. 1778-1787.

19562579602930012_OUpEbC0c_c

PINK shoes. Magasin des Modes, June 1787.

19562579602930042_g7qnuQAd_c

PINK shoes. Magasin des Modes, March 1789.

Second, fashion plates with cute yellow shoes from the 1770s and 1780s.

19562579601572668_6j0WfNjA_c

YELLOW shoes. c. 1776.

19562579601572669_vhYl8jIp_c

YELLOW shoes. c. 1776.

19562579602929883_drhS3AdH_c

YELLOW shoes. Gallerie des Modes, 1779.

19562579602930017_AZLYCCiV_c

YELLOW shoes. Magasin des Modes, April 1787.

Then I went back to looking at extant shoes and thought “perhaps two-tone shoes?” Either yellow with pink accents or pink with yellow accents… perhaps like the ones below? Here’s a fashion plate showing two-tone shoes, and there are more extant examples a little farther down in the post.

Digital Capture

Two-tone pink shoes. The Dress of the Year 1775 by Ann Frankland Lewis.

Another thing, I’ve noticed that many of the extant shoes I see are cloth, not leather. Well, the Kensingtons are leather, so that’s what I’ve got to work with (and I like it in a way, because the shoes will be much more durable). So then I started thinking about what I need to do to capture the 18th century in leather shoes that already have the right 18th century shape. I took a close look at the details in these next photos and analyzed what I saw.

11540542764788394_bZ4HTkIV_c

Light blue satin shoes with silver braid. c. 1770. The Charleston Museum. STUNNING!

19562579602698433_JUXVWNDE_c

Silk. 1770s. Met.

19562579602698458_UwyGiIcl_c

Silk and leather. 1770-1789. Met.

199706564696595060_J9Y7ByPi_c

Silk and leather. c. 1775-1785. Shoe Icons.

19562579602698437_ckDGMif0_c

Silk. 1780s. Met.

If that isn’t enough examples, you can see more on my pinterest board: Shoes: 1770-1789. The details that strike me are: the binding around the ankle opening and latchets (often in a contrasting color) and the 3D quality of the trim and fabric of the shoes… the decorations are not simply painted on, but sewn on. That’s hard with leather, but glue is a good alternative to stitching.

I’ve seen other styles of painted and decorated historic shoes on my costuming friends. And at American Duchess, Lauren has done multiple posts and tutorials about 18th century shoes that she has painted and decorated.

blue n white shoe nov 11 (3 of 4)

Two-tone painted and bound Devonshires, from American Duchess.

pretty pink princess shoes (11 of 13)

Two-tone painted and bound Devonshires, from American Duchess.

What materials to use for decorations? Lauren used what looks like cotton bias tape, and on later Regency shoes narrow grosgrain which comes in a wide variety of colors. But the extant shoes look like they are bound with silk, so that’s what I’m going to aim for.

“What will I wear these shoes with?” is an important question I asked myself. “Well, everything I own from the 18th century until I buy another pair of 18th century shoes,” I answered. In the works right now are a taupey-brown silk petticoat, blue wool petticoat, Waverly mineral felicite jacket, and creamy quilted petticoat (you can see most of these fabrics in this previous post). In the future, I’m inspired by a purple and yellow color combination, as well as green and pinkish/red (these colors all in the fashion plates above!).

I’ve been ruminating over this decision for months so I make a choice I’m really happy with. I had all these options to think about: pink, yellow, both… It was tough. But I finally made a decision to go simple: yellow with champagne silk binding and champagne heels (saving pink for later, or removable ribbons, or other accessories). The latchets might also get pained champagne, I’m undecided on that point. Do you have thoughts about that? (More opinions is always better in these situations, you know!) I’ve got the paint from my Astorias, so that was easy… and the silk ribbon has been ordered! More to come soon!

Advertisements

2 responses to “Oh, Making Decisions is Hard!

  1. I agree that these kinds of decisions are hard! I have three pairs of 18th Century American Duchess shoes, and I’m still debating how to decorate them! I look forward to seeing what you end up doing with yours. 🙂

    • 🙂 So hard! This project got moved down the priority list since I don’t have a deadline for them to be finished (no events planned in the 18th century right now), but I hope to work on them this summer.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s