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Mourning lady. 1850s
Research chemist William Perkin was trying to make quinine when he instead came up with a substance that has ensured the world is a brighter place.
“… For that privilege, thank a young Victorian research chemist. His attempt to create the anti-malarial medicine quinine from coal tar in his flat in Cable Street in the East End of London went serendipitously wrong as he worked over Easter 150 years ago… . Appropriately, considering the origins of Perkins’ colour, he was to receive a helping hand from the two most famous women of the day - both empresses. Queen Victoria caused a sensation when she stepped out at the Royal Exhibition in 1862 wearing a silk gown dyed with mauveine. In Paris, Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugenie, wowed the court when she was seen wearing it. To propel the scientist further on the way to a great fortune, the fashion of the time was for crinoline skirts that, happily for him, needed a lot of his revolutionary new dye.”
The entire article is fascinating!
These are Art Deco period heels referred to as “jeweled heels”. They are a sample from a time when heels were custom-ordered. With enamel manufacturing put to practical use on shoes since the end of the 18th century, and the implementation of Bakelite and similar resin treatments in 1909, the heels radiate a glossy shine. Moreover, they show the subtle workmanship of geometric designs, and limestone and metal bead application, At that time in Paris, couturier and artisans specializing in custom-order footwear created luxurious shoes. Craftsmen who signed their names on shoe designs, like Andre Perugia, also appeared. Then, in the 1920s, Western European women began exposing the leg below the knees for the first time. When compared to the existence of footwear up until that period, this becomes an important matter. Shoes which utilize functionality paired with small engraved designs and various historic moldings. Of these shoes, 1920s footwear that reflects art deco designs can be said to exhibit a special charm equal to a kind of objet d’art.