Scandal Sandals and Lady Slippers: A History of Delman Shoes
Delman, cocktail shoe, multicolor floral print with gold brocade,circa 1958, USA. On loan from Delman archive
On View at The Museum at FIT, March 9 through April 4
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) presents Scandal Sandals and Lady Slippers: A History of Delman Shoes, the first exhibition devoted to the Delman brand. Founded by Herman Delman in 1919 and today one of the oldest salon footwear brands in the United States, Delman’s glamorous, innovative, and classic shoes have been a cornerstone of the fashionable and quality-conscious woman’s wardrobe for the past 90 years. The company is known for embodying all that is chic, luxurious, and sophisticated. Scandal Sandals and Lady Slippers: A History of Delman Shoes will explore and reveal the company’s vibrant history of style, advertising, and fine craftsmanship.
Drawing from the permanent collections of both The Museum at FIT and the Delman archives, approximately 50 dazzling shoe styles will be presented alongside period examples of print advertisements, newsreel footage, and illustrated patents. These objects, dating roughly from 1926 to 2007, will chronicle the company’s rich history and creativity in both design and business.
Herman Delman’s savvy proficiency as a businessman and extroverted personality was frequently realized through his use of exquisitely illustrated advertisements and eye-catching window displays (the Delman store on Madison Avenue featured an oval window showcasing three cobblers at work), as well as his early understanding of the power of celebrity. His designs will forever be associated with iconic leading ladies of the Silver Screen. Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, and Marlene Dietrich all wore Delman, while today celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively, and Leighton Meester are often spotted wearing the company’s designs at premieres and in photographs.
On view at The Museum at FIT from March 9 through April 3, 2010, Scandal Sandals and Lady Slippers: A History of Delman Shoes has been organized and curated by graduate students of FIT’s Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice program.
The exhibition celebrates the 90th anniversary of Delman and marks the 25th anniversary of FIT’s Fashion and Textile Studies graduate program. In conjunction with the exhibition, students of the graduate program will offer a series of gallery tours, with each tour focusing on a specific theme within the context of the exhibition.
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