|Venetian Women at their Toilet. Paris Bordon c. 1545.|
These courtesans would have undoubtedly been shod
in Chopines. By the Renaissance, Venice has developed
a reputation as the epicenter for art and fashion.
Chopines, as they are called, were elaborate platform slippers with wooden bases covered in tassels, lace, nail head, tooled leather and opulent silk and velvet. While they may have originally been all about function (elevated shoes kept feet and hems dry during the wet season), like many everyday accessories they evolved to express wealth, taste and a certain amount of decadence. Why wear wooden stilts when you could wear velvet wedges embellished with hand made silver lace and glass beads? Perhaps Venice was the true birthplace of Carrie Bradshaw, and not New York.
|Turkish Woman with Slave. Jean-Etienne Liotard 18th Cent.|
|Leather and Silk over Wood. 1600's. Met Museum.|
|Velvet and Lace from the Bata Shoe Museum.|
|Pink Brocade and Gold Lace with Silk Tassels.|
17th Century. Museum of Fine Art, Boston.
|20" leather covered Chopines, for those rainy days in Venice.|
|15th Century Spanish Chopines of tooled Leather over Cork. |
Spanish Chopines were conical, while Venetian versions were
more artistically carved.
|Venetian Chopines of Walnut with Mother of Pearl inlay.|