About Shoe

A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function. Additionally fashion has often dictated many design elements, such as whether shoes have very high heels or flat ones. Contemporary footwear varies widely in style, complexity and cost. Basic sandals may consist of only a thin sole and simple strap. High fashion shoes may be made of very expensive materials in complex construction and sell for thousands of dollars a pair. Other shoes are for very specific purposes, such as boots specially designed for mountaineering or skiing.

Shoes have traditionally been made from leather, wood or canvas, but are increasingly made from rubber, plastics, and other petrochemical-derived materials.

Until recent years,[when?] shoes were not worn by most of the world’s population — largely because they could not afford them. Only with the advent of mass production, making shoes available very cheaply, has shoe-wearing become predominant.

The foot contains more bones than any other single part of the body. Though it has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in relation to vastly varied terrain and climate conditions, the foot is still vulnerable to environmental hazards such as sharp rocks and hot ground, which shoes can protect against.
(Courtesy:Wikipedia)

Shoes History

The earliest known shoes are sandals dating from about 8000 to 7000 BC and found in Oregon, USA in 1938. The world’s oldest leather shoe, made from a single piece of cowhide laced with a leather cord along seams at the front and back, was found in a cave in Armenia in 2008 and is believed to date to 3,500 BC. Ötzi the Iceman’s shoes, dating to 3,300 BC, featured brown bearskin bases, deerskin side panels, and a bark-string net, which pulled tight around the foot. However, tanned leather, the material most commonly used for making shoes, does not normally last for thousands of years, so shoes were probably in use long before this. Physical anthropologist Erik Trinkaus believes he has found evidence that the use of shoes began in the period between about 40,000 and 26,000 years ago, based on the fact that the thickness of the bones of the toes (other than the big toe) decreased during this period, on the premise that wearing shoes resulted in less bone growth, resulting in shorter, thinner toes. The earliest designs were simple affairs, often mere “foot bags” of leather to protect the feet from rocks, debris, and cold. Since shoes use more leather than sandals, their use was more common in cold climates. By the Middle Ages, turn-shoes had been developed with toggled flaps or drawstrings to tighten the leather around the foot for a better fit. As Europe gained in wealth and power, fancy shoes became status symbols. Toes became long and pointed, often to ridiculous proportions. Artisans created unique footwear for rich patrons, and new styles developed. Eventually the modern shoe, with a sewn-on sole, was devised. Since the 17th century, most leather shoes have used a sewn-on sole. This remains the standard for finer-quality dress shoes today. Until around 1800, shoes were made without differentiation for the left or right foot. Such shoes are now referred to as “straights”.[citation needed] Only gradually did the modern foot-specific shoe become standard.

Since the mid-20th Century, advances in rubber, plastics, synthetic cloth, and industrial adhesives have allowed manufacturers to create shoes that stray considerably from traditional crafting techniques. Leather, which had been the primary material in earlier styles, has remained standard in expensive dress shoes, but athletic shoes often have little or no real leather. Soles, which were once laboriously hand-stitched on, are now more often machine stitched or simply glued on.
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Shoes Parts

Sole

The bottom of a shoe, the part that is intended to come in repeated contact with the ground, is called the sole. Soles have been made from plant fibers, leather, wood, rubber, synthetics, plastic, and various combinations of these materials. Soles can be simple, a single material in a single layer, or they can be complex with multiple structures or layers and materials.

Insole

See also: Shoe insert and Arch support
“Insole” redirects here. For the former English cricketer, see Doug Insole.

The insole is the interior bottom of a shoe, which sits directly beneath the foot under the footbed (also known as sock liner). The purpose of insole is to attach to the lasting margin of the upper, which is wrapped around the last during the closing of the shoe during the lasting operation. Insoles are usually made of cellulosic paper board or synthetic non woven insole board. Many shoes have removable and replaceable footbeds. Extra cushioning is often added for comfort (to control the shape, moisture, or smell of the shoe) or health reasons (to help deal with defects in the natural shape of the foot or positioning of the foot during standing or walking). This is a significant element of a pair of shoes; it must be able to absorb foot sweat. In addition, footbeds should typically use foam cushioning sheets like latex and EVA, which provide good wearing comfort of the shoe.

Outsole

The outsole is the layer in direct contact with the ground. Dress shoes often have leather or resin rubber outsoles; casual or work-oriented shoes have outsoles made of natural rubber or a synthetic material like Polyurethane. The outsole may comprise a single piece, or may be an assembly of separate pieces of different materials. Often the heel of the sole has a rubber plate for durability and traction, while the front is leather for style. Specialized shoes will often have modifications on this design: athletic or so called cleated shoes like soccer, rugby, baseball and golf shoes have spikes embedded in the outsole to grip the ground.

Midsole

The layer in between the outsole and the insole that is typically there for shock absorption. Some types of shoes, like running shoes, have another material for shock absorption, usually beneath the heel of the foot, where one puts the most pressure down. Different companies use different materials for the midsoles of their shoes. Some shoes may not have a midsole at all.

Heel

The bottom rear part of a shoe is the heel. Its function is to support the heel of the foot. They are often made of the same material as the sole of the shoe. This part can be high for fashion or to make the person look taller, or flat for a more practical and comfortable use.

Vamp (upper)

Every shoe has an upper part that helps hold the shoe onto the foot. In the simplest cases, such as sandals or flip-flops, this may be nothing more than a few straps for holding the sole in place. Closed footwear, such as boots, trainers and most men’s shoes, will have a more complex upper. This part is often decorated or is made in a certain style to look attractive.

Lateral and medial

The outside part of the shoe is referred to as the lateral and the inside facing part of the shoe is the medial. This can be in reference to either the outsole or the vamp.
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

The Anatomy of a Shoe

Breast: the front of the heel under the arch

Cap: the toecap

Counter: overlaid piece at the back of the upper

Feather: the part of the last and the shoe where the upper�s edge meets the sole

Insole: a piece of leather or other material between the sole and the foot

Puff: a light reinforcing inside the upper which gives the toe its shape and support

Quarter: the part of the back of the upper, which covers the heel

Seat: the concave part of the heel that fits into the shoe and into which the heel of the foot sits

Shank: a piece of metal inserted between the sole and the insole lying against the arch of the foot

Sole: the piece of leather or other material that comes in contact with the ground

Stiffener: the inside stiffening of the upper, covering the heel and giving the back of the shoe support

Throat: the front of the vamp

Top Piece: the part of the heel that comes in contact with the ground.

Topline: the top edge of the upper

Upper: the piece of the shoe that covers the foot

Vamp: the part of the upper that covers the front of the foot as far as the back as the joint of the big toe

Waist: the part of the last and the shoe that corresponds to the arch and instep of the foot.

(Courtesy:footwearhistory.com)

Manolo Blahnik

Born to a Czech father and a Spanish mother and raised in the Canary Islands (Spain), Blahnik graduated from the University of Geneva in 1965 and studied art in Paris. He moved to London in 1968 to work at fashion boutique “Zapata” and wrote for Vogue Italia. After showing his portfolio of fashions and set designs to Diana Vreeland, she told him that he should design only footwear. In 1972, Ossie Clark invited him to create shoes for his runway show. With a loan of £2,000, Blahnik bought Zapata from its owner and opened his own boutique.

In the 1970s, when chunky platform shoes and boots were the mainstream footwear styling of the day, Manolo Blahnik turned back his attention to the stiletto heel, which has remained the brand’s mainstay to this day. Manolo Blahnik shoes have rapidly become a symbol of pure classical style for the 21st century.

Manolo Blahnik’s flagship store remains to date in Old Church Street in the fashionable Chelsea district of London.

Blahnik’s boutiques are located in London, New York, Las Vegas, Dublin, Athens, Madrid, Istanbul, Dubai, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Stockholm. Bloomingdales (for which he created his first American collection), Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue carry his line in the United States and newly opened in Dubai Mall. The company has signed a long-term deal with the shoewear retailer Kurt Geiger to operate Manolo Blahnik boutiques.

Blahnik was awarded the honorary title of Commander of the British Empire in 2007 for his service to the British fashion industry.

Prada

Foundations

The company was started in 1913 by Mario Prada and his brother Martino as a leathergoods shop – Fratelli Prada (English: Prada Brothers) – in Milan, Italy.Initially, the shop sold leather goods and imported English steamer trunks and handbags.

Mario Prada did not believe that women should have a role in business, and so he prevented female family members from entering into his company. Ironically, Mario’s son harbored no interest in the business, so it was his daughter Luisa Prada who took the helm of Prada as his successor, and ran it for almost twenty years. Her own daughter, Miuccia Prada, joined the company in 1970, eventually taking over for her mother in 1978.

Miuccia began making waterproof backpacks out of Pocone. She met Patrizio Bertelli in 1977, an Italian who had begun his own leathergoods business at the age of 17, and he joined the company soon after. He advised Miuccia—and she followed the advice—on better decisions for the Prada company. It was his advice to discontinue importing English goods and to change the existing luggage styles.

Development of Prada

Miuccia inherited the company in 1978 by which time sales were up to U.S. $450,000. With Bertelli alongside her as business manager, Miuccia was allowed time to implement her creativity onto design.She would go on to incorporate her ideas into the house of Prada that would change it.

She released her first set of backpacks and totes in 1979. They were made out of a tough military spec black nylon that her grandfather had used as coverings for steamer trunks. Initial success was not instant, as they were hard to sell due to the lack of advertising and high-prices, but the lines would go on to become her first commercial hit.

Next, Miuccia and Bertelli sought out wholesale accounts for the bags in upscale department stores and boutiques worldwide. In 1983, Prada opened a second boutique in Milan reminiscent to the original shop, but with a sleek and modern contrast to it. It was opened in the shopping district of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

The next year, Prada released its definitive black nylon tote. That same year, the house of Prada began expansion across continental Europe by opening locations in prominent shopping districts within Florence, Paris, Madrid, and New York City. A shoe line was also released in 1984. In 1985, Miuccia released the “classic Prada handbag” that became an overnight sensation. Although practical and sturdy, its sleek lines and craftsmanship exuded an offhand aura of luxury that has become the Prada signature.

In 1987, Miuccia and Bertelli married. Prada launched its women’s ready-to-wear collection in 1989, and the designs came to be known for their dropped waistlines and narrow belts. Prada’s popularity skyrocketed when the fashion world took notice of its clean lines, opulent fabrics, and basic colors.

The logo for the label was not as obvious a design element as those on bags from other prominent luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton. It tried to market its lack of prestigious appeal, including the apparel, was its image of “anti-status” or “reverse snobbery.”
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Gucci

The House of Gucci, better known simply as Gucci , is an Italian fashion and leather goods label, part of the Gucci Group, which is owned by French company PPR.Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence in 1921.

Gucci generated circa € 4.2 billion in revenue worldwide in 2008 according to BusinessWeek magazine and climbed to 41st position in the magazine’s annual 2009 “Top Global 100 Brands” chart created by Interbrand. Gucci is also the biggest-selling Italian brand. Gucci operates about 278 directly operated stores worldwide (as of September 2009) and it wholesales its products through franchisees and upscale department stores.

Corporate

Gucci store at night

A turnaround of the company devised in the late 1980s made Gucci a global contender and notable fashion label. In October 1995 Gucci went public and had its first initial public offering on the AMEX and NYSE for $22 per share. November 1997 also proved to be a successful year as Gucci acquired a watch licensee, Severin-Montres, and renamed it Gucci Timepieces. The firm was named “European Company of the Year 1998” by the European Business Press Federation for its economic and financial performance, strategic vision as well as management quality. Gucci world offices and headquarters are in Florence, Milan, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Japan, and New York. PPR headquarters are in Paris.
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Gussi History

From modest beginnings at the end of the 19th century, the Gucci company became one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of high-end leather goods, clothing, and other fashion products. As an immigrant in Paris and then London, working in exclusive hotels, young Guccio Gucci (1881–1953) was impressed with the luxurious luggage he saw sophisticated guests bring with them. Upon returning to his birthplace of Florence, a city distinguished for high-quality materials and skilled artisans, he established a shop in 1920 that sold fine leather goods with classic styling. Although Gucci organized his workrooms for industrial methods of production, he maintained traditional aspects of fabrication. Initially Gucci employed skilled workers in basic Florentine leather crafts, attentive to finishing. With expansion, machine stitching was a production method that supported construction.

Together with three of his sons, Aldo Gucci (1905–1990), Vasco Gucci (1907–1975), and Rodolfo Gucci (1912–1983), Gucci expanded the company to include stores in Milan and Rome as well as additional shops in Florence. Gucci’s stores featured such finely crafted leather accessories as handbags, shoes, and his iconic ornamented loafer as well as silks and knitwear in a signature pattern. The Gucci loafer is the only shoe in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The company made handbags of cotton canvas rather than leather during World War II as a result of material shortages. The canvas, however, was distinguished by a signature double-G symbol combined with prominent red and green bands. After the war, the Gucci crest, which showed a shield and armored knight surrounded by a ribbon inscribed with the family name, became synonymous with the city of Florence.

Aldo and Rodolfo Gucci further expanded the company’s horizons in 1953 by establishing offices in New York City. Film stars and jet-set travelers to Italy during the 1950s and 1960s brought their glamour to Florence, turning Gucci’s merchandise into international status symbols. Movie stars posed in Gucci’s clothing, accessories, and footwear for lifestyle magazines around the world, contributing to the company’s growing reputation.

Gucci’s distinctive lines made its products among the most frequently copied in the world in the early 2000s. Pigskin, calf, and imported exotic animal skins were subjected to various methods of fabrication. Waterproof canvas and satin were used for evening bags. Bamboo was first used to make handbag handles by a process of heating and molding in 1947, and purses made with a shoulder strap and snaffle-bit decoration were introduced in 1960. In 1964 Gucci’s lush butterfly pattern was custom-created for silk foulards, followed by equally luxuriant floral patterns. The original Gucci loafer was updated by a distinctive snaffle-bit ornament in 1966, while the “Rolls-Royce” luggage set was introduced in 1970. Watches, jewelry, ties, and eyewear were then added to the company’s product lines. A particularly iconic touch, introduced in 1964, was the use of the double-G logo for belt buckles and other accessory decorations.

The company prospered through the 1970s, but the 1980s were marked by internal family disputes that brought Gucci to the brink of disaster. Rodolfo’s son Maurizio took over the company’s direction after his father’s death in 1983, and dismissed his uncle Aldo—who eventually served a prison term for tax evasion. Maurizio proved to be an unsuccessful president; he was compelled to sell the family-owned company to Investcorp, a Bahrain-based company, in 1988. Maurizio disposed of his remaining stock in 1993. Tragically, Maurizio was murdered in Milan in 1995, and his former wife, Patrizia Reggiani, was convicted of hiring his killers. Meanwhile, the new investors promoted the American-educated Domenico De Sole from the position of family attorney to president of Gucci America in 1994 and chief executive in 1995.

The company had previously brought in Dawn Mello in 1989 as editor and ready-to-wear designer in order to reestablish its reputation. Well aware of Gucci’s tarnished image and the value of its name brand, Mello hired Tom Ford in 1990 to design a ready-to-wear line. He was promoted to the position of creative director in 1994. Before Mello returned to her post as president of the American retailer Bergdorf Goodman, she initiated the return of Gucci’s headquarters from the business center of Milan to Florence, where its craft traditions were rooted. There she and Ford reduced the number of Gucci products from twenty thousand to a more reasonable five thousand.

There were seventy-six Gucci stores around the world in 1997, along with numerous licensing agreements. Ford was instrumental in the process of decision-making with De Sole when the Gucci Group acquired Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, and, in part-ownership with Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga. By 2001 Ford and De Sole shared the responsibility for major business decisions, while Ford concurrently directed design at Yves Saint Laurent as well as at Gucci.

The French conglomerate Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, however, gained ownership of 60 percent of the Gucci Group’s stock in 2003. Women’s Wear Daily then announced the departure of both Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford from the Gucci Group when their contracts expired in April 2004. The last spring collection under the direction of Ford and De Sole was a critical and commercial success. Amid widespread speculation in the fashion press about Ford’s heir, the company announced in March 2004 that he would be replaced by a team of younger designers promoted from the ranks of the company’s staff.

In 2005, Frida Giannini was appointed as the creative director for women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, previously joining Gucci in 2002. In 2006, she also became the creative director for men’s ready-to-wear and the entire Gucci label.
(Courtesy:Wikipedia)

Chanel

Chanel S.A. is the French house of high fashion that specializes in haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes, luxury goods, and fashion accessories.In her youth, the couturière Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel gained the soubriquet “Coco” in the course of her career as a chanteuse de café in provincial France. As a fashion designer, Coco Chanel catered to a woman’s taste for elegance in dress, with blouses and suits, trousers and dresses, and jewellry (gemstone and bijouterie) of simple design, that replaced the opulent, over-designed, and constrictive clothes and accessories of the 19th-century fashion. Historically, the House of Chanel is most famous for the stylistically versatile “little black dress”, the perfume No. 5 de Chanel, and the Chanel Suit. As a business enterprise, Chanel S.A. is a privately held company owned by Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, an early business partner of Coco Chanel. Commercially, the brands of the House of Chanel have been personified by fashion models and actresses, by women such as Inès de la Fressange, Catherine Deneuve, Carole Bouquet, Vanessa Paradis, Nicole Kidman, Anna Mouglalis, Audrey Tautou, Keira Knightley, and Marilyn Monroe, who epitomise the independent, self-confident Chanel Girl.
(Courtesy: Wikipedia)