A unique and delightful romp through the history of shoes, the women
who wore them, and the profound impact they have had on our lives
What is it about a pair of shoes that so enchants women of all ages, demographics, political affiliations, and style tribes? Part social history, part fashion record, part pop-culture celebration, Women from the Ankle Down seeks to answer that question as it unfolds the story of shoes in the twentieth century.
The tale begins in the rural village of Bonito, Italy, with a visionary young shoemaker named Salvatore Ferragamo, and ends in New York City, with a fictional socialite and trendsetter named Carrie Bradshaw. Along the way it stops in Hollywood, where Judy Garland first slipped on her ruby slippers; New Jersey, where Nancy Sinatra heard something special in a song about boots; and the streets of Manhattan, where a transit strike propelled women to step into new cutting-edge athletic shoes. Fashion aficionado Rachelle Bergstein shares the stories behind these historical moments, interweaving the design innovations and social changes that gave each one its lasting significance and appeal.
Bergstein shows how the story of shoes is the story of women, told from the ankle down. Beginning with the well-heeled Suffragettes in the 1910s, women have fought for greater freedom and mobility, a struggle that exploded in the 1960s with the Women’s Liberation Movement, and culminated in the new millennium with our devotion to personal choice. Featuring interviews with designers, historians, and cultural experts, and a cast of real life characters from Marilyn Monroe to Jane Fonda, Women from the Ankle Down is a lively, compelling look at the evolution of modern women and the fashion that reflects—and has shaped—their changing lives.
Reviews for WFTAD:
Long Island Pulse
A High-Heeled Stroll Through History
The Taming of the Shoe
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Why We Love Shoes
NY Journal of Books
Book Jacket of the Week
New Under the Sun: Books for Basking
One of Janet Maslin’s picks for beach reads 2012
Wall Street Journal
A Century of Magic Slippers
“This author’s first book hits the mark for reader appeal. Her history of shoes, laced with celebrity sightings, is an engaging narrative.”
No online review
“Bergstein takes readers on an entertaining journey through the social history of shoes and the people who have worn them…recommended to all fashion followers as well as those who enjoy the ankle-down approach to studying our high-end material culture.”
No online review