Evening shoes, United States, ca. 1891.

Sold by one of the biggest shoe retailers in New York, A. J. Cammeyer, whose huge 1893 emporium still stands at 650 Sixth Avenue, this pair of oxfords is extraordinary indeed. The shoes can be firmly dated to 1889-1893 by the combination of style and the store address on the label. The use of gold kid is extremely unusual at this date, as it was not until the 1920s that metallic leathers became common for women’s evening shoes. It is even more unexpected to find a laced shoe - traditionally a daywear style - in this material, and while low tie shoes (open tab, with one or two pairs of eyelets) did come into vogue for dressy wear around 1905, the cut did not even approach the full oxford seen here. Objects such as this challenge our conventional view of history, and it is hard to posit for what occasion such extraordinary shoes would have been worn.

Evening shoes, United States, ca. 1891.

Sold by one of the biggest shoe retailers in New York, A. J. Cammeyer, whose huge 1893 emporium still stands at 650 Sixth Avenue, this pair of oxfords is extraordinary indeed. The shoes can be firmly dated to 1889-1893 by the combination of style and the store address on the label. The use of gold kid is extremely unusual at this date, as it was not until the 1920s that metallic leathers became common for women’s evening shoes. It is even more unexpected to find a laced shoe - traditionally a daywear style - in this material, and while low tie shoes (open tab, with one or two pairs of eyelets) did come into vogue for dressy wear around 1905, the cut did not even approach the full oxford seen here. Objects such as this challenge our conventional view of history, and it is hard to posit for what occasion such extraordinary shoes would have been worn.