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Robin Givhan Gives Fashion Week
Some Tough Love


FIT Shows Off Its Shoe Fetish

It has been a little while since The Shophound has posted about FIT's fashion exhibitions, and it's only because of oversight on our part. Their shows are always interesting, easily accessible and best of all, free. The latest, Shoe Obsession, opened just over a week ago and focuses in the extraordinary explosion in inventive shoe design since the 21st Century began and the collective fascination with increasingly elaborate footwear. As these things go, it is fairly straightforward, with the main point being: Wow, shoes are crazy these days.

McqueenMetalShoeSo it turns out not to be the most scholarly of FIT's shows, but what it lacks in depth it more than makes up for in spectacle because, wow, shoes are crazy these days. The exhibition is simply designed with a matrix of cases featuring shoes arranged by theme, designer, or in a few cases, collector thanks to Lynn Ban and Daphne Guinness, whose particular fashion excesses continue to provide rich material for this museum, and probably several others. Since the show focuses on the post-"Sex and the City" era (and features at least two styles from Manolo Blahnik which were explicitly featured in the show and it's film sequel) you won't see any extravagant designs from the past from designers like Maud Frizon and Walter Steiger who were iconic and influential in their heydays. There are, however plenty of recent looks from nearly every significant shoe designer you have heard of and a few obscure ones you probably haven't. Visitors will also find some particularly extreme, virtually unwearable examples by way of, who else, Lady GaGa. Though there is little discussion about the deeper meanings of the hobbling effects of such extreme footwear  Shoe Obsession is still an entertaining survey of exactly how inventive/crazy shoes have become since the advent of Carrie Bradshaw & Co. It's fast, fun and occasionally bewildering.

PradaFlameShoeAnd while you are at FIT, you should take a few extra minutes to check out the smaller but not unrelated exhibit Fashion and Technology on view in the Fashion & Textile History Gallery on the museum's street level. it traces all sorts of technological innovations that make most of the clothes you wear today possible, including most of the shoes in the other exhibition downstairs.

Shoe Obsession through April 13 and Fashion and Technology through May 8 at The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, Chelsea


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