Panellists (facing the audience, from left) are Auckland
shoe designer Sarah Riley, Dunedin dress historian and
curator Jane Malthus, University of Otago director of
continuing education Elaine Webster, Ziera group design
leader Angela Roper, of Auckland, and New Zealand Fashion
Museum director and curator Doris de Pont, of Auckland.
Photos by Craig Baxter.
When it comes to modern footwear, anything goes.
''The rule for today is there are no rules. There are endless
options,'' New Zealand Fashion Museum founder and curator
Doris de Pont said in Dunedin yesterday.
She was one of five panellists discussing the history of
footwear and its role in fashion as part of iD Dunedin
About 100 people attended the talk, organised in conjunction
with the University of Otago.
A former fashion designer, Ms de Pont said she regularly wore
about 10 of her 40 pairs of shoes, highlighting the emotional
relationship women had with shoes and their inability to
throw away old favourites.
She spoke about changing shoe trends, from the pumps which
served as a fashion staple in the 1950s to the rise of shoe
designers as ''stars'' in the 1990s.
''In the '70s, platforms dictated what clothes had to look
like, the '80s was all about excess colour and the rise of
sneakers through jazzercise, and in the '90s fashion almost
took a back seat to shoe designers such as Christian
Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.''
University of Otago director of continuing education Elaine
Webster detailed the social history of shoes and how they had
developed through necessity as a means to protect feet.
Shoes were the focus of a panel discussion about the
history of footwear and its changing role in fashion at the
Hutton Theatre yesterday, as part of iD Dunedin Fashion
''Shoes have been part of human life from the earliest
beginnings. Where clothing was the first shelter, shoes were
the first vehicle,'' she said.
Dr Webster said shoes were the foundation of any wardrobe,
and symbolised mobility and freedom.
Dunedin dress historian and curator Jane Malthus gave a
potted history of footwear fashion, and said until relatively
recently women's shoes were hidden out of view by long
''Until about the 19th century, there were no right or left
shoes either, just straight shoes that were moulded by
Modern footwear was highlighted by Auckland shoe designer
Sarah Riley, who held up her own golden high heel, complete
with Maori koru design and rouching.
''I dress from my shoes up. I choose my shoes then I choose
my outfit around them,'' she said.
Ziera group design leader Angela Roper, of Auckland, said the
best shoes were those which balanced function and fashion.
''Shoes are an extension of your personal style.''