Visu­al Arts

Art & Sole

Jane Weitz­man; Lucas Zare­bin­s­ki, photography
  • Review
By – May 13, 2013

Quirky! Whim­si­cal! Auda­cious! That’s Jane Ger­shon Weitzman’s delight­ful book, Art & Sole, a com­pi­la­tion of exquis­ite pho­tographs of beau­ti­ful shoes. Yes, shoes, but these par­tic­u­lar shoes are much more than a form of appar­el. They are part of the inge­nious project devel­oped by Weitz­man to bring atten­tion to the open­ing of the first epony­mous retail store by her hus­band, renowned shoe design­er Stu­art Weitz­man. The store opened in 1995 on Madi­son Avenue and Fifty-Ninth Street in Man­hat­tan, and in the win­dow were fan­ta­sy shoes made by won­der­ful artists all over the world.” The fan­ta­sy shoe” win­dow dis­play project was so suc­cess­ful that the win­dows them­selves became a des­ti­na­tion and artists vied to have their fan­ta­sy shoes” dis­played there. Art & Sole is a col­lec­tion of the very best of more than a thou­sand fan­ta­sy shoes” that have appeared in the win­dows of Stu­art Weitz­man stores over the years.

Of all the fan­ta­sy shoes, I liked Sylvia Weinstock’s the best. The shoes were made of frost­ing. (Wein­stock is a celebri­ty cake chef.) One can hon­est­ly say that these shoes look good enough to eat and then pro­ceed to eat them. This book is fur­ther evi­dence of the cre­ative role Jews have played, and con­tin­ue to play, in the world of fash­ion and its mer­chan­dis­ing. It’s a fun book. Col­or pho­tos, illustrations.

Relat­ed: Jews and Fash­ion Read­ing List

Car­ol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sci­ences Depart­ment and Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­o­gy at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York. Her areas of inter­est include the soci­ol­o­gy of race and eth­nic rela­tions, the soci­ol­o­gy of mar­riage, fam­i­ly and gen­der roles and the soci­ol­o­gy of Jews.

Discussion Questions