Show fetish

By SHARON STEEL  |  September 26, 2007

In 1930, the MFA became the first American museum to separate its textile and fashion department from the decorative arts. Today, the department is at work expanding its assortment of footwear — Whitley says they want to build an encyclopedic collection that’s equally strong in contemporary shoes, like the gorgeous (and ridiculous) Miu Miu wedges made of red-patent leather, brass, and carved wood, and the patterned Vivienne Westwood pumps with six-inch heels in “Walk This Way.” Both pairs are as pretty to look at as they are excruciating to imagine wearing. Here, it’s a relief to see them encased behind glass instead of in a shoebox, even though they remind me of a cat stripped of its claws — overly domestic and dangerous to no one, but beguiling all the same.

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