Walk This Way

Exhibit explores women’s roles in history through more than 100 pairs of shoes spanning nearly 200 years

Walk this Way Exhibit explores women’s roles in history through more than 
100 pairs of shoes spanning nearly 200 years

Courtesy: Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum’s new special exhibition, Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes, is on view until July 14, 2024. Organized by the New-York Historical Society, the exhibition presents the story of the shoe as it has never been told, featuring more than 100 striking pairs of shoes spanning nearly 200 years from the personal collection of iconic shoe designer Stuart Weitzman and businesswoman and philanthropist Jane Gershon Weitzman.

Women take center stage as this exhibition explores a variety of shoes and the pivotal cultural moments that happened while they were worn, including shoes worn by suffragists as they marched through the streets, women as they danced the Charleston during the Jazz Age, and starlets who graced the silver screen in the postwar era. The exhibition also covers larger trends in American economic history, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as producers, consumers, designers, and entrepreneurs.

Walk this Way highlights include:

Suffragist boots, ca. 1910-1920

In the early twentieth century, America saw a revolution in women’s political participation as the fight for the vote moved from drawing rooms to the streets. Hundreds of women marched down Fifth Avenue in America’s first suffrage parade in May 1910. Many suffragists wore practical but stylish shoes, such as high-buttoned boots (ca. 1920), spectator pumps, and lace-up shoes on view in the exhibition.

Fenton Footwear pumps, late 1920s

The dawn of department stores at the turn of the century created a place of leisure for affluent women and employment opportunities for working women, so retailers began to compete for customers with colorful advertisements and celebrity endorsements. Department stores offered glamorous shoes like red velvet and gold T-strap pumps (ca. 1937) or peep-toe mules with clear Lucite flowered heels (mid-1950s).

Spectator pumps signed by the Yankees, ca. 1941

These shoes, signed by 27 members of the 1941 Yankees, likely belonged to a girlfriend of baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, identified as “the A1 Girl Fan of the Yanks.” The autographs from the World Series-winning team changed these everyday pumps into a one-of-a-kind piece of baseball memorabilia.

Salvatore Ferragamo Madonna sandals, ca. 1954–55

The fashion industry partnered with Hollywood to create custom shoes for motion pictures and celebrities — such as Ferragamo’s handmade black needlepoint Tuscan lace heels (ca. 1954-55) designed for actress Sophia Loren — which inspired consumers to purchase similar styles.

For more information and tickets, visit DHHRM.org/exhibitions/walk-this-way/ or call (214) 741-7500

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