Saturday was a really fun day. I spent a few hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my mom. It was her first time there, so I had to show her around. I’m lucky enough to know the Impressionist galleries pretty well. I visit them almost every time I’m there. (Second floor, Nineteenth Century European art!)
She absolutely loved it. We dashed about, looking at different things, only to meet in front of paintings we mutually admired. Like mother, like daughter I guess would sum the experience up, because we met up in front of this painting by Van Gogh:
Shoes, 1888. It’s a beautiful painting. Dazzling hues, strong brushwork, impasto layers of paint, interesting composition. We talked about this only after a good laugh- we love paintings of fashion. We sort of marveled at how the shoes were timeless. They could still be fashionable today, and here they were in a painting from 1888. We wondered is they were Van Gogh’s own, or maybe they belonged to his friend and fellow painter Cezanne.
My mom was really insistent that they looked like a pair of Vans. She probably made this connection because the soles of the shoes in the painting look white. I wasn’t really convinced on this comparison. To me, the shoes seemed like they were made of really nice leather. Van Gogh took a lot of artistic liberty with selecting the color of the paint, so I guess everyone sees something different. I imagined a soft, buttery leather, with an oval shaped toe cap.
We had lunch downstairs in the cafeteria, and I spotted these shoes on a passerby:
Making these kinds of connections between fashion and art is practically what I live for. Of course I was beside myself with excitement, and shouted “I love your shoes!”. They were practically right out of my imagination of what I thought Van Gogh’s painting was trying to represent. (These shoes, of course, have a few more eyelets than the painting.)
The wearer almost escaped without further interrogation. I sat and looked at the rest of my food, and the thought of not know more about the shoes made me lose my appetite. So I ran after the gentleman to find out more about the brand. Ian was kind enough to fill me in. The shoes are by Clae, an Los Angeles based company. Founded in the 1990s, the shoes are a take on merging casual silhouettes with the comfort of an athletic shoe. Designer Sung Choi coined a term for this concept: “athleisure“.
They certainly are perfect for a Saturday walking around Manhattan. The style is classic and refined. But they certainly look comfortable enough to trek around the city. Definitely an updated take on what Van Gogh was wearing back in 1888!