Something I have wanted to make for many years now are some chopines. Chopines are classically associated with Venice where the fashion was at its height. in the 16th century. Sumptuary laws were made to limit the height of Venetian chopines for both safety and economic reasons- to prevent pregnant women falling and having miscarriages and to limit the amount of material used in the length of skirts. Similar sumptuary laws are recorded in Florence. Platform shoes in Florence tended to be shorter in height, though there is mention of the popular 'foreign fashion' of chopines. The more common platform shoe in Florence, was the zoccoli. - a wooden platform shoe typically made from white poplar wood. Dressing Renaissance Florence documents that zoccoli or chopines could be material covered and even embroidered for festive occasions.
Though I would love to make a lovely set of high chopines, I am
doing the Florentine thing - restraining myself to respectability and
making a pair of wooden zoccoli. This pair are a plain pair being my
first attempt at this sort of thing. I had found this simple example
from Sienna before I had managed to find other pictures from
Florence. For now, this is what I am making. I will make a more
Florentine version later...
Some pictures of Florentine contemporary zoccoli: (I will write up my research later, so watch for the link).
My zoccoli are intended to wear over my existing leather shoes to protect them from the wet ground and mud.
Firstly I traced around the shoe to get a shape. The original picture had a cut out on the bottom. This was made using a chisel and sanding (a lot of sanding). My dear Dafydd helped with the woodworking.
I made a paper toile over the shoe, for the vamp. Leather pieces were cut to size (above right).
I used 'blued cut tacks' from the local hardware store. They had that 'rough' look of what I have seen of period nails and were intended for use with leather and furniture (at least that is what the sign said). It must be noted here that I am not a woodworker and have done very little of this sort of thing.! I used the tacks to nail the leather onto the wood. I am happy with the look, as I wanted a plain look to these.
Arnold, Janet Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd, Maney, Leeds, 1988, ISBN:0-901286-20-6
Thornton, JH Italian Renaissance Interior 1400-1600
Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence.: Families Fortunes & Clothing. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 2002. ISBN: 0-8018-6939-0
Kovesi Killerby, Catherine, Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500, Oxford University Press. NY. 2002. ISBN:0-19-924793-5
O'Keeffe, Linda. Shoes: A celebration of pumps, sandals, slippers and more. Workman Publishing. NY. 1996. ISBN: 0-7611-0114-4
Hibbert, Christopher. Florence, The Biography of a city. Viking Penguin Group. London. 1993. ISBN: 0-670-84294
Reynolds, Helen. A Fashionable history of the shoe. Henemann Library. London. 2003. ISBN: 0-431-183430
Gre, Fancis & Neergaard, Margrethe de. Shoes and Pattens. Museum of London. Boydell Press. 2001. ISBN: 0-85115-838-2
Met Special Topics page/ The Chopine. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd//chop/hd_chop.htm
Bayerisches National Museum. www.gilindex.de/bilder/
V&A Access to Images. http://images.van.ac.uk/
MFA Boston. Muesum of Fine Arts. www.mfa.org/
Resources - Aneala - by Alessandra Torrigiani d'Arezzo: http://aneala.sca.org.au/arts/ATPianelle.html
(c). K.Carlisle, 2009.