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January 7, 2022

Extraordinary Ladies’ Shoes Designed by Steven Arpad, 1939

Even in the times of downfall and despair, caught in the aftermath of the Great Depression, on the brink of the World War II, a creative mind can dream of beauty, long for elegance, and invent something utterly stunning. The futuristic collection of ladies’ shoes created by the French designer Steven Arpad (1904–1999) is a perfect, mind-blowing example.

Housed under the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Arpad shoes, ready to wear pairs and unfinished prototypes, look very modern. Embodying the American high style, these little delicate pieces stand strong for elegance and beauty, despite all odds of their times.

Steven Arpad, Budapest-born, moved to Paris as a young man to study fashion and applied arts. He started his career making boutique items for Jean Patou and ultimately for Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Paquin and Molineux. He designed and made collections before World War II. And before the war also he was under contract to several U.S. shoe firms including Delman and I.Miller.

At the same time he was operating embroidery firms in both Paris and New York. When World War II started, Arpad moved to operate his embroidery firm, open a sportswear house and to do accessories for ready-to-wear designers. He made a big splash during the war years with his retail line of metal-less jewelry, made with lace, braiding, net and passamenerie.

During the years, he has jeweled everything from combs to belts to shoes. He made jeweled snoods when long bobs were popular and brought back the jeweled hatpin during the post-war years. Here are some extraordinary shoes designed by Steven Arpad in 1939.


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