For this month's From the Collection series, we highlight gold kid leather and glass evening shoes, manufactured by A. E. Little & Co. under the label "Sorosis Trademark Luxuries," from the Drexel Historic Costume Collection.
These evening shoes date from a transitional point in the history of fashion (ca. 1910) when the trailing skirts of the late 19th century were being abandoned by the young and daring. Under the influence of designers such as Paul Poiret, skirts were gradually shortened and slit to reveal the feet and ankles. With this daring exposure (ankles had not been seen in high fashion for nearly 100 years) came an emphasis on colored stockings and decorative shoes with elaborate laces and straps. Most women, however, would not have dared to wear such flamboyant footwear or the relatively short skirts that would have displayed them. These styles were considered extremely provocative and associated with a daring modernity.
These shoes were manufactured by A. E. Little & Co. under the label Sorosis Trademark Luxuries sometime around 1910. A. E. Little & Co. was located in Lynn, Mass., which was a highly regarded center for shoe manufacturing at the time. A.E. Little & Co. produced a variety of footwear for men, women and children at a variety of price points. These evening shoes, with their metallic leather and elaborate beading, would have been among their most elaborate offerings and would have retailed for about $10 when new.
The name Sorosis is derived from the ancient Greek word for sisterhood and was also the name of a famous women’s suffrage group of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Supporters of women’s rights in the early 20th century were often highly fashionable women who viewed clothing as an outward display of their modern views.
These shoes were gifted to the collection by an anonymous donor. The date of donation is unknown.