Veteran Shoe Designer Vanessa Noel Opens Historical Footwear Museum in NYC
Longtime footwear designer Vanessa Noel is looking to celebrate the history of shoes with a permanent museum in New York City. On Thursday, she launched a pop-up exhibition, celebrating the evolution of shoes at her Upper East Side townhouse.
The Noel Shoe Museum is a nonprofit organization created to further the education on footwear as well as its preservation.
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It was after suffering a near-fatal heart attack that got Noel thinking. “I thought about what would happen to all the people who work for me, what would happen to my label, and I started thinking about all these other amazing designers in my industry. I thought about the fact that we don’t have an end call like there’s nowhere for us. So I set out to create a museum for the shoe industry.”
Within the exhibit, Noel showcases her personal collection of footwear, featuring items that date back to the 17th century. Standouts include Usain Bolt’s autographed Puma track shoes, Persian warrior iron boots and shoes worn by famous clown Uncle Soapy.
“This is a legacy project. I’m so thrilled. And part of our mission is to learn about the culture of man through the evolution of the shoes. So it’s very historic. We want everyone to understand this is going to not only celebrate the Picassos of our industry, but also to learn history through shoes,” Noel added.
The exhibition, located at 158 East 64th Street, will be open free to the public three days a week throughout the summer, by appointment only. But, it’s just the start. The goal is to have a permanent home, Noel said.
In addition to its founder, the Noel Shoe Museum has a board featuring Billie Bailkin, Rachelle Friedman, Susan Gutfreund, Carolina Herrera, Carolyn Maloney, H.R.H Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Joe Pacetti, Marc Rosen and Jackie Tucker.
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