Women from the Ankle Down (Hardcover)
The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us
Harper, 9780061969614, 304pp.
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Rachelle Bergstein brings readers along on a unique and delightful romp through the history of shoes, the women who wear them, and the profound impact they have on our lives.
Women from the Ankle Down includes interviews and cameos with influential figures ranging from Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava to Oscar Award–winning costume designer Patrizia van Brandenstein, from Doc Martens historian Martin Roach to Fashion Institute of Technology museum director Valerie Steele; from Marilyn Monroe and Jane Fonda to Salvador Ferragamo and Christian Dior; from Judy Garland to Wonder Woman.
About the Author
Rachelle Bergstein, the author of Women from the Ankle Down, works at a literary agency in New York. She lives with her husband and their son in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Praise For Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us…
“A lively look at the history of stilettos, sneakers and sundry other leather- and rubber-soled objects of swoon.”
— Olivia Barker, USA Today
“If style defines the woman, and shoes a woman’s style, then ooh la la, here’s the definitive history and guide—everything from Chinese bound feet to Ferragamo, from Hollywood favorites to running up one’s credit card on the sine qua non of fashion.”
“If you could glimpse the passing parade of the last hundred years or so from behind a slightly raised curtain, you’d have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in this richly anecdotal history of shoes.”
“Every woman who loves her shoes should read this book—hell—every man who loves women’s shoes should read this book….Informative, interesting, and just plain fun.”
— New York Journal of Books
“[Bergstein’s] entertaining book wears its research as lightly as a pair of strappy sandals.”
“At last someone has dared to probe one of the most mystifying phenomena in our culture: what’s the deal with women and shoes? Rachelle Bergstein starts from the ground up and tells us—with wit and brio—a lot about society from an unusual and original perspective.”
“As a woman who walks, I’ve often wondered why I don’t wear more sensible shoes. Now I know. Rachelle Bergstein has written a compulsively readable history: it won’t keep you from buying an absurdly uncomfortable and expensive pair, but it will make you understand why you’re doing it.”
“[An] engaging, toe-to-heel study....From flats a la Audrey Hepburn, Keds and white go-go- boots, Tommy-era platforms, and Jane Fonda’s Reebok Freestyles, to Sex and the City’s pricey Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choo’s, Bergstein ably runs the gamut of styles over the decades…”
— Publishers Weekly
“An illuminating study of the history of women’s shoes in the 20th century….Wickedly provocative.”
“An entertaining journey through the social history of shoes and the people who have worn them....Well-written and well-referenced….Recommended to all fashion followers as well as those who enjoy the ankle-down approach to studying our high-end material culture.”
“Engaging….A charmingly interwoven story of the past 100 years, detailing a bit of the psychology behind different styles as well as the fame that drives the fates of a variety of soles and heels.”