Opera contralto Kathleen Howard, shown with some of the shoes that make up her wardrobe. Delineator, December 1927, p. 25.
In “The What and Why of My Shoe Wardrobe,” opera singer (and multi-talented actor/writer) Kathleen Howard shared her thoughts about the shoes and slippers she found necessary for private and public life. (She owned a lot more than nine pairs of shoes!)
The illustration was also noteworthy for the bracelets she is shown wearing:
Text describing nine pairs of shoes, plus a view of Howard’s stacked bracelets. December 1929.
This is the 1920’s shoe I found most amazing:
“White satin sandal with strass (rhinestones) and seed pearls,” by Aubert. December, 1927.
Fashion advice from Kathleen Howard, Delineator, December 1927.
Kathleen Howard’s other shoes, from top left:
Bedroom slipper (mule) from Dec. 1927. “Rose and silver brocade mule with silver heel and rose ostrich [feathers.]”
The laughing mask shoe at lower right ( T ) was attributed to Netch et Bernard by Delineator in October, 1928. Shoe R is a mule with wooden sole, like “sabot” mules by Perugia as described by Howard.
Click here to see Perugia mask shoes and other gorgeous Twenties’ shoes.
Some of Howard’s other “slippers” are pictured later.
White kid sandal, Dec. 1927. “A white kid sandal with yellow bands, heel, and tie ribbons” by Greco. (The original images were too small to enlarge well. The bands and heel are yellow lizard. )
“To wear with white clothes in the south there are oxfords of white lizard, the cleanest looking-things imaginable. Lizard has a peculiar neatness about it, caused, I suppose, by the tiny pattern of the poor little beast’s skin, which makes it most appealing. To wear with Southern clothes, Greco shows sandals in white kid trimmed with yellow or blue.” — Kathleen Howard
Slipper, 1927. “A scarlet, green, blue, or brown morocco boudoir slipper….” ” To wear with my house pajamas in the evening, … comforts for my tired extremities.”
Opera pump, 1927. “A black patent leather opera pump with cut-steel buckle.” “No shoe wardrobe is complete without patent leather so-called opera pumps.”
Slipper in dark blue kid, 1927. “Ducerf-Scavini slipper in dark blue kid with suede trimming and an enamel buckle.”
Patent leather, 1927. Two-strap “Ducerf-Scavini shoe of black perforated patent leather.”
Boudoir slipper, 1927. “Hellstern‘s hyacinth and silver brocade slipper with silver trimming and diamond and sapphire buckle.” “A pretty pair of brocade… to go with my prettiest negligee.”
I find the word” slipper” confusing. Howard says she wears some of these high-heeled slippers with her negligee, so they are bedroom/boudoir slippers. But perhaps “slipper” also refers to fabric dancing shoes, like this blue satin sandal with gold kid trim, or that jewelled, ankle strap, white satin shoe?
“A dark blue satin sandal with gold kid” trimming, by Greco. December, 1927.
Satin shoe, 1927. “White satin sandal with strass (rhinestones) and seed pearls,” by Aubert.
Not pictured were Ms. Howard’s golf shoes. It looks like she did not treat herself to that pair of alligator golf shoes by Perugia:
Wow, What a Woman!
In 1928, as her singing career wound down, Kathleen Howard (b. 1884?) started working as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar; she also wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal. (In 1918 she had written Confessions of an Opera Singer.) Several years after this 1927 Delineator article was published, Howard began another new career in the movies, most notably as a brilliant foil for W. C. Fields in several comedies, including It’s a Gift (1934) and Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935.) Sistercelluloid.com has written a delightful appreciation of the versatile Ms. Howard. Click here to read it.