Before Andy Warhol became a leading light in the pop art movement and synonymous with images of Marilyn Monroe recoloured in neon shades, he was a commercial illustrator for fashion magazines with a particular expertise drawing shoes.
In 1955, Warhol was made the only illustrator for the advertising campaigns of I.Miller, a New York shoe manufacturer favoured by actors and dancers. Each week Warhol had to create designs for advertisements in The New York Times and shoes became something of a signature piece.
On 22nd March 2016 a complete portfolio of Warhol’s shoe designs titled À la recherche du shoe perdu was sold at Sotheby’s. A dream buy for fashionistas, it included 18 unique prints.
Each print was hand-coloured, often by Warhol and his friends when they got together for ‘colouring parties’, and had a witty caption written by the American poet Ralph Pomeroy and inspired by references to pop culture. ‘Dial M for Shoe’ pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock while the title of the portfolio itself plays on Marcel Proust’s famous novel À la recherche du temps perdu.
Here are some of our favourite sketches…
Any one for shoes?
You can lead a shoe to water but you can’t make it drink
Dial M for shoe
Beauty is shoe, shoe beauty…
Shoe fly Baby
To shoe or not to shoe
I dream of Jeannie with the light brown shoes
My shoe is your shoe
Shoe of the evening, beautiful shoe