Manolo Blahnik pumps
/ 18th Century Styles
The Historical Mode, a 1989 Museum at FIT exhibition curated by Richard Martin, explored widespread historicism in 1980s design. Martin believed that in historically inspired fashions, "elements are borrowed, but differentiation is supreme," and he lauded the ways in which "historicism’s petty thefts [could] lead to a bright and original creative conclusion."

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Metal buckles were commonly used to fasten shoes during the 18th century. The most extravagant buckles were diamond studded, but rhinestones were a more common embellishment.

The elegant, opulent look of 18th-century buckled shoes has inspired several revivals. The glittering "buckles" are strictly decorative in these examples by Peter Yapp, Julianelli, and Manolo Blahnik, however. The shoes also incorporate fashionable heel and toe shapes from their respective eras.

Manolo Blahnik pumps
Red velvet, silver metal, rhinestones
Circa 1995, England
The Museum at FIT, 2004.24.2
Museum purchase