Design House: Salvatore Ferragamo (Italian, founded 1929)

Designer: Salvatore Ferragamo (Italian, 1898–1960)

Date: 1938

Culture: Italian

Medium: leather, cork

Credit Line: Gift of Salvatore Ferragamo, 1973

Accession Number: 1973.282.2


Salvatore Ferragamo is credited with introducing the platform shoe in the late 1930s. As seen in this ankle-strap sandal, the platform, if only metaphorically, brings an anchoring weight to the wearer that is in direct opposition to the stiletto heel. With its reconfiguration of the arch and structure of attenuated insubstantiality, the high heel suggests the antigravitational effect of the dancer en pointe. On the other hand, the platform announces an earthbound weightiness more like the flat steps of modern dance. Particularly in the 1940s, platforms were designed with a high arch, but as exemplified here, they originated with the heel elevated only slightly above the toes.