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Teacher's Resources


Aristocratic heel: Throughout Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, heels were an indicator of wealth and status for both men and women.

Brocade: A heavy fabric interwoven with a rich and raised design.

Broguing: A decorative perforation or edge cutting along the stitching of the shoe.

Chape: A metal tip or mounting on a scabbard or sheath.

Chopine: Shoes that elevated the wearer. They had wooden platforms that were often covered with lavish materials such has velvet, lace, ribbon, and tassel. The elevation depicted a person's high status in society.

De rigeur: Required by the current fashion or custom: socially obligatory.

Filigree: An intricate, delicate or fanciful ornamentation.

Grosgrain: A closely woven silk or rayon fabric with narrow horizontal ribs.

Ionic stiletto: A high heel with a high needle-like heel that emerged shortly after World War II.

Kabkabs: These shoes were worn by Turkish women in bathhouses. Kabkabs were high in order to lift the women's feet off of the water on the bathhouse floor. They were often decorated with mother-of-pearl.

Latchets: A leather thong or strap used to fasten a shoe or sandal on the foot.

Louis heel: During the reign of Louis XV in France, fashionable heels for women were curved through the waist and splayed (=spread or turned out) at the base to increase stability. The combination of graceful shape and sturdy construction was revived and revamped in the 1860s and christened the 'Louis heel'.

Mules: A shoe that has no strap to fit around the heel or back to it.

Mother-of-pearl: An iridescent (brilliant or colourful in effect) substance that forms the lining of the shells of some fresh-water and salt-water mollusks.

Peony: Any of the various garden plants of the genus 'paeonia' having large, variously coloured flowers with numerous stamens and several pistils.

Red heel: During the seventeenth century, the heel in France became associated with political privilege. King Louis XIV of France passed a law stipulating that only those who were granted access to his court were allowed to wear red coloured heels.

Ruched: A ruffle or pleat of lace, muslin, or other fine fabric.

Shank: A piece of material, such as metal, that is used to reinforce or shape the narrow part of the sole of a shoe under the instep.

Stiletto: Shortly after World War Two, there was a demand for femininity amongst women. Consequently, the iconic stiletto emerged at this time.