The Victoria & Albert Museum
These red boots, laced at the back, are made of ribbed silk. They were designed to come up just above the ankle and are set with the then-fashionable “military” style heel. The heel has been covered in silk to match the uppers. They have are trimmed at the top with bobbin lace and ribbons.
London Society ladies of the 1860s and 1870s had a passion for these high-heeled French boots which were important from Parisian show-makers or often copied by English cobblers. According to the V&A, “The French influence was due to the stylish Empress Eugenie who had married the French emperor, Napoleon III, in 1853. She was probably responsible for the introduction of the shorter skirt which led to a greater emphasis on stockings and shoes.” Such boots tended to be rather gaudy by Nineteenth Century standards and were made in a variety of bold, bright colors thanks to the chemical aniline dyes which were introduced in the 1860s.