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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am doing some research on the etymology of shoe type names such as:
Oxford
Balmoral
Blucher
Derby
Gibson

I am not concerned with what the differences are between the shoe types (such as open lacing or closed lacing) I am trying to focus on where the names actually came from.

My research thus far is as follows:

Balmoral:
The style became popular when Prince Albert wore them at Balmoral Castle in the mid-1800's.

I do not know if the Prince had anything to do with the design, or if he simply made them popular by wearing them. I do not know when the actual design came in to being, or it simply evolved from a side lace boot to a front lace boot.

Oxford:
At the start of the 1900's it started becoming popular to wear shoes, rather than boots, at the universities. Being a common sight at Oxford University, the shoe gained the name of the university.

This does not explain how Oxford boots, which Oxford shoes were derived from, got their name.

Blucher:
Named after the Prussian field marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher when he ordered the design for the boots his troops wore.

Again, I am not sure if he had anything to do with the design, or did he just make them popular.

Derby:
As far as I can tell this is the exact same thing as a Blucher. And, I suspect it is named after the town of Derby in England, but I am not sure why.

Gibson:
As far as I can tell the name Gibson is given to Bluchers made for women. I have no idea where the name Gibson comes from.

If anyone could give me some direction where I could find more specific information, or would like to give me more detail on where any of these names come from, I would really appreciate it.

-Glen
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I received the CD of The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, and it did give me some history on the Oxford and a little more detail on the Blucher. But I would still like to know where, and if possible when, the terms Derby and Gibson come from. Any detail on who designed the Balmoral would also be useful.

I know there are a number of very knowledgeable people in this forum, so if anyone has any information in this regard I would appreciate if you could share it.

Thanks in advance.

-Glen
 

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I received the CD of The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, and it did give me some history on the Oxford and a little more detail on the Blucher. But I would still like to know where, and if possible when, the terms Derby and Gibson come from. Any detail on who designed the Balmoral would also be useful.

I know there are a number of very knowledgeable people in this forum, so if anyone has any information in this regard I would appreciate if you could share it.
The trouble is that nobody cares much about dress history. As a result, most of this knowledge has been irretrievably lost. It is said that balmoral boots were first made by John Lobb for Prince Albert. However, I have never seen the evidence for this. As for what Blücher's original boots looked like, nobody seems to have recorded it.

You are at the point, where if you want to know more, you should make arrangements to look at collections of rare books at the British library and costume institutes around the world. Do tell us what you find.
 

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The trouble is that nobody cares much about dress history. As a result, most of this knowledge has been irretrievably lost. It is said that balmoral boots were first made by John Lobb for Prince Albert. However, I have never seen the evidence for this. As for what Blücher's original boots looked like, nobody seems to have recorded it.

You are at the point, where if you want to know more, you should make arrangements to look at collections of rare books at the British library and costume institutes around the world. Do tell us what you find.
Very true Sator,

Too many books and blogs on men's fashion rely on other books or brands marketing material rather than attempt to find original sources.

I cringe every time I read that hunting Pinks were so-called after the 18th century Thomas Pink or that the Duke of Windsor invented Prince of Wales check.

That is why I so much enjoy the fashion plates that you and others so kindly re-produce on this forum. However, these are often heavily stylised, exaggerated and subject to artistic licence.

W_B
 

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Very true Sator,

Too many books and blogs on men's fashion rely on other books or brands marketing material rather than attempt to find original sources.

I cringe every time I read that hunting Pinks were so-called after the 18th century Thomas Pink or that the Duke of Windsor invented Prince of Wales check.

That is why so much enjoy the fashion plates that you and others so kindly re-produce on this forum. However, these are often heavily stylised, exaggerated and subject to artistic licence.

W_B
Andy's CD is actually very good as a source of information on dress history, even though that is not it's primary intention.

What really troubles me is these books that show you fashion plates from the 1700s through to the 1900s. Then they add a "modern" section consisting of catwalk bizzaria that bears no resemblance to how people dress today. At least those old fashion plates were intended for people to take to a dressmaker or tailor to be brought to life. I hope dress historians will one day realise the total irrelevancy of catwalk freakshows to our age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes that Andy created has a tremendous amount of very useful fashion information, and I'm glad I purchased it. It simply did not have the depth of information I was looking for in a specific area, and perhaps like Sator suggests, the information may be hard to come by.

My reason for asking the questions is because I have developed a keen interest in shoes over the past few years (late bloomer) and have started to accumulate a substantial shoe wardrobe. I have over 80 pairs of shoes now, with brands like A.Testoni, Alden, Allen Edmonds, Church, Ferragamo, Martegani, Santoni and others in my collection. I do not have any John Lobb, Edward Green or Berluti shoes in my collection yet, but I hope to in the not too distant future. I am sure however that there are any number of members in this forum that have a more substantial collection than I do.

Because of my interest in shoes, and my professional background as a programmer, I decided to create a web site dedicated sharing knowledge specifically about men's shoes. My intention is in no way to compete with this forum or the great site that Andy has put together. I also hesitate to post the URL of the site in this thread, but would be happy to share it with anyone that may be interested.

I would, of course, not use any material that Andy has written without citing my source, but I hope to gain a better depth of knowledge (if possible) on the specifics of men's shoes. If anyone can refer me to specific publications or resources that may be useful that would be great. I will also follow up on Sator's suggestion about rare books at the British library and costume institutes around the world as best I can.

My wife has already pointed out that doing shoe research one pair of shoes at a time is not terribly cost effective or efficient.
 

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I just wonder whether the name "Gibson" for a woman's shoe could be derived from Charles Dana Gibson, the eminent American illustrator, whose "Gibson Girl" drawings became the very icon and ideal of American female beauty during the period 1900-1910. The only problem with this hypothesis is that, given the long skirts fashionable in that era, the feet and shoes of the Gibson Girls are hardly ever visible!
 

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I will also follow up on Sator's suggestion about rare books at the British library and costume institutes around the world as best I can.
I would also suggest making an appointment to see the collection at the Victorian and Albert Museum in London. While in London, I recommend making an appointment to interview someone at John Lobb, St James. They have the first miniature model of Wellington's original boots. They were sent out to the battlefield for his approval before they were completed. They also have Queen Victoria's lasts. There is also a costume museum at Bath that is excellent.

I understand that the shoe museum at Northampton has limited opening hours.
 
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