Marie Antoinette’s Tiny Feet Inspired This Paris Exhibit on the Evolution of Footwear Design

It was upon discovering a pair of tiny 18th-century shoes in the archives of the Arts Décoratifs in Paris that curator Denis Bruna got the idea for the museum’s latest exhibition: The shoes, which were worn by Marie Antoinette in 1792, measured 21 centimeters by 5 centimeters, corresponding to a European size 33 and a U.S. size 2.

“How was it possible for a 37-year-old woman to put her adult feet in such a tiny shoe,” wondered Bruna, speaking at the press preview Wednesday of “Marche et Démarche,” or “Walk and Gait,” which runs until Feb. 23.

“We realized that the shoes that we had in our archives from the 17th century to mid-19th century were all extraordinarily small and thin,” he continued. “It prompted us to wonder how our relationship to shoes and the act of walking has evolved throughout history.”

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com. To read the full story, please go to WWD.com.

Access exclusive content