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Arsho Baghsarian shoe sketches, 1963-2008

Donated in March 2009 and currently housed in 9 boxes and 163 folders, the volume of Arsho Baghsarian shoe design sketch series is approximately 14 cubic feet (approximately 24000 sketches), which covers the complete output of Arsho Baghsarian from 1963 to 2008.
The series starts with a red pump sketch for Christian Dior dated back to 1963. This sketch is also the only Dior shoe sketch in this collection. Most original sketches are from 1960s to 1990s, which involve brands such as I.Miller, Andrew Geller, Shoebiz, and Arsho for Shoebiz. The original sketches were done in pencil, ink and gouache. The sketches for Stuart Weitzman (including Stuart Weitzman, Stuart, Arsho for Stuart Weitzman) account for approximately two-thirds of this series. Since the original sketches especially those in Arsho’s late career remain in the factory, the sketches of this part in the collection are photocopies. Arsho devotes her entire career and talents to shoe designs. She has designed the full spectrum of women’s footwear: from sandals to boots and from wedding slippers to sports shoes.
The range of materials makes the series an important tool for conservation, while the collection of design sketches, actual shoe prototypes and marketing, even those in publications that have been greatly transformed or no longer exist, give students a sense of art marketing and fashion history.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Christian Dior, 1963

This is the smallest sub-series in the collection, which contains one colorful original sketch. The shoe is predominantly bright red canvas heel with a gold buckle as decoration.

Baghsarian, Arsho

I. Miller, 1963-1969

The I.Miller sub-series contains a total of 691 sketches in 4folders, all of which are original color sketches. The specific year information is not available in this subseries, but the year range can be deduced from Arsho Baghsarian’s biography history (she designed for I.Miller from 1963 to 1968). The shoe types in this subseries include sandals, flats, pumps, thongs, and very few boots. Based on the dominant shoe forms contained in this subseries, these sketches should belong to spring and summer seasons.
One of the notable characteristic of this subseries is the wide adoption of bulky heels. The element is merged into the design of pumps, pump sandals and flats, which gives this subseries a character of casualness. Additionally, the integration of feminine elements, such as flower and bow ornaments, endues a mixed quality into this subseries.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Andrew Geller, 1969-1970

The Andrew Geller sub-series contains a total of 756 original color sketches in 6 folders. The year information is not available in this subseries. Thus, the time range of it is also supplied according to Baghsarian’s biography history. In this subseries, the shoe types include pumps, flats, sneakers, sandals and boots.
The sketches in this sub-series feature women day-ware integrating comfort and youthfulness. The predominantly used element is still the bulky heels, which is merged naturally into the design of pumps, pump sandals and flats. Besides that, other decoration elements presented in this sub-series include the use of vibrant colors, metal buckles and strong color contrast.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Arsho for Shoebiz, 1979-1986

The Arsho for Shoebiz contains a total of 594 sketches in 7 folders. As another subordinate product line in Shoebiz, Arsho for Shoebiz aims at a younger customer group with a lower market price. As the first product line with Ashro’s name, it bears a special meaning in Arsho’s career.
The sketches of this sub-series are original. This product line contains women footware for all occasions. One feature contained in this sub-series is the hand-woven shoes. Recalled by Arsho, during shoebiz period, these delicate hand-woven shoes were manufactured by their French cooperators, which were very popular among their customers at that time.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Stuart, 1987-1996

The Stuart sub-series contains a total 5344 of sketches in 36 folders. Compared to Stuart Weitzman, most of its sketches are original, and a great part of which are decorated with watercolor. As a subordinate product line in Stuart Weitzman, it is aimed at a younger consumer group and designed to be dressier with a lower price range. Similar to Stuart Weitzman line, Stuart contains shoes types for various occasions in all seasons.

The principle of practicality also succeeds in Stuart line as well. Just as Arsho states that “shoes are designed for walking, not for displaying or fashion show”. Most of shoes styles in this sub-series are from flats to mid-heel height.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Shoestring, 1979-1982

The Shoestrings sub-series contains a total of 741 sketches in 7 folders. The folder with an estimated year (1980’s) contains 82 original sketches, half of which are designs for handbags and the rest are sketches for platform sandals and pumps. The handbags in this sub-series feature accessory usage bags such as evening bags and clutches. The rest of the original sketches are mainly the design of platform sandals and pumps. Baghsarian’s design for shoes comprise all types of women shoes for every occasion , which include sandals, flats, sneakers, boots, pumps and some accessories.
The shoes of Shoestring are appropriate for women of all ages, the material of the shoes, the delicate sequins detail, fragile ribbon ankle straps, friable rope wedge soles and porous canvas and mesh uppers, and their warm color palette of vibrant red, orange, green, canary yellow, hot pinks, bright whites and metallic suggest that they are intended for a relatively young consumer group. Baghsarian’s talent of utilizing various materials into shoe designing is exemplified in this sub-series again. The materials used in this sub-series include but not limited to calf leather, snake skin leather, suede, canvas, denim, metallic ornaments. Also, her sense of fashion and feminine characteristic create a distinct product line.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Arsho for Stuart, 1987-1995

The Arsho for Stuart sub-series contains a total of 1975 sketches in 22 folders. Compare to other sub-series in the series, Arsho for Stuart houses the most colorful sketches, whose amount is approximately 1000 in total.
As a subordinate product line in Stuart Weitzman, Arsho for Stuart aimed to target a younger and more diverse consumer group. A variety of feminine characteristics are employed in this sub-series. Ornaments such as lace decorations and ribbon bows are widely used. The functionality valued by Arsho is also represented in this sub-series. The design of high-heel shoes accounts for a very small portion in the sub-series. The feminine quality is realized by the combination of delicate details and textiles.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Shoebiz, 1971-1986

The Shoebiz sub-series contains a total of 2837 sketches in 16 folders. Two folders with estimated date (1970’s and 1980’s) contain the original color sketches. The other 6 folders with inclusive date information contain the photocopies. Shoebiz features a youthful and feminine product line for women at all ages and every occasion. Besides that, two sheets of shoe shape designed by Baghsraian can be found in the folder of 1980’s.
In this sub-series, bulky heels remain to be a significant factor especially in the 1970’s folders. In addition, the design of platform shoes such as platform sandals and platform pumps in various height emerge at the early stage of Shoebiz line. Besides that, more diversifications can be found in this subseries, from the dressy foot ware such as 3 inch high heel pumps and slingbacks, to casual style such as loafer and wedges. More materials, such as patent leather, multi-color canvas, and feather are adopted, all of which contributes to the diversity of the Shoebiz sub-series.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Stuart Weitzman, 1986-2008

As the longest period in Arsho Barhsarian’s carrier, this Stuart Weitzman line exists as the biggest sub-series in this series, which contains a total of 13,597 sketches in 82 folders. The folders of earlier years (approximately before year 2000) contain original sketches and their copies as well. Most of the original sketches are drawn in pencil, and a small portion of the original sketches are colorful or decorated with golden pigment. The original sketches after 2000 are still kept by Stuart Weitzman or its manufacture - only the copies are kept in this sub-series.
The evolution of shoe styles from 1980’s to now can be found in this sub-series. Various shoe design elements such as charms, crystals, bows and floral pattern are applied to the shoes targeted for women in different ages and occasions. The diversity of the textile is one of the most noticeable features in this sub-series. Materials including calf, lamb skin, canvas, denim and silk are used and combined creatively and broadly in Arsho’s design.

Another striking feature in this sub-series is the pavé evening shoes line. The elegantly designed evening shoes decorated with Swarovski crystals is one of the most famous and popular shoe lines in Arsho’s carrier.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Shoe Design Graphics

This series contains two original color sketches in total. According to Arsho Baghsarian, she went to the library of Metropolitan to look for design ideas in her leisure time. She recorded the graphics which look special and appropriate for shoes and colored them when she came home. Some of those graphics are employed later on her shoes.

Baghsarian, Arsho

Shoe Textiles

A small series of textile is donated with shoe sketches. The textile contained in the series includes leather pieces, fabric pieces, braded strips in various textiles, fur pieces, bronze charms, Swarovski crystals, silk cubes and feather samples housed in 70 Polaroid sleeves in eight folders.

The materials are gradually collected by Arsho Baghsarian in her work. Some of these are provided by textile suppliers with detailed color codes and item numbers. Others are collected by Arsho herself. It is surprising to find that textiles with such a variety can be applied on shoe design.

Baghsarian, Arsho

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