In a room connected to the Shoemaking workshop is a store of several thousand pairs of shoes. They are stored by type, colour, and period.
This is miscellaneous stock, so the contents can be used as required for new productions. Shoes included in a costume for a production that is likely to be revived are stored with the rest of that costume in the storeroom on the seventh floor.
How many shoes are made varies from one production to another. Generally, we try only to make them for the soloists. For the choruses, complete sets have been made to measure and are reused regularly.
All the small leather costume elements (belts, bags of all kinds and in every size and shape, etc.) made in the Shoemaking workshop are also stored in the stock.
Even though more and more productions use modern costumes, period shoes remain indispensable to the opera.
The historical dimension to what we do is essential; I find it immensely fascinating. Throughout history, the shoe has symbolised power, wealth, and membership of a social class. In the time of Louis XIV, for example, only nobles had the right to walk around in high-heeled red shoes. As for brown ones, they were reserved for the Sun King. Also, there was no left or right shoe: the two were identical, which was very uncomfortable. P.v.D., shoemaker
The shoe stock reflects the diversity of the artistic worlds created by the costume designers: from high heels to winged boots and fantastical shoes shaped like animals’ feet...