The Wizard of Oz, Aged Metallic/Translucent Burgundy Yellow Felt Ruby Slippers

made from scratch movie costume

Another pair made to the exacting standards people have come to expect from my work.  The base shoes are custom made in size 5C (contrary to popular belief, none of the original slippers are size 5B - they vary in size from 5BC - 6B).  The base shoes are hand crafted by a professional shoemaker on custom made shoe lasts that I had designed to replicate the longer arches seen on the original slippers.  Constructed of red silk faille, the interiors are lined with off white kid leather and matching canvas.  The insole sock of the right shoe has an embossed Innes Shoe Company stamp.  The heels used are custom made for my pairs as well.  Yellow felt has been adhered to the front of the soles of the shoes to match the unaccounted for pair from the production  Leather top lifts (heel caps) and soles complete the shoe.

 

The overlays are custom dyed, hand sequined georgette, crafted using the same technique MGM Studios used to sequin the original pairs as quickly as possible.  As an FYI, if your slipper maker sews your sequins directly to the shoe, you are not getting slippers made in the same method that the studio used.  The original slippers were sequined using a method that required that the silk georgette be stretched in a frame, to which a pattern of the shoe was drawn and then hand sequined.  This method would allow a single beader to complete an entire overlay in a matter of hours instead of days.  MGM was nothing short of a factory, and their practices and training allowed them to produce their costumes in the fastest way possible.   How do I know this?  Years of research, including reading unpublished interviews with MGM costuming staff who worked on the film, as well as talking to the Executive Director, Conservators, and the Entertainment Curator of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  The process used to make the slippers is well known to all of these people, and anyone still making the claim that the original slipper sequins were sewn directly to the shoes is wrong.  I wish I could say it was just ignorance, but at this point, the professional slipper maker perpetuating that lie is only doing so because they are too lazy or untalented to learn the additional processes needed to complete the shoes correctly.  Instead, they tell people that the overlay method is a "shortcut" - that is a partial truth, as the studio used this method because it is much faster than sewing loose, individual sequins directly onto a shoe.

The sequins used on this specific pair are a new style - a burgundy sequin that is made to be both metallic and translucent.  The back of the sequin is a transparent, and the front is covered in a flaked aluminum finish that has been dyed a deep red burgundy color.  Just like aged antique gelatin sequins, these modern made sequins vary in transparency and finish.  Once the overlays were sewn, I removed a lot of the red coloring from the front of the sequin to allow the silver colored aluminum to show through.  This allows the sequins to appear exactly as antique gelatin sequins look after they've aged, with this pair's sequins very closely matching the appearance of the recovered Shaw pair of slippers as photographed by the FBI in 2018, as well as the photos of the Academy's pair of slippers.  The sequins on these pairs shows a lot of the silver coloring where the red has flaked off.  The sequins on this replica pair photograph as more red, while in person they appear as a darker burgundy.  The sequins also appear more translucent in person, depending on lighting.

 

The bows are crafted using custom made dark red center jewels, custom made micro-thin bugle beads, and on this particular pair, I have used vintage red/orange rose montees.  I do not use leather as the base for my bows anymore, as the Smithsonian told me that they learned that their bows are not leather - they are actually a stiff fabric.  The story that Eddie Fisher told Rhys Thomas about "strap leather" being used on the bows was a complete fabrication.  The original bows were hand beaded fabric that was wrapped around the dyed stiff fabric, and none of the known pairs  have any jewels attached directly to leather.

 

I've made a lot of slippers, and this pair is by far my most accurate.  Additional photos of them are available on my website at www.randystruthers.com.

costume: collector:
category: made from scratch
type: costumes/wardrobe
celebrity: Judy Garland (50)
movie: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
original (3)  |  replica (98)
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