The elegance of shoe polish

"Marga" cream made by Sutter

In his “Il demone della frivolezza” (Sellerio, Palermo 2016), writer Giuseppe Scaraffia claims “polishing your shoes is a ritual of painstaking elegance, that transcends – as Charles Baudelaire prescribed – the highs and lows of life.”

Scaraffa notes Thomas Mann always wore perfectly shined shoes, and Musil considered “keeping shoes well polished an absolute necessity.”

“As André Gide said,” he adds, “you can know a person more precisely and in depth from the care he or she puts in footwear, than from clothes or facial features.”

Here is a series of advertising posters from the early decades of the 1900s, dedicated to shoe creams, greases and polishes.

May 24, 2017