This is a sad tale, and it is not pretty.
You might remember these shoes that I posted about a couple of weeks ago. They were a gift from Monica Murgia. When she sent these, she included a second pair, identical in styling, but differing in color. They were black patent leather with cherry red leather ties, and unfortunately, they were ruined due to poor storage.
The shoes were stored in the original box, wrapped in what was most likely the original tissue. And while I love finding things in the original packaging, it is usually not good for the item, especially when the item is made of a sensitive substance like patent leather. Shoe boxes and most tissue contain acids which can cause a lot of damage to textiles and leathers.
It’s my guess that these were stored in an attic, causing the patent leather to heat up and become sticky. The tissue then stuck to the leather finish. It was not just a simple matter of washing the paper off, as it had actually disintegrated the finish of the shoes where the paper had come in contact with it.
As I said, it is a sad story, made sadder by the fact that these are such sweet shoes. The maker, Andre Perugia, was one of the great shoemakers of the 20th century. These were made for American firm, I. Miller, with whom Perugia had a long-standing relationship.
Okay, no more sad photos, but if you are a collector of shoes, you might want to read a post I did about a year ago on how I store my shoes. I use acid-free boxes and I wrap the shoes in muslin. I also support the interior of each shoe with muslin.
I tend to avoid materials – like patent leather and fur – that do not age well. But if one collects antique and vintage fashions, it is almost impossible to collect only items that will not have age issues. Silk shatters, leather molds, wool gets eaten by moth larvae. It’s a real battlefield!