You Spin Me White Rand, Baby, White Rand!
In my on-going Pompadour project, I had finished the first step– dyeing the shoes green— and was ready to decorate them! Even though American Duchess shoes can be painted in a variety of ways, I wanted to decorate my Pomps with a wide band of gilt ribbon characteristic of the early 18th century:
Shoes with Silk and Silver Gilt Trim, circa 1720-30
Not only that, I also wanted to add the distinctive white rand that marked high-quality shoes at the time:
Shoes with Silk and Gilt Trim, circa 1730-55
White rands around the toe of a shoe were in fashion from around 1680 to about 1760.
I was so excited the night I ordered my shoes that I stayed up appallingly late searching for just the right gilt trim! The gilt trim on extant shoes varies in width. Some is so wide it covers the whole top of the shoe. Others have trim of more modest proportions.
Shoe with Silk and Gilt Trim, circa 1730-35
This shoe has exceptionally wide trim with an abstract and floral pattern.
I considered sari borders, modern “gold” ribbon, and metallic lace, but I settled on some antique woven gilt trim with a lovely grape-vine pattern that I found on eBay. The trim on extant shoes is wrapped and folded over the point of the toe before the upper is attached to the shoe. Since my Pompadours are already assembled (and I have no desire to take them apart!), I mimicked the effect by glueing the ribbon down using E600. I used my fingers to mold the ribbon over the toe as the glue stiffened, then used scissors to snip the excess off. The glue keeps the edges from unraveling.
It would be very unusual to find a richly-decorated shoe like this without the distinctive white rand! The new Pompadour 2.0 design has one built in, but my version doesn’t have one. In order to create the look of having a rand around the front half, I used some puffy fabric paint in matte white, which imitates the look of leather with surprising accuracy.
I applied the puff paint after applying gold trim in order to hide the raw end of the ribbon, so it would look like the ribbon was attached to the sole. Just like on extant shoes, my “rand” goes from latchet seam to latchet seam. To help hold the shoe steady, I flipped a glass upside down and put the shoe over the upturned end.
The puff paint wasn’t as puffy as I hoped, but it puffed enough to look passable since the rand spends most of its time nearest the floor. Plus, it looks super classy, puffy or not!
All that’s left to do now is apply ribbon to all the edges and seam lines of the shoes!
More Ways to Decorate American Duchess Shoes: