Friday, January 23, 2009

Pumped on Bolles Soles

Among the many qualities that attract people to the work of Enoch Bolles is the expert attention and detail he lavished on his fashionably attired girls. Years before he became known as a magazine cover illustrator for the likes of Judge, Snappy Stories and Film Fun, Bolles worked as a fashion illustrator. The example below is one of his fashion cards from the early 1910s. It's clear that the lessons learned from this work were not forgotten and Bolles discerning eye for fashion served him well throughout his career, and continues to this day to delight his many fans. You might think that the odd headpiece our Film Fun model is wearing spoils the ensemble, but that strange hat became der rigeur in 1938, and I recall something about how the style (surgarloaf?) became popularized by a hat that appeared in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (surely not Dopey's). Here's another version I found on the web called the 5:00 o'clock hat:

But as hard as Bolles worked on dresses and costumes he really put his heart into shoes. I have to doubt whether there has ever been another pinup or fashion illustrator as fixated with getting the perfect shoe as Bolles. Many in fact, loathed drawing feet. George Petty was so vexed by them that he ended up shoeing his girls in ballet slippers, most absurdly in his Rigid Tool calendars. Now it should be added that there is no evidence that Bolles had a foot or shoe fetish, whereas I was once told by the late Reid Austin, the art editor at Playboy who talked Hefner into giving Alberto Vargas a shot and starting a new era of pinup, that Vargas had a shoe fetish (Alas, I can't recall the specifics of how it originated). But we are venturing into another topic that I'll save for the future as I have read one letter by Enoch that makes me think he did have a particularly favored part of the female anatomy, though I wouldn't call it a fetish. So for now I leave you with a small montage of Bolles footwear.

Addendum: I've resized this so it can be enlarged.


Li-An said...

Nice shoes :-)

Jack R said...

Aren't they though. I'm thinking...of trying to do a montage of every cover where you can see the shoes...someday.

Brian Churilla said...

Just discovered this blog, and it's really, really great. See? TWO "really's". That's extra fancy. Ahem.

Jack R said...

Hi Brian I'm Really, really (deep breath), REALLY glad you're here. Did you notice my repetitive title for today's blog?