Sneakers to stilettos, cowboy boots to Converse: 40 years of JUNOs kicks
From sneakers to stilettos, cowboy boots to Converse, Canadian musicians sure have interesting kicks.
In “JUNO Sole: Celebrating 40 Years of the JUNO Awards,” an exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, over 40 pairs of shoes worn by past and present JUNO Award nominees and winners, are on display, ranging from Sarah McLachlan’s gold ballet flats to Anne Murray’s Day-Glo orange high top sneakers from the ‘80s.
“You might think shoes are just shoes, but each individual shoe choice really does reflect something about the individual who wears them,” says Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator at the museum.
“Because fashion and music are so intimately connected, it seemed like a perfect fit to get the shoes of these 40-plus world-recognized musicians all together.”
Some of the shoes in the exhibit are fairly understated, like the scuffed pair of black oxfords of the late celebrated pianist, Glenn Gould, or the Converse worn by legendary rocker Geddy Lee of Rush. Rocker Sam Roberts’ worn out brown shoes are even covered in mud.
Underneath world-renowned jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson’s oxfords, the heel is worn from where he used the pedal and the ball of the shoe is worn through where he tapped out the beat.
These worn-in utilitarian shoes are in stark contract with R&B singer Jully Black’s gold and strappy Manolo Blahniks that she wore at the 2008 JUNO Awards broadcast in Calgary where she won an award, and the thigh high black patent leather boots worn by pop-star Nelly Furtado at the 2007 JUNO Awards where she was the host.
“These shoes were worn by performers for performing, so they become a part of (one’s) costume,” explains Semmelhack.
“Every one of us engages in constructing our costume on a daily basis – we wake up in the morning, we look in our closet and we decide how we’re going to construct ourselves to be presented to the world. And these performers do that even more consciously. Looking at the shoes, the musicians’ feet become central to their story.”
In addition to the flashy, strappy shoes, there are also a lot of runners, from Drake’s pair of New Balance shoes to K’naan’s blue and black high tops to Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8erBoi” black low top Converse.
“So many of (the musicians) these days are running around on stage in sneakers, so we’re seeing an issue of practicality and comfort,” says Semmelhack.
And as of Monday March 14, there’ll be another pair of sneaks to add to the collection: a highly coveted pair of red high tops that belong to the one and only teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.
The exhibit, curated by Sarah Beam-Borg, is on till November 30, 2011.
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca and covering So You Think You Can Dance Canada since 2008. In addition to interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, Lindsay’s highlights include criss-crossing Canada on four SYTYCDC audition tours and covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!