Kork-Ease platform shoes -- particularly the iconic Ava style -- became wildly popular in the United States in the 1960s, "at the time when everything was colliding in this country," explains Kathy Teter, the event's media representative. "It was the beginning of the youth cultural movement, and everything was happening at the same time."
And the Ava allowed young women a freedom of movement that they'd never had before.
"This was also at a time when women were gaining their independence," notes Teter, "so the actual height of the shoe was a perceived thing for the women. It went along with the ideology of the day and everybody finding their own sense of individualism and artistic freedom and creative self-expression. And so from a perception standpoint, that shoe gave her a sense of power because it elevated her. Women could walk the streets of New York and go wherever they wanted to go in this shoe."
And even as there was a cultural revolution during the Kork-Ease craze in the '60s, the way we shop for clothes was also changing forever. "There were a couple of blocks in London in the early 1960s, on Abington Road and Carnegie Street, and in the early '60s, that area was where all the artists and musicians and artsy designers and hip youths were hanging out," Teter explains. "Biba on Abington Road was one of the first boutiques ever to be created. Before then, the only place that a woman could shop was a department store. Couture originated in Europe, and then the high-end designers would bring their collections to the U.S. to counters at the department store." Stores would then create mass versions of some of the high-fashion designs for consumption by the average American.
But Biba changed all of that. "Biba was one of the first stores ever to take in looks from small, unknown, maverick designers of the time," Teter says. "And all of a sudden, you started seeing boutique stores lining the streets of London. They paved the way for independent boutique retailing and started a whole shopping revolution."
The Kork-Ease boutique was inspired by Biba, and Teter describes the space as "very lounge-y" with gold lame, mod wallpaper and custom shelving to display the fall 2014 Kork-Ease line -- which has stayed very true to its simple, natural origins that first put it on the map. You can find it through the month of November at Buffalo Exchange, which will host a mod party on Saturday, November 15 to celebrate the pop-up shop.
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