The J.W. Anderson Shoe Influenced by Modernist Sculpture

Styling by Rebecca Perlmutar

Channel Barbara Hepworth this spring in a pair of polished cylindrical heels worthy of a place in art history

TextHannah TindlePhotographyDavid AbrahamsPhotographic EditorHolly Hay

White cylinder heel ballet shoe, J.W. Anderson 

100% nappa leather, black tie fastening, silver-tone cylinder heel


After the breakdown of their respective first marriages, Barbara Hepworth took up residence with painter Ben Nicholson in 1932. For a brief period of time afterwards, prior to their own nuptials, the two artists made work in the same studio, developing a collaborative way of practising. The pair also spent periods of time travelling throughout Europe, where they visited the studios of Picasso, Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp. 

Much like the influence that Hepworth and Nicholson garnered from each other – and from the eminent list of Modernist artists they met during their Parisian excursions – J.W. Anderson celebrates the impact of Modernist art and craft in his own designs with a particular reverence. Having just curated an exhibition titled Disobedient Bodies  at the Hepworth Wakefield (the museum founded in homage to Barbara) it also seems fitting that Anderson utilised the influence of Hepworth’s sculptural punctured forms in a pair of cylinder heel ballet shoes this season. They are certainly worthy of placement on a plinth in a museum – or at least, pride of place on a shoe-rack.


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