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Kinky Boots

Object Name: Boots (pair)
Date: ca. 2013
Related People:
Medium: Patent, metallic, possibly alligator, and other leathers, rubber, fabric, metal
Dimensions: Each: 34 × 11 × 8 in. (86.4 × 27.9 × 20.3 cm)
Place made:
Description: Custom-made pair of thigh-high, red and black leather men’s boots; each has 4 ¾ inch heel and 1 inch platform, paneled uppers of textured, patent, and metallic leather secured with long zipper and adorned with lace-up fronts. Label, “T. O. Dey / Custom made shoes / NEW YORK,” sewn into upper interior of each boot. Name “Kevin Kirwood” and “K Kirwood” written in ink along upper interior of each boot.
Credit Line: Gift of Kinky Boots
Object Number: 2017.6ab
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These boots are part of a costume worn by actor/dancer Kevin Smith Kirkwood in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots. Created by New Yorkers Harvey Fierstein (who wrote the book) and pop singer Cyndi Lauper (music and lyrics), Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price, a young Englishman who inherits his family’s failing shoe factory. While trying to save the business, Charlie creates stiletto heels for Lola, a local transvestite entertainer. The boots become an instant sensation, help to capture a lucrative new market for the firm, and permit Charlie to save the business while embracing tolerance for one of his neighborhood’s little recognized communities. Since Kinky Boots opened in March 2013, it has been a favorite of tourists and New Yorkers of all ages. It was awarded six Antoinette Perry (Tony) Awards, including for best musical.

Kevin Smith Kirkwood performed in the musical from 2013 to 2016 in different roles, including as a member of its chorus and as an understudy for Lola. New York custom shoe maker T. O. Dey creates a wide variety of hand-crafted shoes for performers. The firm created over 150 pairs of boots the musical's twenty lead actors and chorus members. Costume designer, Gregg Barnes, specified that the boots were to be beautiful but also strong enough to endure a grueling eight-performance-a-week schedule of dancing.