Printed in 1980, Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II. 255) is a signed screen print by Andy Warhol in black and white with diamond dust. The monochrome print depicts a seemingly haphazard arrangement of shoes. The inverted focus on highlights and shadows means the white shoes stand out against the black background. The shoes seem like they have been carelessly dropped on the floor, meaning all angles of the high heels are depicted in the composition.
Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II. 255) is part of the Diamond Dust Shoes series. In this series Warhol returns to his roots as a commercial fashion illustrator. Warhol started his artistic career in New York in the 1950s as a freelance commercial illustrator for fashion magazines such as Glamour, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. He often drew shoes for these magazines and became renowned for his excellent draughtsmanship and experimentation with colour and composition. 30 years later, Warhol returns to the subject of shoes in this series which celebrates elegance, glamour and fashion.
The print was commissioned by fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, who was also a close friend of Warhol’s. Upon receiving a box of shoes, Warhol emptied the contents onto the floor of his studio and took Polaroids of the subsequent spontaneous still life. These images became the basis of the Diamond Dust Shoes series. Returning to the familiar subject matter in this series highlights Warhol’s creativity and inventiveness as the shoes are recast in a distinctly late 20th century hue. The colourful, blotted line illustrations of shoes from the 1950s are replaced by these chaotic, less defined depictions.