The following post was contributed by Anita Webster.
Peter Fox has spent a lifetime looking at the ground.
â€œI started out in linoleum â€“ I looked at flooring where ever I went. Then I moved into shoes and my gaze moved up about an inch.â€
Peter is the Fox of Fox & Fluevog, the wackier-than-thou shoe emporium born in Gastown in the early 1970s. He spoke at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) last night as part of the exhibit Fox, Fluevog & Friends, an entrancing look at the lives of these Vancouver-based gods to the well-shod.
MOV’s Joan Seidl had to coax the story out of the self-effacing Fox, but we did find out he was working at Harrod’s in London in the ’50s when he was offered a job at Evans-Sheppard, a downtown Vancouver shoe store. He didn’t know where Vancouver was but over he came, family in tow.
Years later he took his aunt’s suggestion that he open his own store. He borrowed money from a friend at church on the condition the friend’s son â€“ one John Fluevog â€“ be part of it. So began the legend that is Fox & Fluevog.
(Fox intimated that there was talk of calling the store ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet’. Hey, it might have flown! BTW, it’s a quote from the Bible).
Through the ’70s Fox & Fluevog presented Vancouverites and the fashion-forward with high-as-you-dare platforms and clogs that no Dutchman would recognize. In the early ’80s the partners went their own ways, Fluevog to pause then re-open stores in several fashion capitals and Fox to SoHo where he set up business and moved into satin shoes â€“ especially a bridal line.
Fox was adept at going where the others weren’t. He told us for inspiration he’d examine what was out there, find what was missing, then fill in those holes. He took cues from galleries and art around him – for example a King Tut shoe came after he saw that exhibit.
Toward the end of the evening I noticed a loyal customer showing Fox a bag full of his shoes she’d brought along and I saw something I’d never seen before – a shoe-signing.
Fox, Fluevog & Friends runs until September 26th at the MOV.