You may have heard that laughter is therapeutic but did you know that trying on clown shoes is too? “I can’t tell you how much trying on a pair relieves stress and blood pressure. People really love it,” says Darrell Dean, a dealer of antiques and decorative arts in Kensington, Maryland, who collects clown shoes. “I have had probably 50 to 60 pair, but have regrettably had to sell some as this is my business. But there are always more to come,” he adds. A selection is on display online and at 1stdibs Gallery at the New York Design Center (200 Lexington Avenue, 10th floor), where you can try them on.
Dean says the most common question he gets is “Where did you get all these clown shoes?” His answer: “A clown goes out of business everyday and I get their shoes.” He started about six years ago and generally collects one pair at a time but has occasionally gotten three to four pair from the same retiring clown. There is a wonderful diversity to the shoes, from colorfully decorated ones with bulbous toe caps to long, narrow flap shoes that comically slap the floor to a jester’s curly toed pair bedizened with bells.
“I was never really interested in the remaining clown outfit or even the history of the clown or previous owner,” Dean tells ATZ. “To me the worn and weathered clown shoes speak for themselves and tell an interesting story and as a large group or collection are impressive. Most people are very happy to see and touch clown shoes, and trying on a pair will change your life for sure.”
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