A piquant thought

Lewitt Him illustration for Panda Shoes

One of Shelf Appeal’s favourite illustration duo’s are Lewitt-Him. Featured here before and before and before that. Between them they drew chalky humorous illustrations of great wit and satisfying flummery.

On the inside back page of Vogue, October 1946 there appeared another Lewitt-Him sweetie, this an advert for Panda Footwear Co. Ltd. More specifically for their Elysee shoe.

The copy for the advert is great:

Off to enjoy a piquant meal in a Panda shoe with a piquant heel – gathering glances of admiration from ardent eyes of every nation! Never more chooseable shoes than these, with their delicate strength and delightful ease! She who has feet by Panda graced shows both prudence and fashion-taste.

Perhaps authored by Stephen Potter, who penned the inimitable Schweppes copy for the duo.

Of Panda Footwear there isn’t much to be found. Lewitt-Him did other work for them. But this illustration – the shops, the waiter – is very similar to their book work and Schweppes adverts. The slightly surreal shoe, just sitting there, is less typical.

Of the shoe name, Elysee, we could think to the French street. But then a-hunting I found a Greek restaurant by name of Elysee that has been in Percy Street, Fitzrovia since 1936. According to their website, during the 1930s and 1940s Elysee was the ‘place to party..attracting big screen stars, artists, writers, members of the British and Greek royal families.’

Here on their illustrated street is a Greek shop name. And here in their copy it mentions a ‘piquant meal.’ I so want to think that Lewitt-Him sat with Stephen Potter in the Elysee, Summer of 1946, and concocted (whilst the chef concocted their meal) the shoe name, the advert copy and dared each other to present it to their new client – Panda Footwear. All fueled by too many glasses of Ouzo.

Admittedly, it is one of Shelf Appeal’s weaknesses, looking for a story and provenance where there probably isn’t any. But then who is to say me nay on my own blog?

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