The Ruby Slippers Across Time, Space and Media

  • Elena Siemens University of Alberta


This article discusses representations of Dorothy’s magical shoes in diverse media—from the original text by L. Frank Baum (1900) to the classic MGM film (1939) to Vogue’s 2005 fashion shoot by Annie Leibovitz. According to Salman Rushdie, “the real secret of the ruby slippers is not that ‘there’s no place like home’, but rather that there is no longer any such place as home.” Canadian designer John Fluevog shares this point of view, as exemplified most prominently by The Cosmos: Meteor shoes (2016), which celebrate the road as the destination itself. I compare Fluevog to Gucci’s flamboyant Star Trek-inspired campaign GucciandBeyond (2017), as well as the brand’s more recent Utopian Fantasy campaign (2018). The essay cites, among others, Alain de Botton and Andy Warhol, both professing their fascination with air travel. Additional critical sources include Dick Hebdige’s pioneering work on style subcultures, and MOMA’s recent volume on Fashion Is. The essay’s concluding sections discusses commercial appropriation of fashion, as well as fashion’s open-ended definition.

Author Biography

Elena Siemens, University of Alberta

Elena Siemens is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta. Her research and teaching address Visual Culture, Urban Spaces, Performance, Fashion Media, Creative Non-Fiction, and Critical Theory. Her recent publications include Street Fashion Moscow (2017), Theatre in Passing 2: Searching for New Amsterdam(2015), and edited collections on Subjective Fashion(2017) and Stirred Memories and Dreams(2016). Her recent curated student exhibits include Café Counterculture (2018), Revolution 100(2017), andFashion Lounge(2016). Currently, she is working on her next exhibit dealing with travel and migration, writing a conference paper for a theatre translation conference in Estonia, and plotting a new book entitled Staging Fashion.

How to Cite
SiemensE. (2018). The Ruby Slippers Across Time, Space and Media. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 9(2), 15-23.