SHOES: PLEASURE & PAIN AT THE V&A

‘InvisibleNakedVersion - Andreia Chaves - 2011 Photo by Andrew Bradley
An unmissable event   for those who like the Green Pebbles Girls have a passion for shoes which borders on the truly obsessive.   Sponsored by Clarks, Agent Provocateur and the Worshipful  Company of Cordwainers,  if there is one exhibition you visit in 2015 it has to be the V&A’s SHOES: PLEASURE & PAIN  (13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016).

Chopines, Punched kid leather over carved pine, Venice, Italy c 1600s © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A stunning collection of more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes will be on display, many for the first time, at this fabulous exhibition which aims to explore the transformative power of extreme footwear!
The exhibition will explore the ‘agonizing’ aspect of wearing shoes as well as the euphoria and obsession they can inspire.

‘Parakeet’ shoes Caroline Groves (b.1959) Photography by Dan Lowe
‘Twas the unforgettable Marilyn Monroe who once said “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot” – and indeed shoes worn by Marilyn Monroe as well as other high profile figures such as Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Hon Daphne Guinness will be shown as well as famous shoes, such as the ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes.

Red ballet shoes made for Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) in The Red Shoes (1948), silk satin, braid and leather, England Freed of London (founded in 1929),  Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Northampton Museums and Art Gallery
Footwear for men and women by 70 named designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Prada will be on display.

Historic lotus shoes made for bound feet and 16th-century chopines, silk mules with vertiginous platforms designed to lift skirts above the muddy streets, will also feature.

RiRi  Sophia Webster – Spring Summer 2013 © Image Courtesy of United Nude

Exhibition curator, Helen Persson, said:

“Shoes are one of the most telling aspects of dress. Beautiful, sculptural objects, they are also powerful indicators of gender, status, identity, taste and even sexual preference. Our choice in shoes can help project an image of who we want to be.”

Wedding toe-knob paduka, silver and gold over wood, India  1800s
Tickets £12 (concessions available). Available to book from the end of January 2015 visit vam.ac.uk/shoes or call 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies)
 The exhibition is curated by Helen Persson, Curator in the Asian department of the V&A, specialising in textiles and dress.
 The exhibition will tour to Bendigo Art Gallery (March – May 2016); Queensland Museum and Science Centre (June – October 2016) in Australia; and to Peabody Essex Museum (Nov 2016 – Feb 2017) and the Savannah College of Art and Design (March – June 2017) in the USA.


Mens’ shoes, gilded and marbled leather, Northamptonshire, England – 1925 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Evening shoe, beaded silk and leather, France  1958-60 Roger Vivier (1907–98) for Christian Dior (1905–1957).   © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

One sandal, gilded and incised leather and papyrus, Egypt  – c30 BCE-300 CE © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

NOVA Zaha Hadid for United Nude (c) Image Courtesty of United Nude