Anyone who’s experienced the simultaneous euphoria of buying a new pair of shoes and the pain that wearing them causes, will be able to identify with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Summer 2015 exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.
More than 200 pairs of shoes from around the world will be displayed, with designers Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Prada all represented. The footwear of high profile figures including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, and self-proclaimed shoe queen Sarah Jessica Parker will be on show too — as well as shoes that are stars in their own right, such as the ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes.
The oldest shoe in the collection dates back to Ancient Egypt, whilst futuristic designs make with 3D printing techniques are also thrown into the mix.
The exhibition is split across two floors — the lower one covers themes of transformation, status and seduction. Here, the myths and legends behind shoes, the bizarre correlation that impractical shoes are often worn by people of a high status, and shoes as an object of fetishism are all explored.
The upper floor of the exhibition looks at the practical side of shoe-making; films and animations give an insight into the many stages that go into producing what we wear on our feet, and there’s a chance to see the shoe lasts (foot moulds on which a shoe is made) designed specifically for Princess Diana.
The exhibition is sponsored by Clarks, and supported by Agent Provocateur and The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers — one of the oldest livery companies in the City of London.
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain runs from 13 June 2015 – 31 January 2016. Tickets are £12 (concessions available), available to book from the end of January 2015.