It has been five years in the making, but the V&A’s long awaited Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition launched on Saturday, much to the delight of shoe fanatics everywhere.
Presenting more than 250 pairs of shoes ranging from pure gold leaf sandals originating from ancient Egypt, to today’s modern classics from the likes of Christian Louboutin, this exhibition outlines both the ‘pleasure’ shoes can bring us, but also the ‘pain’…
Shoes have become increasingly prominent in the last five years, firstly with the opening of Selfridges highly luxurious Shoe Galleries in Sept 2010; showcasing 6 galleries and 11 boutiques modelled on the designers own homes - Tamar Mellon’s apartment for Jimmy Choo, and the Repetto space complete with theatrical red velvet curtains and chandeliers. This has recently been surpassed by Harrods Shoe Heaven opening in September 2014; now the largest luxury shoe destination in the world with 17 interconnected boutiques.
With Christian Louboutin quoting “A shoe is not only a design, but it's a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you're going to move is quite dictated by your shoes.” We are becoming more and more fascinated and preoccupied with ‘who is wearing what, where!’
Helen Persson the exhibitions curator has said that "The more uncomfortable and impractical the shoe, the higher the status of the wearer." And on this note, one of the most famous items of footwear on display will be Naomi Campbell’s infamous Vivienne Westwood mock–crocodile shoes, whose 9 inch heels caused the supermodel to dramatically tumble in 1993 on the catwalk in front of the world's press. Other highlights include be a pair of Marilyn Monroe’s court shoes with her toe prints still visible, a pair of Queen Victoria’s pumps, and one of Lady Gaga’s show stopping styles.
The exhibition features many historic images as well as generation defining movie clips, such as when Mr Big proposes to Carrie with the famous blue bejewelled Manolo Blahnik shoe in the Sex and The City movie.
So with so many pieces of shoe history on display, this surely will be on many peoples ‘to do lists’ in the coming weeks.
Shoes: Pleasure & Pain, sponsored by Clarks runs from June 13 2015 to January 31 2016.