Shoes: Pleasure and Pain closed its doors on Sunday, so we’ve put together a quick review for those of you who missed out on visiting the amazing exhibition.
After the incredible Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty we weren’t sure if the V&A could create an exhibition to match its success.
While Shoes: Pleasure and Pain didn’t quite have the hype and mile-long queues as Alexander McQueen, it did create an amazing experience and an interesting look into the world of shoe design.
More than 250 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from around the world were on display in the exhibition, many for the first time.
What was truly impressive was the range of designs and the 2000 years of history they covered: from the custom glass slippers that were made for Lily James to wear in Cinderella to a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to a 3D printed pair of geometric heels.
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.”
The exhibiton was set over two floors with a luxurious, boudoir design in the ground floor gallery which examined three themes: transformation, status and seduction.
The laboratory style setting of the first floor gallery was dedicated to dissecting the processes involved in designing and creating footwear, laying out the story from concept to final shoe.
One of our favourite areas of the exhibition was the last section which looked at shoes as commodities and collectibles.
It included highlights of six different collections: two historic collections, a high end collector, a high street collector, a ‘sneaker head’ and a pair of shoes from Imelda Marcos’ collection.
Although quite crowded at some parts, we really enjoyed exploring the exhibition and can’t wait to see what the V&A has in store for us next!
Photo credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London