Victoria & Albert Museum prepares exhibition on the most extreme shoes

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Victoria & Albert Museum prepares exhibition on the most extreme shoes
Caroline Groves (b.1959) ‘Parakeet’ shoes Leather, silk satin, solid silver talons and heel tips, and feathers England, 2014. Photography by Dan Lowe / Victoria & Albert Museum

We’ve all seen at least a few ladies in crazy high heels in our time. But you may have no idea on how many extreme high heels and footware there is. Until now.

The Victoria & Albert Museum prepares exhibition on the most extreme shoes that will start from June 13th 2015 and it will continue until January 31st 2016. The exhibition which is called Shoes: Pleasure & Pain, will look at the extremes of footwear and will present around 200 pairs of shoes ranging from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate designs by contemporary makers.

Roger Vivier (1907—98) for Christian Dior (1905—57) Evening shoes Beaded silk and leather France, 1958—60 V&A: T.149+A—1974. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

“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,” says exhibition curator Helen Persson in front of FootwearNews.

The work of 70 designers, from Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo to Christian Louboutin and Roger Vivier, will be on display, while newer names, like Sophia Webster, will also be in the spotlight.

T.232:4& 6-2002, Gerlinde Costiff’s Vivienne Westwood Leopard Print Boots ©Victoria and Albert Museum

Shoes worn by or associated with celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daphne Guinness, will be part of the exhibition.

There will also be sketches and materials and other shoe parts that will show you the process of creating a pair of shoes form the design up to the actual fabrication.

Atalanta Weller (b.1978) ‘Scotty’ boots Leather and polyurethane Designed in England, made in Portugal, 2010 V&A: T.94:1+2—2011. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The exhibit will have several themes. “Transformation” will present shoes that explore concepts of myth and legend, opening with different cultural interpretations of the Cinderella story from across the globe. “Status” will take a look at impractical shoes that have been worn to represent privileged and leisurely lifestyles — their design, shape and material can often make them unsuitable for walking. “Seduction” highlights shoes that express sexual empowerment or pleasure.

And that’s only on the first floor. What is on the second floor remains a surprise.

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