V&A Shoes: Pleasure & Pain

The transformative power of extreme footwear will be explored in the V&A’s summer 2015 fashion exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain. Sponsored by Clarks and supported by Agent Provocateur, more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from around the world will be on display. The exhibition will explore the sometimes agonizing aspect of wearing shoes as well as the euphoria and obsession they can inspire.

V&A the glamour of italian fashion shoesExpect an exceptional range of shoes from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf originating from ancient Egypt to futuristic looking shoes created using 3D print, and even contemporary trainers. All Curated by Helen Person. The celebrity aspect is also explored with shoes worn by or associated with high profile figures including Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Hon Daphne Guinness, set to be included in the retrospective.

 “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.”

Helen Person.

The exhibition will examine three themes: transformation, status and seduction.   ‘Transformation’ will present shoes that are the things of myth and legend, opening with different cultural interpretations of the Cinderella story from across the globe. ‘Status’ will reveal how impractical shoes have been worn to represent privileged and leisurely lifestyles.  Status will also demonstrate how historically shoe fashions originated from the European royal courts, while today the focus has shifted to famous shoe designers, including Alexander McQueen and Sophia Webster. Within ‘Seduction’, the shoes represent an expression of sexual fetishism, or a passive source of pleasure.

Tickets will be available to book in January.