Explore the creativity of footwear from around the globe through more than 300 pairs of shoes, ranging from elaborate vintage designs to those by contemporary makers. This exhibition considers the cultural significance and transformative capacity of shoes and examines the latest developments in footwear technology creating the possibility of ever higher heels and dramatic shapes. Examples from famous shoe collectors are shown alongside a dazzling range of historic shoes, many of which have not been displayed before. The exhibition is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Shoes: Pleasure & Pain, embraces both men’s and women’s footwear, from the Chinese lotus shoe to laser-printed contemporary shoes-as-sculpture,, considering the cultural significance of shoes—the source of their allure, how they are made, and the people who buy and wear them. Beautiful, sculptural objects, shoes are powerful indicators of gender, status, identity, taste, and even sexual preference. Our choice in shoes can be aspirational, even fantastical—and can project an image not just of who we are, but of who we want to be. Feet are made for walking, but shoes may not be. Featuring extensive new photography, this is a beautiful and authoritative guide to the history and culture of footwear. Iconic creations by celebrated designers sit alongside masterpieces by unknown craftsmen. Contributors from a wide range of disciplines consider subjects as diverse as ballet slippers and fetishism, shoes and ceramics, traditional shoemaking, and the obsessive shoe collector. The book also includes a comprehensive discussion of the history of shoe design, and case studies including Marie Antoinette’s shoe collection and the footwear of the Maharajas.