CULTURE

The Pleasure and Pain of Fabulous Footwear

Preview the new exhibition.


On the heels of the Brooklyn Museum’s stiletto-centric show last fall, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is offering its own exploration of footwear, “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.” Rather than staggering heights, the V&A’s show focuses on the unique fetishism of shoes from both a historical and a contemporary standpoint. The more than 250 pairs of shoes on display include everything from ancient Egyptian sandals to the sky-high heels worn by famed footwear-fanatics like Daphne Guinness and Sarah Jessica Parker. The show opens this weekend—run don’t walk. Here, a few highlights.

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is on view starting June 13th at the Victoria & Albert Museum, vam.ac.uk.

Photos: The Pleasure and Pain of Fabulous Footwear

Evening shoe, beaded silk and leather, France. Roger Vivier (1907–98) for Christian Dior (1905–1957), 1958-60.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

One sandal, gilded and incised leather and papyrus, Egypt, c30 BCE-300 CE.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

‘Parakeet’ shoes by Caroline Groves, England, 2014.

Photo by Dan Lowe.

Wedding toe-knob paduka, silver and gold over wood, India, 1800s.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Chopines, Punched kid leather over carved pine, Venice, Italy, c 1600s.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

InvisibleNakedVersion by Andreia Chaves, 2011.

Photo by Andrew Bradley.

Mens’ shoes, gilded and marbled leather, Northamptonshire, England, 1925.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Desert boots, light brown suede, Clarks, Great Britain, 1994.

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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