The thing about shoes is, it doesn’t matter how tall, short, chubby or fat we are, we can all wear shoes – they don’t discriminate. We might even be willing to squeeze and squish our toes because we can’t resist wearing the perfect pair of high heels. Shoes have the power to make us feel stronger, taller, sexier, prettier or more powerful – they can do just about anything for us. Shoes are magical, there are The Red Shoes in Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, then there are the urban legend Mary Jane Manolo Blahnik’s made famous in Sex in the City and of course there is Cinderella‘s glass slipper, all magical in their own right. The exhibition has over 200 pairs of shoes from ancient shoes including Chinese foot binding slippers to modern shoes including the infamous Westwood shoes that Naomi Campbell tumbled over in. At Pleasure & Pain we see our lives and our history displayed in footwear. Each pair of shoes tells its own story from the fairy tales of shoes, shoes of Seduction, statement “All Eyes on Me” shoes, Explore and Experiment shoes and there is also a selection of fashion films including interviews with Mr Hare, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, plus there’s a film of famous shoes in cinema. It’s a beautifully curated exhibition that takes you on a journey, feet may be for walking but shoes can take you to new heights!
Pleasure and Pain is on until January 31, 2016 at the V&A
Above are the red ballet shoes, from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Red Shoes. These ballet shoes were made in 1948 by Freed of London in silk satin and leather for Maria Shearer performing in The Red Shoes.