Presenting a remarkable 2000-year history of shoes that journeys from gold leaf Ancient Egyptian sandals to cutting edge 3D printed 21st century creations, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain promises a revelatory examination of humanity’s complicated and frequently rather painful relationship with footwear.
Showcasing the most extreme examples of shoes through the ages, this fabulous V&A show is divided into three sections: Transformation, Status and Seduction. Transformation explores the Cinderella-esque transformative fantasy of the shoe, Status provides examples of the shoe as an impractical and uncomfortable symbol of privilege and Seduction reveals the shoe as a fetishised object of empowerment. The first-floor ‘laboratory’ section provides an intriguing insight into the process involved in designing and making footwear.
Iconic shoes on show include designs worn by Queen Victoria and Marilyn Monroe along with lasts created by H. & M. Rayne for Princess Diana
and some of history’s most curious and fascinating footwear including foot-binding lotus shoes and 16th-century chopines.