Shoes: pleasure and pain

V&A museum holds an exhibition, which is very exciting for women, as it is all about shoes! The exhibition is called “Shoes: pleasure and pain” and we know a lot about how hills are painful. The show started in June and is still on until 31st of January. Expect to see 200 pairs of the most extreme shows from the last 2000 years.

The exhibition is held in trendy and fashionable space with velvet curtains, the lights are dimmed and the atmosphere is intimate. The show is held over two floors: different “chapters” divide first floor and second floor has projections of shoe making on the wall. You can also feel leather and compare textures. The sound effect also enhances the experience: you can hear clicking shoes, like someone is walking in high heals.

The take on the subject is unusual: shoes are looked at as symbols and what they represent rather than footwear. Shoes are seen as transformation, objects of desire, position in society, status, sexual objects and means for self-expression.

The first idea is transformation: shoes can completely change the person’s life. There are some iconic pairs of shoes, like Cinderella crystal shoe. On the screen you can see fragments from famous movies and TV series with iconic shoes, for example, we can see how Mr. Big proposes to Carrie with a Manolo Blahnik blue shoe. In fact, they can play all episodes of Sex and the City because the main character is obsessed with shoes!

The second idea is that shoes are associated with status: like nowadays red sole of Louboutins signifies wealth and status in the society.

Another idea is that shoes determine they way people move and high heels make a woman more elegant and graceful.

Shoes can also be seen as sexual thing and be perceived as means of seduction. Here comes “50 shades of grey”. There is a pair of shoes on display that was designed to support dominant-submissive relationships: the heel is designed in a way that it is not possible to walk in these shoes, so the women who is wearing it has to crawl.

It also emphasized that shoes are work of art ‘ it is a combination of design, creation and engineering. It is also innovation – we can see 3D printed shoes on display.

On the second floor there is a description of shoe making as well as short interviews with famous designers such as Manolo Blahnik, Sandra Choi – Jimmy Choo designer and Christian Louboutin. The set up is interesting and engaging: the screen is surrounded by hundreds of shoe boxes. It is interesting how they dearly talk about what they do and how it can be challenging yet so interesting and inspiring.

This is exhibition may not sound particularly engaging, especially men who do not share women obsession with shoes (how 10 pairs can be enough?), but it is defiantly worth going!

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