V&A hosts “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain” launch party

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On Wednesday, the Victoria & Albert Museum hosted the opening party for its latest exhibition, “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain”. At the event, guests equally spent their time admiring the displays, whilst also surveying the chosen footwear of the other attendees. Guests included Sandra Choi, Patrick Cox, Elizabeth Hurley, Rupert Sanderson, Angela Scanlon, and Ellen von Unwerth.

According to WWD, Charlotte Dellal, founder and designer of Charlotte Olympia, said, “I saw one woman wearing two different shoes because she couldn’t decide which pair to wear.” Dellal also struggled to decide, but she settled on a pair of gold sculptural heels from her spring/summer 2012 collection.

Helen Persson, the exhibition’s curator, also had great difficulty selecting a pair, but eventually chose some Gina pumps embellished with blue Swarovski crystals.

The curator possesses a surprisingly modest collection of shoes – around 40 pairs, but was inspired by society’s obsession with shoes for the exhibition, “…I wanted to go into why are we who we are in shoes? And so often they are not really made for our feet, which are actually quite wide. Fashion is a different thing,” explained Persson, according to Vogue.co.uk.

On the day of the event, Persson elaborated, “Throughout centuries and across cultures, impractical footwear, both for men and women, has denoted privilege and a leisurely lifestyle through design, material, constructions and decoration, making them unsuitable for manual labour – even for walking.”

Spread out over two floors, the exhibition features over 250 pairs of shoes, spanning across 2,000 years. The shoes surface from around 20 different countries, from approximately 70 different designers – past and present. The exhibition is divided into sections, characterised by their titles; “Seduction”, “Movement”, “Follow Me”, and “High Society”. It also highlights the design process of footwear, and features films shown throughout, placing the shoes into a cultural context.

Sponsored by Clarks and supported by Agent Provocateur, the exhibition runs from 13th June until 31st July at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. To find out more, check out the review of the exhibition in our blog.

Pictured are Caroline Groves’ “Parakeet” shoes, photographed by Dan Lowe for the V&A.

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Written by Katherine Beckwith

Katherine is a History of Art student with a keen interest in the history of fashion. Having a previous artistic education, Katherine also has a watchful eye for the emerging trends in modern fashion.

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