7 Pairs You NEED To See At The V&A’s New Shoes: Pleasure And Pain Exhibition

As the latest V&A exhibition gets set to explore our love/hate relationship with high heels, we take a look at the unmissable shoes on show that you simple CANNOT miss...

The V&A is appealing to shoe addicts everywhere right now by putting more than 200 pairs on display in a new exhibition called Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition, which opened on 13th June.

Ever the realists, the exhibition will not only explore the euphoria of wearing those perfect platforms, but also the very familiar agony of wearing shoes that are uncomfortable, too high or just not actually designed for real feet – We’ve all been there! 

Here’s our pick of the 7 best shoes on show…

1. The Disney Cinderella slipper by Swarovski
The ultimate fairytale shoe, Cinderella’s slipper is without a doubt one of the ultimate spots while taking in the exhibition. Created by Swarovski under the direction of Academy Award-winning costume designer, Sandy Powell for the Disney film which was out earlier this year this is one slipper we wouldn’t lose like little ol’ Cinders.

2.  Roger Vivier for Christian Dior
Credited with creating the stiletto heel – the source of much pleasure and pain in our lives – Roger Vivier collaborated with Dior from 1953-63 when the designer’s New Look brought attention to the ankle and foot. Oft called the ‘Fabergé of shoes’, Roger and Dior’s designs were only afforded by the wealthiest members of society, much like the owner of these shoes, Mrs Gloria Loel Guinness who was a member of one of Europe’s richest families.

3. Invisible Naked Version by Andreia Chaves
Designed in 2011 by Andreia Chaves, these shoes were created combining leather working techniques and advanced 3D printing technology. While the inner leather pump means that these can (and should) be worn, they’re definitely also a case of shoe-as-sculpture.

4. Parakeet shoes by Caroline Groves
This beautiful pair of bird-like sandals was custom-made for Hedvig Andersson using actual bird wings and vintage French silk by London-based traditional bespoke shoemaker, Caroline Groves.

5. Leopard Print Boots by Vivienne Westwood
Part of a unique outfit which Westwood made for her friend and customer Gerlinde Costiff, these snazzy boots were most likely worn to one of the infamous fancy dress Kinky Gerlinky club nights which Gerlinde and her husband were creators of in the 70s with a full on leopard print get-up.

6.Jimmy Choo sandal
Not the only Sex & the City shoe to feature in the exhibition, these feathered sandals made their appearance in the 1998 SATC episode, ‘I have lost my Choo’ where Carrie loses her show while racing for the Staten Island ferry. What we would do to wear these beauties!

7.Wedding paduka
A traditional wedding gift to Indian brides, these silver sandals – known as paduka – were the epitome of luxury and only one of many extravagant gifts which the bride may receive on her special day. The height of the sandals platform may seem a little excessive to us, however, they served to make the bride stand out among the crowd so she could be admired by those who attended.

The V&A’s Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition is supported by Clarks, Agent Provocateur and the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. Opens on 13th June. www.vam.ac.uk/shoes

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