Less a historical review, the V&A have got together dreams and fantasies in footwear from many countries across the centuries. Although shoes in museums often draw the eye, the V&A are showing what might be called extreme versions or treasures of each type. Some are delightful and wearable now, while others truly defy the obvious laws of physics. It seems there is nothing new in shoes - platforms? The Venetians got to a vertiginous 50cm. Heel-less constructions? Marvellous constructs pre-date current on-trend boots by decades. Red soles - done before. Only the impossibly tiny slippers made for bound feet have no place in modern life - thankfully such excruciating and debilitating fashions have gone, although some porn-chic items have alternative purposes.
As well as the treasures, the embroidered and bejewelled shoes, the viewer can't help wondering how those shoes would feel to wear, and often, just how some shoes could possibly worn at all, let alone walk in. The point, of course, is that shoes are not always for such practical purposes as walking, and high status shoes often left the walking to others, while the wearers tottered in these fabulous creations.
Images and credits coming soon - camera misbehaving.
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
Victoria & Albert Museum
1st April - 19th July 2015
10th June 2015