I visited the V&A today to go and see the exhibition on shoes. I previously visited this exhibition in September just because I wanted to see it. This time it was for research purposes. As we are not allowed to take pictures (and I respected that rule) I have sourced pictures from the internet. This meant that I had to concentrate more on the curation and composition of the exhibition which in fact was a good thing. Thankfully going at 16:00 on New Year’s Day somewhat ensured that it was not as busy as when I visited last time on a Saturday morning 🙂
The exhibition was broken up into several sections. I was interested in the way in which the shoes were presented changed e.g. different backgrounds/backdrops (red/pink, blue, purple), pedestals (tubes, cubes, steps, suspended shelves), mirrors and the way in which the shoes were lit (see below). Shoes for both genders were incorporated, but unsurprisingly there were many more women’s shoes than there were for men. For the more delicate shoes, temperatures were measured. The lighting was dark for main lower exhibition so that the shoes could be shown in all their glory.
The exhibition covered how shoes have played fairy tale role and been part of fairy tales – Cinderella and David Beckham’s football boots (the football fairy tale role of rags to riches); how shoes can be an integral part of sex, sexuality, eroticism and fetishism.
We had flashes of Blahnik, Choo, Westwood, Chanel, Ferragamo, Cardin, Prada and McQueen to name a few well known designers as well shoes from ages past… shoes for bound feet, hammans, and geishas.
The exhibition also showed how shoes are made, with videos demonstrating the process, when done by hand. What I liked about the exhibition was the wide selection of shoes presented from across a range of historical periods and from different countries. Unsurprisingly there were more shoes from the 1800′s onwards, but that is more about preservation than anything else. I could post more pictures, but that is not the point of this post – the exhibition runs to the end of this month, so go and see it if you can. It’s worth the exhibition fee.