This June, The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle hosts Shoes: Pleasure and Pain – an exhibition featuring more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes by 70 designers.
The Museum, which is still revelling in the success of its Yves Saint Laurent display last year, is the only UK venue outside London that will stage the exhibition, organised by the V&A. Another great coup for the Museum, if we don’t say so ourselves!
The collection centres on the themes of transformation, status, seduction, creation and obsession; and explores the design, functionality and cultural significance of shoes in our lives throughout the ages.
Fashion statement, object of desire, power symbol, fetish – Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is more than just a beautifully curated collection; it also spotlights our complex relationship with shoes, which are, fundamentally, borne out of necessity.
What we’re rather excited about is the fantasy footwear that will be on display, including the Swarovski crystal Cinderella slipper created for the 2015 Disney movie. And we think that Sex & the City fans will be squealing with delight at the prospect of seeing Carrie Bradshaw’s much-coveted feathered Jimmy Choos.
Other highlights include David Beckham’s Adidas ‘Brooklyn’ football boots from the early 2000s, and popstrel Kylie Minogue’s ‘Tail Light’ sandals.
The exhibition also includes a pair of leather and suede platform heeled sandals worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who was patron of The Bowes Museum Friends for 40 years until her death in 2002.
The agony and the ecstasy
It’s not all about the modern-day glitz, glamour and exquisite embellishments; the show also spotlights some lesser known, ordinary day-to-day shoes from the past 2000 years.
This includes the tiny and excruciatingly painful Chinese Lotus shoes at just 7½ cm long, made for bound feet, and chopines – a type of platform shoe popular in continental Europe from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
Here Design, whose client list includes the V&A, Fortnum & Mason and Nigella Lawson, will design the exhibition at The Bowes Museum. Joanna Hashagen, the Museum’s Keeper of Fashion & Textiles, comments: “They are high end London designers, and we are working with them to produce what we believe will be a fabulous interpretation of this subject.”
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain opens on Saturday 11 June and runs until Sunday 9 October 2016. For tickets, visit www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk.
Images: Courtesy of The Bowes Museum