Inside the V&A’s Shoes: Pleasure and Pain Exhibition

As another year is almost over, we start looking forward to the next and wondering what fashionable treats are in store for us. A definite must for 2015 is the V&A’s Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition that is set to run from 13 June 2015 through 31 January 2016.


Explore the transformative power of extreme footwear in our summer 2015 fashion exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain. You’ll see over 200 pairs on display, from an Ancient Egyptian Sandal and 16th century chopines to the famous 1948 ‘The Red Shoes’ ballet slippers and 3D printed designs. Read more at and tell us which shoes you are obsessed with… Supported by @Clarksshoes, @themissap and the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers High & Mighty shoot, American Vogue, February 1995 (model: Nadja Auermann) Dolce & Gabbana suit, 1995 © Estate of Helmut Newton / Maconochie Photography #Fashion #summer #exhibition #vamuseum #shoes #footwear #vamShoes

A photo posted by Victoria and Albert Museum (@vamuseum) on

It’s supported by British shoe retailer Clarks, Agent Provocateur and perhaps one that you’ll be less familiar with, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, who provide much-needed bursaries to enable talent to become top shoe designers.

We’ve known that the exhibition was in the pipeline for a little while, but it’s only this week that we’ve been treated to more of an insight of what exactly it will feature. The aim of the exhibition is to explore the obsession with footwear and why we’ll squeeze our tootsies into the most crippling of pairs in the name of fashion. So expect to see quite a few skyscrapers on display.

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Image: V&A

The exhibition will feature over 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from around the world, spanning from pure gold leaf covered ancient Egyptian sandals to 3-D printed pieces like Andreia Chaves’ Invisible Naked shoes above. There will also, of course, be a few pairs thrown in from famous individuals’ wardrobes, including some that have never been showcased before.

Expect shoes worn by or associated with Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daphne Guinness, along with that standout pair of infamous Vivienne Westwood blue platforms donned by none other than Naomi Campbell in the 90s when she took that unfortunate catwalk tumble.

Tickets will be available to buy for £12 at the end of January at the V&A. We could think of many worse ways to spend an afternoon than being surround by beautiful shoes from the likes of Alexander McQueen and Sophia Webster.