Review of the V&A’s Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

If didn’t possess a love for Manolos prior to whizzing round the V&A’s latest fashion-focused exhibition entitled Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, then you will after. Equisite in every possible way, Manolo Blahnik’s expertly crafted shoes are the real show-stoppers in my eyes. Slender heeled, products of an eccentric and highly-creative mind (one that often works in the middle of the night apparently), clad in the most delicious silks, and adorned with a tasteful spattering of sparkle they are just magical.

So too though are many of the other designs on show at the exhibition – a retrospective of shoes, and their meaning, over the years. The tightly laced Victorian boots of the ‘Naughty 1890’s’ were particular favourites, along with the kinky clear-soled Louboutins, the embellished mules and courts from pre-revolutionary France, and the towering Vivienne Westwood laced platforms that were responsible for Naomi Campbell’s momentous tumble. For shoe-lovers or anyone with a keen eye for details this exhibition will keep you busy for an hour or so on a rainy afternoon. I wouldn’t, however, make a special trip especially to see it, and neither would I choose it over Savage Beauty – the Alexander McQueen exhibition which is still currently open. In comparison, it lacked substance and depth and the blurbs were a bit basic, predictable and repetitive.

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