JpegFashion Fabulous was thrilled to be invited by Olivia Colling, Head of Press at The Victoria and Albert Museum, to a preview of the new exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, on 10th June. This very well curated exhibition explores the power of extreme footwear with more than 250 pairs spanning over 2000 years and is derived from the V&A’s unrivalled shoe collection, collected shoes from abroad never ever seen before in the UK, fashion historical shoes, famous ones from the world of cinema and, well, also some of the most curious shoes you’ll probably ever see in your life!

Here’s a collection of amazing lace-up shoes. Amongst them you’ll see the white stiletto shoes worn by Marilyn Monroe.

JpegCurator Helen Persson, true shoelover herself, opted for a narrative based on themes rather than chronology and we thought the approach worked well as it explains a lot about the thinking behind how fashion shoe design came about. It all begins with the Transformation installation featuring stories and fairy tales passed down through generations where shoes play a focal point. The most famous of course is the Cinderella Glass Slipper (see above)

Jpeg… and also The Red Shoes made by ballet shoemaker Freeds of London for the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale  story that was made into a film. The installation includes how modern day designers have created iconic pairs that transform the appearance and attractiveness of the wearer. In modern times is the Sex & The City shoes, black patent Mary Janes, by Manolo Blahnik worn by actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

JpegWithin the “Seduction” section there are porn chic lace-up boots from the 1890 (see above). Extreme heels and modern day tight-laced boots are displayed

JpegHere’s some Chinese footwear for bond feet presented alongside modern day trainers.

JpegQuite incredible were the clunky men’s clubbing boots from 1992 by Fleur Oakes.

JpegOne of the most curious pairs we saw were the skyscraper Chinese Bath clogs from the 16th century that were status symbols of wealth (see above).

JpegThere are some well-presented arrangements from keen fashion shoe collectors. Above is from a man called Lionel.

Jpeg…and this shows an insight into collector Katie Porter’s “shoe wardrobe”.

JpegDimly lit in places like a boudoir, the main event is on the ground floor, whilst the bright first floor gives a fascinating insight into top-level shoe design processes from concept to finished product  including drawings and  assembly pieces. Above is a wonderful array  of heels. Check those Wedgewood designs in the front row!

There’s so much to see Queen Victoria’s satin shoes, Vivienne Westwood’s super sky-high platforms that caused model Naomi to fall during a catwalk show and Tabitha Simmons a newer designer showed floral espadrilles from her 2014 collection. Sophia Webster had a multicoloured pair of high heels. Prada was shown as tastemakers with their 2012 shoes inspired by 1950’s classic cars.

From a handcrafted pure gold leaf sandal of ancient Egypt to techno digital 3D printer processed shoes this is a must-see comprehensive exhibition covering footwear in every shape and form.

JpegUs at Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

JpegFashion Fabulous’s Tracy Rose walked the talk in her vintage 1970’s Terry de Havilland silver glitter and gold satin high heel ankle boots. Expect to see other great shoes on other shoe-lovers at this great exhibition!

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell  Road, London SW7 runs 13 June – 31 January 2016. For admission details call Tel 0207 942 2000 or see