Pleasure & Pain Exhibition Review

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A while back I took a trip to the V&A's Pleasure and Pain shoe exhibit. Here is my take on this incredible exhibition..... 


As a little girl I would lust over sparkly shoes in store windows and high heels in my mothers closet. Almost every little girl fanaticizes about wearing a gorgeous stiletto and becoming a princess because of her favorite fairy tales.

The Pain and Pleasure shoe exhibit at the Victoria Albert museum takes you back into a world of fantasy and makes you feel like a little girl staring into a store window. From dazzling heels from this century to gorgeous glittering shoes from the past this exhibit transports you to a different world.

Upon entering you are exposed to a large room with long purple velvet curtains with large windows filled with shoes. The first window you see when you enter the exhibit was titled transformation. A glass slipper from the 2015 Cinderella film is the centerpiece for the window. Made of Swarovski crystals the slipper glimmers and shines in the bright lights of the display.  The shoe brings a nostalgia touch to the exhibit by giving a flashback to this classic childhood fairy tale story.

Another standout shoe was a Christian Dior kitten heel from the 1950’s featured in the status window of the exhibit. The bejeweled evening shoe had a gold metallic textured treatment accented with colored rhinestones. This glamorous shoe from the past reminds me of a dress up shoe that a little girl would play with. The shoe was made of decadent materials like silk satin, gold braid, sequins, and glass.

Shoes in the exhibit represented a modern day fairy tale as well. From Kate Middleton’s classic nude pumps to Carrie Bradshaw’s glamorous feather trimmed Jimmy Choo from Sex and the City. But, I was specifically gravitated towards the magenta pink Manolo Blahnik heel titled “fairytale shoe maker”. The shoe was a bright bold shade of pink with a square silver sequin buckle embellishment. Manolo Blahnik embodies luxury, femininity, and privilege and this shoe is no exception. Most women can only dream of having such a decadent and divine shoe in their personal collection. 


As you go through the exhibit each window is labeled in a different category. From transformation, follow me, status, high society, the way we move, and seduction. Although the windows were labeled, the exhibit had an odd flow. There was no clear path to go through the exhibit. Also, with large crowds of people it was difficult to maneuver through the small venue. I think if the exhibit had been more spread out or in a different area it would have been easier for attendees to navigate and understand.

The Pain and Pleasure exhibit, as a whole was very interesting and perfect for any fashionista or shoe lover. In addition to the selected collection of shoes, attendees can follow the stairs to look at videos and other artifacts to learn about shoe making. Also, upstairs included personal collections of everyday people.

But, to me this exhibit represents that nostalgic feeling of longing for that one pair of shoes that could turn your life into your very own fairytale. The exhibit transports you to a world of make believe, little girls and dress up games, and longing for that one special shoe. As Cinderella once said, “One shoe can change your life.”

Have you been to this exhibition? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
XOXO 
Miranda

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