V&A Museum’s ‘Shoes: Pleasure & Pain’ Exhibit Coming To U.S.

V&A shoe exhibition
From the V&A's "Shoes: Pleasure & Pain" exhibition: Styles from Julian Hakes, Andreia Chaves and Nike.
Getty Images

The Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Shoes: Pleasure & Pain” exhibit is landing in the U.S. this fall.

The exhibit spotlights extreme footwear and includes 200 pairs from around the world. Starting Nov. 19 and running through March 12, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., will host “Shoes: Pleasure & Pain,” which closed at London’s V&A in January.

Alexander McQueen; V&A From the V&A’s “Shoes: Pleasure & Pain” exhibition: Alexander McQueen-sculpted heels worn by Lady Gaga. Getty Images

“Shoes are one of the most telling aspects of dress,” said curator Helen Persson when the exhibit opened at the V&A last summer. “Beautiful, sculptural objects, they are also powerful indicators of gender, status, identity, taste and even sexual preference. Our choice in shoes can help project an image of who we want to be.”

V&A Museum Shoes: Pleasure and Pain Exhibition From the V&A’s “Shoes: Pleasure & Pain” exhibition: ‘Invisible Naked Version’ by Andreia Chaves. Andrew Bradley.
V&A Exhibition From the V&A’s “Shoes: Pleasure & Pain” exhibition: The Nova style from Zaha Hadid for United Nude. courtesy of United Nude

The exhibit includes styles by iconic designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Roger Vivier, but also dates back to shoes worn on the Silk Road in the 1st century B.C. and 16th century Venetian platforms. Shoes worn by or associated with celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker, Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga are also on display.

V&A Museum exhibition: "Shoes, Please & Pain" Brigitte Niedermair ‘Black Swan’ print. Courtesy of V&A Museum
Helmut Newton shoot for American Vogue From the V&A’s “Shoes: Pleasure & Pain” exhibition: A Helmut Newton shot of Nadja Auermann for American Vogue. Courtesy of V&A Museum

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