Shoes: Pleasure and Pain – A Day at the V&A

Neon lights for the Shoes: Pleasure & Pain exhibition at the V&A Museum London

Neon lights for the Shoes: Pleasure & Pain exhibition at the V&A Museum London

I recently went to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. They had an intriguing exhibit displaying shoes throughout history and what was in trend in different cultures.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Victoria & Albert Museum

It was interesting to see how shoe trends have changed over the years. Starting off with barely any heels. Did you know heels were originally a trend for men? It was not until later on did heels become more of the attractive choice for women.

In the courtyard having a coffee before checking out the exhibit

V&A Coffee Cup

Even their coffee cups are gorgeous to look at – V&A Museum

But in places like China, originally small feet were seen as most beautiful hence the foot binding in the 19th century and unbelievably painful process woman went through to procure this idealistic foot size (Think about this the next time you force yourself into some ridiculously uncomfortable shoes).

The whole exhibit got me thinking about fashion and what is seen as attractive today. It reminded me a lot of the post I wrote a year ago about body shape and what is deemed as desirable today.

Pleasure & Pain exhibition at the V&A Museum London

Pleasure & Pain exhibition at the V&A Museum London

Shoes are seen as a very desirable item in the fashion industry. Names such as Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Karl Largerfeld, Jimmy Choo and Vivienne Westwood (to name a few) were on display at the exhibit. These names have become an institution to fashion and the shoe industry today.

Different shoes in many styles, my favourite being the green fluffy ones.

Different shoes in many styles, my favourite being the green fluffy ones.

So what’s the motivation behind the change of style of shoes over history? The overview would be the reasons lie with what men thought attractive on woman and also social status. But as times have changed, social norms have been updated.

Nowadays shoes are obsessed by women and even men everywhere. What was part of more of a social status environment has moved into fashion trends rather than what the opposite sex thinks what woman look more attractive in.

I admit I’ve bought shoes that were in trend and realised hang on…these aren’t that practical let alone comfortable. But I feel I have vowed to keep my feet happy and try to pick the more comfortable shoe rather than what is seen as popular. It’s hard in this day and age not to be affected by social media as you cannot avoid what is fashionable as millions share it over multiple channels.

Furry leopard boots

Shoes made out of an old coat during the war time while fabric was scarce due to war time rationing

Is social media the new social status for women’s shoe fashion? Maybe not to the extent of foot binding but the wrong shoe can cause a lot of discomfort.

What’s your opinion about shoes and pain? Is pain beauty? What’s your favourite shoe?

 

 

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