Curator for Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Using five words how would you describe Shoes: Pleasure & Pain?
Transformation, Status, Seduction, Creation & Obsession
Do you have a favourite pair of shoes from the exhibition and what's the story behind it?
I would choose the Qabiqib (the tallest shoes in the exhibition:28.5cm) These shoes are made of wood and decorated with mother of pearls. I found these clogs particularly fascinating since originally they were used to raise the wearer above the heated floor of the Hamman, and with the passing of time they became a potent symbol of wealth and status. In fact the wearer, even when not wearing any other clothing, could highlight her status, thanks to the rich decoration of such footwear and their extreme height.
Who’s your favourite shoe designer?
I can’t really pinpoint only one designer but I am really impressed by the creativity of Salvatore Ferragamo during the restriction of the war period and how he used simple materials such as nylon and cork to create ground-breaking designs.
Finish this sentence, I love my job because...
It allows me to work with first class objects from Victoria and Albert Museum’s great collections.
- The exhibition is shown over two floors and includes: Film In Shoes, Timeline of the history of shoes and A large screen showing Manolo Blahnik, Sandra Choi, Caroline Groves, Marc Hare and Christian Louboutin being interviewed.
- More than 250 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from around the world, spanning over 2000 years.
- The ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film Red Shoes
- Vivienne Westwood’s 1993 platform shoes that caused Naomi Campbell to fall over on the catwalk
- Kylie Minogue’s Prada heels inspired by Fifties cars
- A pair of Marilyn Monroe’s shoes donated by a private collector
- Queen Victoria’s shoes