No head over heels

June 25, 2015

I enjoyed the review of the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum as I was among “the sharp-elbowed crowds that gathered for the previews” (“Hot shoe shuffle”, Culture, 18 June). However, I was not that sharp-elbowed myself as there was nothing I particularly wanted to see and nothing to learn, and I speak as someone who has some 300 pairs of shoes. I love shoes and am very interested in them. I have books, artefacts and art connected with shoes, but their interest and attraction lie in the context of their culture, in the conditions of their acquisition and in the type of occasion for which they are worn. I found the displays to be pretty but bland – who wants to see a pair of nude pumps worn by Kate Middleton? As I left the preview, I heard a visitor say, “They do put on a good show.” I agree. It was all show and no content. And speaking very personally, I was sad not to find any shoe merchandise either: shoe “things” are part of the madness of shoes, and both the sponsors and the V&A missed a trick there.

Grace Kenny
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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