The world's most extreme shoes in history to be showcased at V&A's new exhibition

From the interpretations of Cinderella’s fairytail crystal shoes to Louboutin’s most unusual red soles, the London museum will span the globe and travel through 2000 years

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Earlier this year the V&A announced its next fashion exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, which will showcase some of the most extreme shows in history. Now the London museum has revealed some of the 200 rare pairs which will be on display.

It will not only feature historic shoes that date back to ancient Egypt or the 16th century, but also contemporary designs from 70 of the most legendary designers of our time, including Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Prada and British newcomer Sophia Webster.

From the interpretations of Cinderella’s fairytale crystal shoes to Louboutin’s most unusual red soles, the 2015 fashion exhibition at the London museum, due to open next summer, will span the globe and travel through 2,000 years, exploring “the agonising aspect of wearing shoes as well as the euphoria and obsession they can inspire”.

Pleasure and pain is indeed a very apt title for the exhibition as owning some of these rare shoes with their staggeringly high heels (for a staggering price tag too) can be pretty uncomfortable, and perhaps even dangerous. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is set to explore how shoes have revolutionised and developed, and the connection between footwear and status.

Other shoes on display will include those worn by iconic figures and celebrities like Queen Victoria, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daphne Guinness.

Exhibition curator, Helen Persson, said: “Shoes are one of the most telling aspects of dress. 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.”

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Wedding toe-knob paduka, silver and gold over wood, India, 1800s

The gallery is set to travel through three different themes: “Transformation”, which will present legendary and mythical shoes; “Status”, which will “reveal how impractical shoes have been worn to represent privileged lifestyles” and history of royal footwear; and “Seduction”, will show fetish shoes with extreme heels and laced boots.

In addition to the extreme footwear itself, the gallery will also reveal the consumption and production with examples from an 18th century “cheap shoe warehouse”, and will also look at the future of shoe design.

Other recent designs that push boundaries include “Nova” shoes designed by architect Zaha Hadid, which have an unsupported 16cm heel, and “Invisible Naked” shoes by Brazilian designer Andreia Chaves, made with 3D printing and high-quality leather techniques in a study of optical illusion.

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Invisible Naked Version Andreia Chaves 2011

Tickets for the exhibition will cost £12 and will run from 13 June 2015 to 31 January 2016, with plans of touring to Australia and USA.

To accompany the exhibition, the V&A has published a book.

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