From Cinderella to Dorothy, shoes always hold a special place in the female psyche. Finding prince charming, or just the task of going home follow a similar footpath, paved with heel-marks, unusual shapes, and shiny red soles.
So, how can something that starts as every girl’s dream become every woman’s nightmare? Wearing heels is a sadomasochistic paradox for most women, with phrases like ‘they are killing me’ coming in the same breath with ‘but they are so gorgeous’. It is the moment when the pumps come out of the bag to replace the heels, that you can encounter the most interesting mixture of relief and sadness in a woman’s face.
I can not deny that shoes sometimes surpass the aesthetically pleasing and become an object of beauty; an object that could exist in the realm of art. It is indeed quite interesting to think of the heel beyond the functional, the aesthetic, and the necessary; to open the mind, and see it as an art form.
The javari.co.uk Shoes for Show exhibition did just that by exploring the sculptural art of high heels in a thought-provoking, awe-inspiring, and perfectly curated show (by Shonagh Marshall).
Hidden in the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, the space was absolutely magnificent. Jaw-dropping designs were housed in the metallic nests (four-dimensional hypercubes that required an exact formula to be assembled) created by artist James Bowler; perfect structures demonstrating the perfect proportions the designer has to work with when creating the heel.
The gallery was divided in three sections: the catwalk spectacle (with special mention to Roger Vivier, the visionary creator of the stiletto); the couture clients (Yantorny, a shoe-maker who was choosing his customers based on their own style and elegance); and finally, the artistic (the one devoid of all function). Guess which one I loved! 🙂
It was absolutely amazing to see how shoe design is now turned into art and experimentation: my favourite by far was the collaboration between John O’ Connor and Emily Crane (in their ‘return to Oz‘) experimenting with the phenomenally beautiful chemical reaction of materials by covering the shoe with Sulphate crystals; thus allowing the show to grow beyond the designer’s control (amazing!). Another show-stopper was the Louboutin pair of the ballerina pumps (not the comfortable ones), with a vertical heel, a logical step for the perfect pointe, designed especially for the English National Ballet. (click here for a picture of a dancer actually wearing them!).
Even though the exhibition is now over (lasted for just 4 days), it is worth checking the javari.co.uk twitter account for any upcoming events.
Until then, have a look at some snapshots that will make your Converse look a bit deflated (but very, very comfortable :))
The magnificent IG followers loved the exhibition pictures as well, with a total of 200 likes in less than 6 hours. Wow! Thank you everyone!