In the historic town of Barnard Castle stands the most grand museum you ever did see. The Bowes Museum gives Downton Abbey a run for its money when it comes to grandeur, you almost expect to see a member of the Crawley family strolling through the entrance hall. Bowes was home to the rather fabulous YSL exhibition last year (which you can read our article on here), and this year the museum is continuing to ooze style with the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition.
Many of the iconic shoes at the exhibition have been donated by A-list celebrities and world famous businesses. The Walt Disney Company loaned Lily James’s magical glass slippers from the live-action Cinderella film, and icons such as Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker and David Beckham have also donated their footwear. Some shoes have been given to the exhibition anonymously, however Joanna Hashagen, Fashion Curator at Bowes, told us: “I know for a fact that one pair of anonymously donated shoes belonged to Madonna.”
The exhibition is at Bowes on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and showcases over 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes by 70 designers. Transformation, status, seduction, creation and obsession are the five themes of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, and an unusual step-by-step dance sequence overlay on the wooden floor illustrates how visitors should move around the room. Thousands of red laces hang from the ceiling, adding an element of quirkiness to the decadent gallery.
You only have until October 9 to catch Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the Bowes Museum, so act soon if you fancy seeing some iconic footwear in the flesh.