Shoes: Pleasure and Pain begins at the Bowes Museum

North East shoe lovers, prepare to find your dream exhibition at the Bowes Museum! Shoes: Pleasure & Pain is here until October, and it’s a must see.

On Saturday (June 11) Shoes: Pleasure and Pain made its North East debut. The exhibition showcased over 200 pairs of extraordinary shoes, including those worn by Sarah Jessica Parker, David Beckham and Naomi Campbell to name a few. The exhibition has five themes; transformation, status, seduction, creation and obsession.


Roger Vivier for Christian Dior @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Roger Vivier for Christian Dior @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The theme of transformation presents how a pair of shoes can transform a person. Within this section lies the sparkling Swarovski glass slipper, worn by Lily James in the 2015 film Cinderella. Not forgetting those black patent Manolo Blank Mary Janes which Carrie Bradshaw thought were an “urban shoe myth”. The red pointe shoes that ballerina, Moira Shearer, wore in The Red Shoes are also on display.

Obsession presents shoes as collectables with the pleasure of possession, featuring Adidas collections with their original boxes. Status demonstrates the exclusive statement a shoe can make, whether worn by royals or given that symbolic Louboutin red sole.

Seduction presents boundary pushing shoes from different cultures which are considered sexy, whereas creation focuses on the change in the production of shoes and how they are crafted to fit the wearer using lasts. From traditional craftsmanship to modern technology, the change in shoe design is presented and even features the lasts (foot moulds) of Dita Von Teese and Princess Diana.

You’re certain to love this exhibition, with feathered Jimmy Choo’s, glittering 50s’ Dior and more eye pleasing silhouettes from a variety of cultures. Including the Chinese Lotus shoes made especially for bound feet at just 3 inches long. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain also features platform heels worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is a wonderful experience, full of interesting facts and fabulous shoes. Helen Perrson, curator of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, shared her hope for the exhibition’s success in the North East exclusively at the Bowes Museum.

The Bowes Museum is the only venue in the UK outside of London to showcase the exhibition, which will run until October 11. Tickets are on sale via

Are you planning on visiting Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the Bowes Museum? Tweet us and let us know what you thought @Fashion_North


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