Saturday, 5 November 2011

Weekend Diary: Shoes for Show, The Sculptural Art of High Heels

Left: Christian Louboutin for The English National Ballet,
Right: Vintage Nina Ricci, owned by Daphne Guinness.

Happy weekend all, and here's to an exciting Bonfire night! If you are struggling to find fireworks in your local part of town, here's a list of all Bonfire night shows, by London area. In the meantime, try to get yourself down to East London's Brick Lane, for Shoes for Show: The Sculptural Art of High Heels, one very special shoe exhibit indeed. Launched by online shoe store (the brainchild of Amazon), Shoes for Show fuses fashion and art, showcasing spectacular one-off pairs on loan from the private collections of fashion greats, to include Daphne Guinness, Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood and Gareth Pugh.

Christian Louboutin for Rodarte, A/W 2008

I was invited to the private view of Shoes for Show on Thursday and as soon as I stepped inside, was marvelling at the fantastic flair and force of each design; if you walked in wearing one of these pairs, you would be guaranteed full attention. That's if you could walk in the first place! The exhibition, split into three sections, concludes with 'Innovative Design in Footwear', where the designers  prioritise not practical function, but the shoe as piece of art. The first section celebrates shoes for the catwalks; the second, for couture clients and the stage (including Beyonce's footwear for 'Rule the World', below). Even if you're a ballet-pump addict like myself, these are high heels like none other.

Gareth Pugh for Beyonce's 'Rule The World (Girls)' video
Terry de Havilland for Agent Provocateur, The 'Crystalina' A/W 2009 Superhero collection

Each bespoke shoe is displayed within three commissioned sculptures by artist Jamie Bowler. The box-like structures emphasize the sculptural quality of the shoes within, as well as the precise mathematical proportions shoe designers must work from, when creating a high heel. You will walk out in awe of high-heel wearers everywhere, appreciating the craftsmanship of their designers and the beauty of the final shoe, or should I say, work of art.

Nicholas Kirkwood for Printemps 'Alice in Wonderland' window display, 2010's 'Shoes for Show: The Sculptural Art of High Heels' is free and open to the public, until 8th November (11am-7pm, except for Sunday 6th, 11am-5pm). The Loading Bay, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL.

Rupert Sanderson for Verdi's Aida at The Royal Opera House

Images: My own, and with thanks to Mission PR.


  1. Ooh this looks gorgeous, I'm so jealous you went to this!

  2. The art of shoes is absolutely amazing as long as we know it's not wearable!


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