"Shoes: Pleasure And Pain" Exhibition At The Victoria & Albert Museum Of London Explores Our Obsession With Painful Kicks

Saturday marked the debut of a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum of London called Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, which will be running until January 31, 2016. A shoe-lover's paradise, this unique exhibit gives visitors 200+ reasons to be there with a varied collection of shoes dating back from ancient Egypt to modern-day foot fashion marvels.

British shoe manufacturer and retailer Clark's is sponsoring the exhibit as a part of their 190th anniversary of being in business. But beyond displaying the marvel of so many pairs of heels (and flats, for that matter), the exhibit also explores the cultural significance of shoes in determining class and rank in society throughout thousands of years. And amongst a plethora of different cultures.

Helen Persson, the curator of the exhibit, told Agence French Presse:

“It’s this intriguing thing — we accept that shoes are pleasure, but also have a bit of pain. And we seem to have accepted that for 2,000 years.”

Among the shoes on display are the Swarovski-made Cinderella slippers created for Disney's live-action version of the film earlier this year, a pair of actual gold shoes designed by Alexander McQueen, and shoes worn by historical figures and celebrities from Queen Victoria to Lady Gaga.

Many modern designs displayed in the exhibition — like the Louboutins, pictured above, as well as designs from Jimmy Choo that have pushed the boundaries of contemporary footwear and technology — are on display in an attempt to explain and explore the role of shoes and their ability to create fantasies for the wearer. And even sometimes change their lives.

The display is sure to be a myriad of inspiration for footwear, fashion fanatics, and history buffs alike.

Images: Fotolia; GlamourMagUK, AlexiBaker/Twitter