Shoes: Pleasure and Pain – V&A

My auntie and my cousin love shoes even more than I do, so when they came down to London for a few days they were determined to visit the new Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition at the V&A. They invited me along too, and I was happy to accept.

The exhibition contains weird and wonderful shoes from history, fashion and everyday life, spanning the globe and a period of centuries. It displays around 200 pairs of shoes, exhibited largely on boxes with mirrrors behind to showcase the entire shoe. The shoes belonged to both men and women and were worn for all sorts of different occasions, encompassing Seventies platform heels, eighteenth century Indian wedding shoes, Fifties stilettos, tiny shoes for bound or “lotus” feet in China and moccasins from Canada. It was interesting to see how historical styles influenced more modern designers and how shoes reflected wealth and social status: for instance, fragile shoes with high heels were generally worn by the rich who lived idle lifestyles. There was a section on fetish shoes and another one for famous shoes, including David Beckham’s football boots and the ballet shoes worn by Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes.

The second level of the exhibition contained information about how shoes are made, including some very modern 3D-printed sandals. This exhibition is an absolute must-see for anyone who loves shoes.

The Red Shoes. Image courtesy of

“Leave the heart that now I bear, and give me liberty!”

Liberty prints are everywhere right now. I’m compiling a list of all the beautiful products with gorgeous floral patterns that I’m lusting after: some of them are not what you’d expect!

It all started when I saw the Liberty range for Dr Marten’s. The harsh boot style works surprisingly well with the stunning Liberty prints. I am definitely getting these at some point:

Dr Marten

I also really like these, with the blue and green Strawberry Thief pattern designed by William Morris.

Dr Marten

You can’t just get boots, there are satchels too. I really, want this small one. This is a variation on the Strawberry Thief pattern.

Dr Marten

The Liberty/Nike collaboration is perhaps the most surprising of all. I would love to wear these for the gym.

Nike Liberty Trainers

I can’t decide which of the watches is my favourite, but this one is a strong contender.

Liberty Print Knot Watch

Of all the passport holders I’ve ever encountered, this purple one with the Ianthe print has to be one of the prettiest.

Ianthe Liberty Purple Passport Holder

Last but not least, the iconic Liberty print scarf:

Liberty Tree of Life Print Scarf

Why can’t I just win the lottery?

*Post title quote from The Old Stoic by Emily Brontë