Shoephoria! | Events at The Fashion Museum
Image: Floral embroidered high heels, c 1760s Image: Floral embroidered high heels, c 1760s Show image info

Floral embroidered high heels, c 1760s

Shoephoria!

2020 is the Year of the Shoe at the Fashion Museum! Our stunning new display feature showcasing some of the highlights and curiosities of the Museum’s world-class collection of more than 3,000 pairs of shoes will go on show from Saturday 28 March 2020.

Demonstrating the creativity of shoemakers throughout history, more than 100 pairs of shoes and boots will be displayed, over half of which have never been on show before.

From the oldest shoes in the collection to shoes belonging to Her Majesty Queen Mary, from trainers and sneakers to designer shoes by Vivienne Westwood, Versace and Jimmy Choo, the Museum’s shoes on display will document the evolution of shoe style over the last 300 years.

Shoes will be interspersed with the fashions on display as part of the A History of Fashion in 100 Objects exhibition, celebrating fashion from the 1600s to the present day. 

Star objects in the display include:

  • The oldest shoe in the Museum’s collection: a red velvet mule with gold and silver embroidery covered with raised work metal thread embroidery in real gold thread ca 1690s.
  • Wooden pattens with iron ring ca 1720s – these were worn outside to save your shoes from the roads. In Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, the clatter of iron pattens on the streets of Bath gave Anne Elliot a headache.
  • Queen Victoria’s boots ca 1850s made by Joseph Box, London.
  • A pair of long green Russian boots ca 1900s worn by Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873 -1938), a six foot tall, flame-haired English aristocrat on the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group. Often remarked for her flamboyant and extraordinary sense of dress, Ottoline was well known in her day for her intense friendships with artist Augustus John and philosopher Bertrand Russell amongst others. All her clothes are in the care of the Fashion Museum collection.
  • Queen Mary’s diamante bow shoes ca 1930s – among the earliest shoes in the collection by celebrated British shoemaker Rayne. Rayne was holder of a Royal Warrant to Queen Mary, Queen Mother and the Queen. They supplied the shoes worn by the Queen, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne on their wedding days as well as those worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich and Brigitte Bardot.
  • Futuristic golden wedge and plastic heel-less shoes from the 1950s made by Rayne.
  • Pieces from the wardrobe collection of historian and writer Roy Strong, from the 60s to the present day.
  • Several pairs of trainers and sneakers, from Converse to Nike Air Jordan.
  • A pair of Charles Jourdan shoes from the 1980s with high metal spike heels, donated by a lady called Ann, who called them The Kissing Shoes.  Ann had a tryst with a Polish sea captain who was very tall, so she bought very high shoes so she could kiss him!
  • A pair of Dr. Martens boots (about 2015) digitally printed with an image taken from famous series of Georgian paintings ‘The Rake’s Progress‘ by Hogarth.
  • Yellow silk-gold fringe shoe ca 1990s by Manolo Blahnik.