NEWS: Shoes: Pleasure & Pain @ Bowes Museum | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Caroline Groves ‘Parakeet shoes’ (c) Photography by Dan Lowe

Shoes form a part of our identity, whether we own a couple of comfy pairs or a wardrobe full of stilettos. The cultural and social importance of footwear shouldn’t be underestimated and, in its only showing outside of London, a new exhibition at the Bowes Museum aims to get to the bottom of the world’s fascination with what we put on our feet.

Continuing the Barnard Castle gallery’s fashion-themed exhibitions, after the huge success of last year’s Yves Saint Laurent collection, Shoes: Pleasure & Pain takes a broad but spellbinding look at the topic, with over 200 pairs of both men and women’s footwear on display. Some of the items are instantly recognisable icons of pop culture: Carrie Bradshaw’s Jimmy Choos from Sex & The City, David Beckham’s Adidas football boots and Moira Shearer’s ubiquitous ballet pumps from 1948’s The Red Shoes are all there. Then there’s the more anonymous but important relics: the three inch Chinese Lotus shoes, European chopines from the 15th Century and suede platform heels worn by the Queen Mother sit together in a fascinating walk through history. Get your skates on: this is one not to miss.

Shoes: Pleasure & Pain runs at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle from Saturday 11th June until Sunday 9th October.

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