We went to the Albuquerque Museum this past week…it was time, we hadn’t been there yet. There is a temporary exhibit called Killer Heels: The Art of the High Heeled Shoe. The exhibit originated at the Brooklyn Museum and will be in Albuquerque until August 9th.
Well, I must say that I’m not really a shoe person and my daughter is quite tall and chooses not to wear high heels very often…but I was impressed with the 150+ pairs of shoes in this exhibit. I (sadly) didn’t take my camera so the pictures are from my cell phone and not of very good quality.
The exhibit includes a couple 17th century shoes from the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France. Here he is showing off one of his many pairs of high heels. Louis had a way with clothes, generally, and even as a kid he would play dress-up and wear high heels. He was the future king and he could do what he wanted. Once he became king he set the standard for anyone else who wanted to be noticed so there were lots of people wearing high heels around 1700.
Meanwhile, in China, high-born women were getting their feet tightly bound and disfigured so they could wear lotus shoes. Foot binding began in early childhood and was considered high status and a thing of beauty. A bound women’s foot was ideally about four inches long and they were essentially disabled for life, all for the sake of style, status and fashion. The practice began in the eleventh century and continued until after 1900.
So…I learned that there is a long history of high-heeled footwear…but I was hardly prepared for what else the exhibit had to offer. Rather than drone on, I’ll just post a few pictures and add captions.
This reminds me of the good ol’ disco days
I once was in the hospital recovering from surgery and one of the hospital administrators insisted on wearing high heels — probably like these — and she kept everyone awake by Klak-Klak-Klaking up and down the corridor all night.
This is just a small sample of what is on display in the exhibit. They had a pair of David Bowie’s shoes and a pair of Marilyn Monroe’s shoes. There were some that were almost free-form that defied logic….how could you put them on? There were some that seemed to defy gravity. Many were by top designers for special clients or occasions and possibly worn only once.
I recommend the exhibit….it was fascinating.