Worshipful Company of Cordwainers

Cordwainers at the V&A

Posted by: JHM Date: 07 Jan 2015

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers is delighted to be supporting a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum: Shoes – Pleasure and Pain will open on 13 June 2015.

With over 200 pairs of shoes from around the world, the exhibition will explore the transformative power of footwear and display a gorgeous selection of shoes. They will range from sandals decorated in gold leaf from Ancient Egypt, via vertiginous 17th century mules designed to raise the owner’s skirts out of muddy streets, to some of the finest designers of recent times, such as Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Cordwainers Jimmy Choo and Caroline Groves (whose ‘Parakeet’ shoes can be seen at the top of the page).

Curator Helen Persson has selected an exceptional range of shoes from the V&A’s extensive collection, as well as drawing on private collections, including some from the Cordwainers’ own historic archive. The exhibition will examine three themes: transformation, status and seduction, within different settings. More than just a display of fabulous footwear, the exhibition will also examine how shoes are designed, produced and sold.

‘Shoes are one of the most telling aspects of dress. Beautiful, sculptural objects, they are also powerful indicators of gender, status, identity, taste and even sexual preference. Our choice in shoes can help project an image of who we want to be.’

The press release from the V&A describes the exhibition in more detail.

It has also been covered in the press by a number of publications and blogs.

Green Pebbles



Mens’ shoes, gilded and marbled leather, Northamptonshire, England, 1925 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London