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A fas­ci­nat­ing ex­hi­bi­tion is afoot at Pa­cific Place this month, delv­ing into the exquisite tor­ture of footwear

Hong Kong Tatler - - Contents -

A fas­ci­nat­ing ex­hi­bi­tion is afoot at Pa­cific Place this month, delv­ing into the exquisite tor­ture of footwear

Shoes are com­plex fash­ion ob­jects. They stir ob­ses­sions, in­di­cate the wearer’s class and sta­tus, in­stil con­fi­dence and, some­times, im­part pain. In a word, they are trans­for­ma­tive. It is from this premise that the ex­hi­bi­tion Shoes: Plea­sure and Pain, open­ing at Pa­cific Place at the end of this month, takes its cue. First pre­sented at the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Museum in Lon­don in 2016, the show ex­plores the weird and won­der­ful world of footwear de­sign and the cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance shoes have held through the cen­turies.

It presents a re­mark­able col­lec­tion of shoes from around the globe and from dif­fer­ent times in his­tory. Cu­ra­tor He­len Pers­son has di­vided them into five themes—trans­for­ma­tion, Sta­tus, Se­duc­tion, Cre­ation and Ob­ses­sion. In­ter­est­ingly, they are not all pretty heels and drool-wor­thy pumps. There are 19th-cen­tury Chi­nese silk slip­pers made for bound feet, chopines (clogs) from 16th-cen­tury Venice, and sil­ver In­dian sil­ver toe-knob san­dals known as padukas, of­fer­ing glimpses of the cer­e­mo­nial val­ues past so­ci­eties have be­stowed on footwear. There is also a pair of Chris­tian Louboutin fetish shoes, whose high heels have been bent al­most par­al­lel with the sole, mak­ing them im­pos­si­ble to walk in—a clear ex­am­ple of the ex­tremes of de­sign that items of footwear can rep­re­sent.

Along with these small-scale ar­chi­tec­tural achieve­ments—there is no more apt de­scrip­tion—the ex­hi­bi­tion ex­udes plenty of mod­ern-day glam. In­cluded in the col­lec­tion are iconic de­signs from Sal­va­tore Ferragamo, Yves Saint Lau­rent, Chris­tian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Vivi­enne West­wood, Roger Vivier, Karl Lager­feld and Zaha Ha­did, as are footwear owned by or as­so­ci­ated with high-pro­file fig­ures such as David Beck­ham, Kylie Minogue and El­ton John.

Some lo­cal con­tent has been added to the show, too. For the Ob­ses­sion sec­tion delv­ing into the prac­tices of avid shoe col­lec­tors, ac­tress and singer Karen Mok has loaned 14 pairs of shoes from her own per­sonal wardrobe.

Shoes: Plea­sure and Pain runs at Pa­cific Place from Septem­ber 27 to Oc­to­ber 28. GILTY PLEA­SURES From top: Slip­pers made for bound feet in China; In­dian padukas tra­di­tion­ally worn by the bride at her wed­ding cer­e­mony; Scotty boots by Ata­lanta Weller; and qabaqib heels from 19th-cen­tury Egypt hong kong tatler . septem­ber 2018

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