By Carolynne Dear for Hong Kong Living
Pacific Place is partnering with London’s Victoria & Albert Museum this month to present Shoes: Pleasure & Pain. The exhibition arrives in Hong Kong after a six-month tour of China and features 140 pairs of shoes, both old and new, from around the globe. Included in the collection is footwear that dates back to the first century BC, as well as modern day designs by Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Roger Vivier for Christian Dior, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Vivienne Westwood, as well as shoes worn by Elton John and the Queen Mother. Exclusive to the Hong Kong leg of the tour are 14 pairs from the private collection of actress, singer and fashion icon, Karen Mok.
“Every shoe in the exhibition has a story to tell,” curator Helen Persson told Hong Kong Living. “But one of my favourites is a pair of gold painted shoes by French designer Andre Perugia. They date to about 1940 and the design is spectacularly modern. They were worn by socialite and pilot Cecile Tonge Stuart, one of the world’s first female aviators.”
One of the most dramatic exhibits is a pair of ‘qabqabs’ – or sandals worn for the baths during the Ottoman Empire. At 28.5cm tall they are the highest footwear in the exhibition and were a potent symbol of wealth and status.
The Asian leg of the tour has been co-curated by Swire Properties and included stops in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou. Pacific Place will be the final venue. The exhibition will be returning to London at the end of October for a well-deserved rest – and no doubt to put its feet up.
Shoes: Pleasure & Pain runs until October 28, with free entrance, 10am-9.30pm, Garden Court, LG1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong. shoes.swireproperties.com