Shoe pleasure is the newest exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum. Since everyone knows how much I love shoes, this was an exhibit I was looking forward to.

Of course, some friendships are like shoes. They fit right and help us get through difficult days. With an upcoming surgery looming, a close friend and I planned a day to visit Shoe Pleasure and Pain.

Shoe Pleasure

So for me, shoe pleasure can transform my mood. Shoe Pleasure and Pain was an exhibit organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum of London. More than 300 pairs of shoes from contemporary to vintage styles were displayed.

When you enter the exhibit, the shoe display immediately grabs your attention. Of course, I want this as my new mode of transportation.

In the same fashion, when you exit the elevator and walk into the first room, there are shoes everywhere. The exhibit offers an array of shoes, past and present. Also in each room, there is a mix of contemporary and vintage styles. Additionally, in each room there are shoes worn by well-known individuals as well as shoes seen prior on the runway.

Shoe Exhibit

Throughout the exhibit are shoes not only from the Victoria and Albert Museum, but also 110 pairs from PEM shoe collection. In addition, there were shoes ranging from Chinese lotus shoes made for bound feet to modern gender footwear.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

In addition, there are shoes on the latest technology in footwear as well as classic styles.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

Of course, Salvatore Ferragamo’s most famous rainbow platform from 1938 was on display. See photo below.

Additionally, there was a display of various heels and pumps.

While the exhibit featured shoes from various countries, it also represented designers from various countries. Below is the Union Jack in 2012 by GINA, London.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

While walking the runway, Naomi Campbell had an oops moment as she fell in 1993.


In the same fashion, there were various displays of boots throughout the exhibit. Together with vintage and modern, boots, they were exhibited in various patterns and styles. Since pink is my favorite color, I was in la la land with the boots below.

Below is a tatoo style boot that looks like the perfect boot for the upcoming Spring/Summer season.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

Additionally, the boots below with an elaborate vintage design are modern at the same time.

Also, the boots below were eye-catching in color and style.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

Furthermore, the 70’s were a time music artists wore high platform boots of sexual power and masculinity. David Bowie and Elton John were two musicians well-known particularly for not only their music, but also fun fashion styles.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

Shoe Closet

Not only are the shoes eye candy, but also the displays are spectacular. What Women wouldn’t want a shoe closet like the one below. Certainly the shoe closet below gave me some ideas to add onto my walk in closet. Honey – hint, hint!

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM

Dress for Success

Additionally, PEM partnered with Dress for Success for a shoe drive. Also, there were displays of some fun fashion styles for inspiration head-to-toe.

Shoe Pleasure Pain Past Present PEM


To sum up, shoes can be an inspiration on what grounds us. Like friendship, some shoes are the right fit for life, while others we need to discard.

When visiting this exhibit, you can put yourself in the role of the person who wore these shoes for a minute. In conclusion, shoes can change our identity, image and style, aesthetically and literally.