A thoroughly interesting morning spent exploring the shoe archive at the V&A, which will be used for their upcoming exhibition ‘Shoes’. The curator Helen Persson chronologically took us through the evolution of the heel from a single Roman sandal with a gilt sole through to Japanese wooden stilts that Geishas would teeter along in, keeping them those crucial few inches out of the mud and dirt.
Helen Persson also explored the idea of the body movement in these different types of heels and how important this was as a way of pronouncing your class status. This was particularly poignant for women and men wearing the first properly integrated heels, which were designed for Louis XIV and known as “Louis Heels”. We were also introduced to the first “fetish” shoes, a gloriously deep-red boot, dating from pre-Victorian times.