ROTTERDAM.- The Kunsthal Rotterdam
reveals the astonishing story of women's shoe design from 1900 to the present during the Spring of 2014. "S.H.O.E.S" - Sexy Heels Or Easy Sandals - exhibits more than 500 shoes created by celebrated designers such as André Perugia and Salvatore Ferragamo, international "stars" Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, as well as contemporary and rising young talent. Shoes as genuine, finely fashioned objets d'art, ranging from Victorian boots to seductive slippers and from high heels to futuristic pieces. The unbelievable variety and inventiveness of so many shoe designs is a delight for the eye: the S.H.O.E.S. exhibition is a must-see for anyone with a passion for fashion.
From practical design to status symbol
Over the years various decorative elements have made their appearance into the world of shoe fashion: amongst others the floating heel, open heel, platform shoes, ankle straps and bows. Designers have constantly experimented with form, materials, colour and comfort. Cross-fertilisation and retro-reference have been combined with new experimentation. The woman's shoe has become increasingly elegant, and heel height has reached as much as 15cm. New technologies and materials such as micro-fibre, elastic and synthetics have made extreme forms, sometimes highly erotically charged, possible. The rise of the "couturier" fashion houses and their designers have taken the woman's shoe from attractive accessory to ultimate status symbol. Just as Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker swears by her Manolo Blahniks, many women long for new shoes as for new love.
Jewels from renowned collections
Numerous star pieces from celebrated collections are on display in the S.H.O.E.S. exhibition - a collaboration with the Fashion Museum Hasselt - such as Perugia's surrealist 1931 design "Homage to Braque" from the International Footwear Museum in Romans-sur-Isère, as well as the first platform-sole sandal that Ferragamo designed in 1938 for Judy Garland. Naturally, there is also place for Roger Vivier, who invented the stiletto in 1954. Closer to home, many other splendid designs, such as the 1960 transparent plastic pump by Beth & Herbert Levine from the Fashion Museum Hasselt collection, and the 1985 colourful stiletto by Charles Jourdan from the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum in Waalwijk. These grand-masters of shoe design will be featured alongside The Netherlands' own Jan Jansen, himself a member of the international elite since the early 1970s. Some well-known contemporary Dutch and Belgian designers will also be broadly represented in S.H.O.E.S., including Rem D. Koolhaas, Jan Taminiau and the rising talents Katrien Herdewijn and Nienke van Dee (winner of the Global Footwear Design Award 2013).