York Castle Museum is currently home to an exhibition entitled 'A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood Shoes'. The exhibition explores the passion that shoes can inspire through a private collection, built over a period of more than 30 years. The private collection showcases Vivienne Westwood’s iconic footwear through the years. This includes the Seditionaries boot from the punk era of the 1970s, which Vivienne first created for her boutique at 430 Kings Road London, now called Worlds End, where they are still available today.
The exhibition also explores Westwood’s more avant-garde collections shown on the runways in Paris, such as the infamous Super-elevated Gillie’s of the 1990s, the same design which Naomi Campbell famously fell from in Westwood’s Gold Label Autumn-Winter1993 show titled - Anglomania. These iconic styles will be shown alongside the more recent Vivienne Westwood footwear collections, showcasing Westwood’s continued unparalleled approach to footwear and her defiance of the rules of wearability and convention.
To complement A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood Shoes, Dame Vivienne Westwood has selected shoes from York Castle Museum’s historic collections. The selection, ranging from the 18th century to the present day, includes a pair of hand-made Georgian satin shoes that are nearly three hundred years old, Edwardian boots designed by François Pinet, one of the most coveted shoemakers of his day and a pair of Christian Dior court shoes designed by Roger Vivier, the creator of the stiletto heel. This long view of shoe design will show the rich history and tradition on which Westwood continues to draw.
'Vivienne Westwood is a pioneering British fashion designer and her shoes are show-stopping in their design and craftsmanship. We are thrilled to be able to bring this collection of Vivienne Westwood shoes to York, on loan from The Civic, Barnsley, which includes some of the most iconic footwear ever created,' says Emma Hamlett, senior curator. 'We are also very excited to have been able to work with Dame Vivienne Westwood on a display of historic shoes from our own fantastic collections. Dame Vivienne Westwood and her team have chosen shoes dating back to the 18th century to complement her own pieces and to highlight the history and tradition of the shoe. To compare and contrast these historic shoes with modern day shoes is an exciting way to highlight the journey of shoe design; how it has progressed and how the full range of historic influences can be seen in the fashions of today.'
A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood Shoes runs until 28 April 2019 with a programme of events exploring the exhibition taking place at York Castle Museum.
Photography: Chris Streek