The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2011 > Vivienne Westwood Shoes: A World Wide Exhibition

Vivienne Westwood Shoes: A World Wide Exhibition


This exhibition celebrated the ingenuity and creativity of British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, focusing on her designs of the ultimate fetish object: the shoe.

Following the success of the exhibition premiered in London, Vivienne Westwood presented this unique collection, showcasing over 40 years of design, around the World. This international exhibition, previewed in both Moscow and Beirut, travelled back to the UK where it showcased here.

Visitors only had one month to catch the prestigious exhibition before it then travelled to Japan, New York and China.

The exhibition showcased around 200 shoe designs and traced the exceptional success of Dame Westwood’s career to date. Illustrating her defiance of the rules of wearability and convention, the exhibition was also evidence of her uncompromising quest for superb craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Westwood’s designs are a result of considered and distinctive influences - 16th Century Dutch Delft pottery as the inspiration for her 1996 Toile Print Boot, British colonialism reflected in the Sahara Plimsoll of 1999, Victorian dandyism influencing the 1996 Trompe l’Oeil Boot and Westwood’s nurse inspired 15.5 centimetre heel Mary Janes of Erotic Zones a salute to S/M and fetishism. Her shoes have also gained a reputation and created memorable fashion moments - the tumbling of Naomi Campbell when wearing the Super Elevated Gillie on the catwalk in 1993, the Rocking Horse which became an instant collectible when it appeared in 1986 and her Pirate Boots, first seen in 1981 but remain popular and in demand to the present day.

Today, Vivienne Westwood’s shoes are celebrated the world over for leading the way in design, creativity and style and have become famous British icons in their own right.

“Shoes must have very high heels and platforms to put women’s beauty on a pedestal” - Vivienne Westwood

 

The Bowes Museum is looking forward to welcoming you on the 17 May


Staff have been busy behind the Museum’s closed doors getting everything ready to welcome visitors back safely.

Café Bowes has undergone a refurbishment and has a new menu waiting to be sampled, the Museum has been deep cleaned, new signage is in place reminding you to adhere to social distancing, hand sanitisation stations have been refilled, the shop has been restocked and staff are being trained ready to greet you back in a safe and timely manner.

North Country Quilts: In Celebration of New Acquisitions is now hanging in the main exhibition gallery ready to wow visitors through to January 2022 and, due to social distancing measures, entry to the display will be by a separate timed exhibition entrance ticket that needs to be booked, at no extra cost, before visiting. Song has also been reinstated in the Music Room so people can enjoy the sound of the instruments. A varied programme of activity is being planned throughout May and June which we hope you will participate in.

Entry to the Museum will be by timed slots and tickets will have to be pre-booked online here or by calling 01833 690606. The Museum will be open from 10.00 to 5.00 daily. Masks will need to be worn throughout the Museum, shop and café, except when eating or where exemptions apply.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon!