Shoes: Pleasure & Pain – the fabulous V&A Exhibition

The latest exhibition at the V&A is pleasure and pain all rolled into one. If you are a lover of shoes, or embroidery, or historical costume, or boots or are a collector of shoes (as I am sure a few of us are) then this is the exhibition for you.
The exhibition displays the fabulous, exquisite pieces like sweets in the window of an exclusive Parisian Chocolate shop. Each pair staged to be admired.
The shoes are grouped in collections, each inspired by a theme of – ‘fashion’, ‘obsession’, ‘cinema’, ‘showing a bit of leg’, ‘shoes to entice’, ‘fit for a king’, ‘Royalty’. All truly yummy. Here are just a few of the enticing goodies on display. Enjoy.

The Glass Slipper from the 2015 Disney Movie ‘Cinderella’, as worn by Lily James.
Designed by Sandy Powell.
The red ballet shoes as worn in the 1948 movie ‘The Red Shoes’

 

Shoes fit for a king
Men’s Mojari shoes, India 1800 – Cotton, silk, gilded silver thread embroidery.
Possibly owned by the Nawab of Awadh.

Such tiny shoes for an adult not a child.

Shoes for Bound feet, China 1740 – silk, sequins, metal thread embroidery, linen and leather.
Popular footwear in Han Chinese society.

Here are some shoes worn by British Royalty – Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Cambridge; the French Royalty or rather the mistress of Louis XV; and Celebrity Royalty – Kylie Minogue’s Prada killer heels and Carrie’s famous Jimmy Choo’s from Sex in the City.

Shoes fit for a Queen, a future Queen and Carrie’s from ‘Sex in the City’

There is something for everyone. I visited with the notion that I was about to spend a few hours looking at lots of scrummy shoes, but it was so much more! I left, my mind buzzing with embroidery, textures of fabrics and leather, colour combinations and beading. Visit if you can. The exhibition is on until the 31st January 2016.

Game of Thrones – The Embroidery of Michele Carragher

I’ve been a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones for many years and have taken a keen interest in the show’s costumes. I knew very little about the creative mind behind them until I stumbled upon an opportunity to meet London based Michele Carragher, the Embroiderer on a Game of Thrones.

Specialising in hand embroidery and surface design, her work is breath taking. She layers detail on detail, bead work, fabric painting, brocade, thread, applique and then adds textile manipulation to create exquisite pieces of art.

Game of Thrones - Michele Carragher
Michele Carragher

Game of Thrones – House Stark

Michele’s embroidery is incorporated into garments, cloaks in addition to the  iconic collars from Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar
A large piece of cloth is stitched with lots of hand embroidery before being cut away and assembled into a finished collar.
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar
Each collar has it’s own emblem. The Fish Crest from House Stark is embellished on this piece.
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar
Game of Thrones Embroidered Collar

Markmaking

Michele’s work also utilises techniques and skills gained whist working in textile restoration.
The starting point for the following designs is lightweight organza and muslin fabrics. Hand drawn lines mark the way ready for the application of embroidery and bead work.  The finished garment is then layered  and appliqued with the cut away designs.
Game of Thrones Embroidery
This embroidery appears on the dress of  Myrcella Baratheon in Season 5
Game of Thrones Embroidery

Embroidery Short Cuts

Patterned and pre-embellished fabrics, lace and brocades are used as a starting point for some of her pieces.  Michele explained that this is sometimes taken as a shortcut for selected garments which are unlikely be seen up close on camera.  Each fabric is further embellished with even more bead work and embroidery.
Game of Thrones Embroidery

Daenerys Targaryen

Each character has  garments themed around their own personality. This includes the choice of  colour and the type of technique used to create the design. This piece was made for Daenerys Targaryen and includes her iconic Dragon scales.
Game of Thrones Embroidery
Game of Thrones Embroidery

Game of Thrones and the White Walker

If you’ve enjoyed this gorgeous Stitchery and want to see more embroidery from Game of Thrones, check out Michele’s website.
There’s also a detailed blog post about the White Walker and the Hardhome Embroidery.