Killer Heels explores the rich cultural history of the high heel and its relation to power, fantasy, sexuality and identity. More than 160 spectacular contemporary and historical shoe designs - from sixteenth-century Venetian platforms to twenty-first-century Christian Louboutins - are presented around six themes: Revival and Reinterpretation, Rising in the East, Glamour and Transgression, Architecture, Metamorphosis and Space Walk. Going beyond the archetypal forms of stiletto, wedge and platform, these extraordinary designs play with the cultural and artistic possibilities of the high heel, use innovative or unexpected materials and push the limits of functionality, wear ability and beauty. Complementing the shoes are stills, sketches and artist statements for six films specially commissioned for the exhibition from Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter and Rashaad Newsome that explore a range of provocative themes and demonstrate the power of the high heel in the collective imagination.
In addition, several of the designers included in the exhibition (including Brian Atwood, Zaha Hadid, Pierre Hardy and Christian Louboutin), along with Elizabeth Semmelhack, Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum, contribute thoughts on topics such as their inspiration and design process and the cultural significance of high heels. Beautiful, informative and just plain fun, this collection of killer heels is filled with stunning photos and fashion lore. Published in association with the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Exhibition: Brooklyn Museum, New York, 10th September 2014 to 15th February 2015.
Lisa Small is Curator of Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum. Stefano Tonchi is editor of W Magazine. Caroline Weber is associate professor of French at Barnard/Columbia University and author of the best-selling book Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the French Revolution