Bristol Fashionista this may be, but I’m originally from London and, this month Mr Jones and I headed back there for our wedding anniversary weekend to check out the latest exhibit at the Victoria & Albert museum, Shoes: Pleasure & Pain.
As a self-confessed shoe fanatic, the V&A didn’t have to sell its latest exhibition to me; they had me at shoes! The exhibition brings together shoes from around the world, from the tiny shoes for bound feet from China, to chopines from Spain and even Carrie Bradshaw’s “urban shoe myth”, the Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane from New York. (Her feet were bigger than I thought!)
Shoes from times past were complimented by modern designs from brands like Charlotte Olympia, Christian Louboutin, Prada and, of course, Blahnik, among others.
Upstairs there’s a little cinema (surrounded by shoe boxes, of course) which plays a film featuring some of today’s leading shoemakers exploring the process of deigning and making these little works of art for your feet. There’s also an interactive touch-screen display where you can explore shoes from different eras.
One of the most interesting parts of the exhibition was the case displaying the structure one of Blahnik’s designs – it showed the shoe as it looks on the shelf, as well as all the parts that went into making it laid out beside it, so you can see exactly how they are constructed. For a shoe-geek like me, it was a fascinating insight and will affect the way I shop for shoes in future.
I celebrated a morning well spent with the purchase of a pair of my own – these rather elaborate booties from Irregular Choice. The slightly lurid yet delicate pink fabric reminded me of Marie-Antoinette (the movie by Sofia Coppola that is) and while they probably won’t match anything in my wardrobe right now, I had to have them. They were on sale, so it seemed rude not to. Let them eat cake!
What better to follow shoes than cocktails? We spent the evening at The Jam Tree on Kings Road, Chelsea. I’m not sure if this place has ever featured on Made in Chelsea, but it looks like it should, with all its stylish chrome lamps and shabby chic décor.
It was totally empty when we arrived (it was a Monday night) but we found it utterly charming and the cocktails were some of the best I’ve had in a long while, so it was smiles all round!
What we drank:
• Confiture (£8.50) – vanilla vodka with raspberry jam, Chambord and pineapple juice
• Royale Tree (£9.50) – raspberry vodka, strawberry jam, orange passion fruit juice topped with champagne
While Bristol is most certainly my home now, London still has a special place in my heart so it was great to spend a couple of days there just being a tourist. This is the first of three blogs about our London adventures, so please do check back for more London recommendations from me.
Photographs are not permitted inside the exhibit, so some of these images are borrowed from the Victoria & Albert Facebook page. I’ve also borrowed the interior shot of The Jam Tree from the bar’s Facebook page, since I was enjoying myself far too much to take many shots on the night!