Days out: Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle

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After hosting last year’s exhibition devoted to the life and work of designer Yves Saint Laurent, the Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, is about to become another must-visit destination for the region’s fashionistas this summer.

The museum is the only UK venue outside London to stage the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition before it tours the USA and China.

Organised by the V&A, the exhibition will display more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes by 70 named designers, including Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Prada.

Exploring the agony and the ecstasy of footwear throughout 2,000 years of history, the show will examine the elation and passion they can arouse.

Held in the museum’s award-winning Fashion and Textile Gallery, it will be divided into five themes: Transformation, Status, Seduction, Creation and Obsession.

Transformation will present shoes that are the things of myth and legend; Status will reveal how impractical shoes have been worn to represent privileged and leisurely lifestyles and Seduction will feature shoes representing an expression of empowerment or a passive source of pleasure. The Creation theme will look at how shoes are constructed and Obsession will showcase the joy and fascination of collecting shoes.

Shoes worn by or associated with famous icons, like David Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Queen Victoria and Kylie Minogue, will also be featured.


Address: Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8NP

Opening times: Open daily from 10am to 5pm

Prices: Adults £10.50, concessions £9.50, children under 16 free

Car Park: On-site


Shoes: Pleasure and Pain runs from June 11 to October 9