Long-awaited Shoephoria! exhibition finally opens at Bath Fashion Museum

7 June 2021

A simply fabulous new exhibition has opened at Bath Fashion Museum, after over a year of delays due to the pandemic.

Shoephoria! is a celebration of footwear, with over 350 pairs of some of the world’s most famous pairs of heels, boots, slippers and clogs on display. Here’s what you can expect to see:

  • Iconic Yeezy trainers designed by Kayne West
  • A total of 36 pairs of Manolo Blahniks (the famous shoe designer is believed to live in Bath)
  • Red velvet mules with gold embroidery from the 1690s – the oldest shoes in the collection
  • A pair of white Clarks boots inspired by French Fashion designer André Courrèges, sitting alongside ‘Mondrian’ dress suits by Yves Saint Laurent
  • Playwright Noël Coward’s monogrammed slippers
  • A pair of Gareth Pugh designed calico trousers that morph into boots.

There are also some thought-provoking exhibits, including a pair of white Toffeln clogs worn by a frontline health worker over the last very difficult year.

A bumper-size exhibition spanning three centuries

The curators of the exhibit have made excellent use of their downtime during lockdown. In fact, they revised the concept behind the exhibition entirely.

The original plan was a ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’, with a focus on clothing as well as shoes. But the two have now been merged into one super-charged exhibition spanning hundreds of years of fashion history. The number of shoes included in the exhibition has more than doubled from 100 pairs to over 350. Curator Rosemary Harden explained to the Guardian:

“In some ways the addition of the shoes over lockdown has been a happy accident. It shows us, visitors and curators, new ways to look at the clothes.”

Shoephoria! is an exhibition in three parts, which moves chronologically through time over three centuries.

It offers a fascinating insight into changing fashion trends, including a shift from heels to ‘slippers’ in Jane Austen’s Bath. Visitors will see a dramatic change in styles from the gold and diamante of the roaring 20s, through to the space-age booties of the 1960s and 70s.  There are even the remnants of ancient Roman soles, along with thigh-high waders worn by local trout fishermen.

There is cabinet after cabinet of footwear delights to discover, along with shop window displays, a ‘wearer’s walkway’ and much more. It’s a unique, rather glamorous chance to learn more about why we wear what we wear, in one of the best museums in Bath.

Planning your visit to Bath Fashion Museum

Shoephoria! opened on 18th May and runs until 2022, but tickets are only available to purchase until the end of August 2021.

If you’re planning a visit, you must buy your tickets in advance from the museum’s websites. Prices start at £9.50 for adults and £7.25 for children, and there are also family tickets available.

The Bath Fashion Museum is in the Assembly Rooms on Bennett Street, close to the Circus. Book a stay at our beautiful Alfred Street flat, Circus House Apartment or King’s Circus Apartment and you’ll be within a moment’s stroll of the museum.