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Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is now on view at the Peabody Essex Museum. As reported previously, the show features 300 pairs of shoes, including footwear worn by the likes of Elton, David Beckham, and Naomi Campbell. It runs through March 12.

Amelia Kantrovitz, who does PR for the Salem, Massachusetts museum, recently shared more about the display with EJW
EJW: How did this all come about?
AM: This was organised by the V&A and was on view there last year. However, PEM has changed the checklist – removing some shoes and adding others. Our exhibition is slightly larger.
EJW: Shoes: Pleasure And Pain contains a number of themes. Which contains Elton’s footwear, and what are his shoes like?
AM: Elton John’s shoes are in a section called High Society. These are a pair of men’s platform boots designed by Bill Whitten between 1974 and 1975.
You might be interested in the wall panel as well, which reads:

 ”The height of a shoe is a conspicuous way of conveying social status and an elevated sense of self worth. From the platform sandals of ancient Greece to today’s sleek stilettos, high shoes ensure literally standing above the crowd to be easily spotted and admired. However, exaggerated or extreme height impedes movement. The choice to wear high-heeled shoes may suggest that someone is more concerned with leading a leisurely lifestyle or making an impression than pursuing ordinary practicalities.”

EJW: Is there an Exhibiton Publication available?

AM: Yes, the 176-page hardcover edition of Shoes: Pleasure & Pain, published by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Harry N. Abrams, is available through the PEM Shop and online at

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