First of all I must start by explaining my antipathy towards the Design Museum. I’ve been to several exhibitions there and they have all been as dull a ditch water. It’s not the subject matter that’s been the problem, it’s always the way the exhibition is displayed. You know how sometimes things are so achingly hip that it feels like all life has been drained out of them? That’s what I thought of the Design Museum; too many brilliant white walls, too many tiny little signs offering very little in the way of explanation, an approach that was intellectual to the point of exclusion, no interactivity and no theatre. So when they announced they were planning a Christian Louboutin retrospective I instantly decided it wouldn’t be worth going to even though shoes are my favourite thing.
What persuaded me to change my mind was this short film on Vimeo explaining the making of a hologram with Dita Von These. Somehow it didn’t seem like the Design Museum’s thing at all, so a couple of friends and I popped over there late yesterday afternoon.
Anyway I have been proved completely wrong! This is the most amazing theatrical exhibition. One floor of the Design Museum has been completely transformed with dark red walls and subtle lighting to show off the shoes. Dominating the first room is the hologram of a shoe which turns into a dancing Dita von These which turns back into a shoe. There is a carousel and various other stands all displaying the most amazing shoes and boots each with their own little light.
At the back there is a small room showing videos, again video installations are not one of my things but as it was a day to eat my words I found these very entertaining and could have stood for hours watching them. Another room is an atelier which goes some way to explaining the design and fabrication process which goes into each shoe. The last room is the fetish room and has all sorts of extraordinarily kinky shoes; not for the fainthearted.
The exhibition is on to 9 July and I urge you to go. Personally I will be dream of owning some of those red soles for a long time to come!