The Norm Can Conform

The opinions you never asked for on the subjects you’re not bothered about.

Shoes: Vivienne Westwood Exhibition @ Victoria Gate, Leeds

Vivienne Westwood has a mini shoe exhibition in Leeds! I don’t quite know why it happened, but my word am I glad it has. I heard nothing about it till a few days before but there is a mini (free) exhibition of some of Vivienne Westwood’s most iconic shoes and outfits from her archive. Yes, that includes the infamous giant purple heels that Naomi Campbell took a tumble in!

‘Chaos’ beanie: Vivienne Westwood
Jumpsuit: Zara
Turtleneck: Topman
Cuban Heels: ASOS

I have to admit, the temptation to pick up every pair of shoes and say “Do you have these in a 7?” was far too strong. However, I resisted thanks to the large quantity of alcohol put in front of me.

For those who are interested in having a gander (and I suggest you all do, it will take you 5 minutes to see everything), it’s in the Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds.

It’s actually in the unit next door to where I used to work in a random retail shop. So it’s actually nice to see the centre putting on interesting things because it was pretty deserted when I worked there – a beautiful building, but nobody in it.

I don’t quite know why the Vivienne Westwood team chose Leeds as their location for their little Shoes exhibition, but I’m really happy they have. It’s nice to see brands venture out and move things in different locations (specifically Leeds, because then I can enjoy it!)

I got the chance to attend the private view of the exhibition and the drinks were flowing. it was nice to see other Westwood fans, staff and fashion-forward folk coming together to witness a unique little exhibition in Leeds of one of Britain’s national treasures.

The exhibition itself featured a lot of unique pieces from Vivienne’s impressive archive of work. And the best part was that the exhibition wasn’t just shoes – they had a whole array of beautiful archival pieces from each decade.

I loved being able to have a proper detailed look at some items of clothing I’ve dreamed of being this close to and to see every stitch was a real treat for me and for everybody else who goes to see it.

As well as beautiful shoes and archival outfits, we also had a series of beautiful photographs printed and displayed around the space.

Of course, the star attraction for me had to be the iconic purple platform heels that Naomi Campbell tripped wearing on the runway. They were here! They were even positioned next to the outfit Naomi Campbell wore – gahhhhh so exciting!

However, it was quite tricky to get a photo of them because they were in a curved shop window so all the light was reflecting… I guess it’s so they’re harder to steal.

“Shoes must have very high heels and platforms to put women’s beauty on a pedestal.” – Vivienne Westwood

Other iconic pieces were the animal toe heels from 2003 that were inspired by Tracey Emin.

And the Tracey trainer even made a little appearance. If I were a girl, I definitely would have got my hands on a pair of these.

One of the legendary bondage suits was also displayed proudly in the exhibition which was a real treat to see. This one was brought down from the World’s End store.

Another lovely little detail was that you got to pick a random card from the staff and on the back of them were different pictures. Each shoe represented a discount, from 5% up to 15% to use in store – pretty good for a lot of Westwood fans.

But as you may have noticed, one of the cards is a pattern, this was a nice little bonus piece. If you received this card, you won a free scented candle! The scent is English Rose & Amber and they sell larger versions in store for around £45/£50 I think.

Hey, if you don’t like the scent, don’t worry – the glass is beautiful so just melt out the candles and keep them as a little drinking tumbler.

All in all, it was a really lovely exhibition which I strongly recommend you all head down to. It will be in the Victoria Gate shopping centre until the 16th of December so that gives you plenty of time while you’re having a shop around town.

I don’t know if the discount cards are still available, maybe they are, maybe they’re not. But let’s be honest, we’re not going to the exhibition for the discount. I’m going because I love Vivienne Westwood and having some of her legendary looks on my doorstep was a real treat.

Harry J Bartlett

Digital Content Creator, lover of fashion, drag queen connoisseur and all around phenomenal human being. If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would say; Gorgeous, Talented and Humble.

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