LOVE SHOES? Take Part in a Shoe Study Focus Group, Northampton Museum 21st August 2013

This is part of an exciting project I am working on and I am so excited to be able to share this opportunity, please spread the word to anyone else you think would be interested –

Shoe Galleries, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery :

Cinderella Syndrome Focus Group Volunteer Invitation

We are looking for volunteers to participate in our focus groups experience

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At Northampton Museum & Gallery we are always asking questions about how shoes are displayed – not just in our own museum, but also everywhere around us. The Cinderella Syndrome is a major exhibition and research project, created by NMAG and taking place at the National TrustÔÇÖs Canons Ashby near Daventry, at Westfield shopping centre and at the Royal Exchange, London. WeÔÇÖre researching the challenges of displaying shoes in an engaging and exciting way and reactions to the stories shoes tell about the people who wore them.

Could you contribute to our research and be part of this innovative project? We are hosting a day of discussions about the shoes on display at the museum and we would like to have your views. To thank you for your time we are offering volunteers a private tour of the shoe stores, which is open only on selected occasions and for which there is usually a charge. We hope that tea and cake may also entice you to join us for a couple of hours

When:  21 Aug 2013: either morning or afternoon session (please state if you have a preference)

What: Hour long session including a tour of the Shoe Galleries at NMAG, followed by a round table discussion with other volunteers. You will be allocated either the morning or afternoon session.

Where: Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, 4-6 Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP

Who: We are interested in your views regardless of your age, gender, education, a regular visitor to NMAG, a frequent one or first time attender. We want you to be a key part of our project

WhatÔÇÖs in it for me? A chance to be a part of this a ground breaking project, meet other people and museum staff, a private tour of the shoe stores*, plus tea and cake ÔÇô a jolly good day out we think.

How: Interested? Email Shaun Carrington at [email protected] ┬áor phone 01604 838111 with your name, address, email, telephone and register your interest. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. You are welcome to bring a friend but please include also their contact details, as you will need to be counted individually.

Please note: we apologise but this event does not cater for children and babies. Volunteers must be over the age of 12 years. If 12-16 years parental / guardian consent must be provided.

  *NB, please note there is limited disabled access in the shoe store, (5 mins walk from museum plus 13 stairs with no lift), please enquire for full details and to discuss any concerns you might have and we will do our best to accommodate.

Northampton museum is a short 10 minute walk from Northampton train station, the train journey is approximately 45 mins from London Euston and 2 hours from Manchester Piccadilly.

Kobi Levi Shoe Exhibition

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From top: Flamingo, Cheerleader, Coffee, Market Trolly, Slide

Kobi Levi is most famously know for his quirky, often cartoon-like footwear designs. The Israeli designer pushes boundaries by taking every day objects and interpreting them into shoes. Most of the designs are fun (‘Blond Ambition’ and Banana’) however some are sexual (‘Blow’ and ‘XXX’) others somewhat disturbing (‘Mother & Daughter’ and ‘Double Boots‘). From court shoes to mules, wedges to boots Levi’s imagination has no limits.

“In my artistic footwear design the shoe is my canvas. The trigger to create a new piece comes when an idea, a concept and/or an image comes to mind. The combination of the image and footwear creates a new hybrid and the design/concept comes to life. The piece is a wearable sculpture. It is “alive” with/out the foot/body. Most of the inspirations are out of the “shoe-world”, and give the footwear an extreme transformation. The result is usually humoristic with a unique point of view about footwear. Another aspect of the creation is the realization.” Kobi Levi

You can see more Kobi Lev designs on his blog or visit the exhibition and other displays of shoes, at the Northampton Shoe Museum.

Taking History Outside the Museum – Opinions Please!

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Vivienne Westwood exhibit some of their vintage shoes in the Conduit Street store window for a Fashion Night Out event. Image courtesy Vivienne Westood Ltd.

What do you think about museums?

That might seem an odd question, I bet almost everyone reading this has been to a museum in their life time. Perhaps you frequent you local museum often, take a special trip for new exhibitions, appreciate their air-con when on holiday or remember seeing the dinosaurs on a school trip when you were young. But, what do you really think about them? Are they something you get excited about? Or a place which only enters your thoughts on a rainy day?

How about with regards to fashion? Do you imagine them full of dusty old clothes from the Victorian ere, irrelevant today? Recently there has been something of a shift in the way fashion and museums relate. There have been more current fashion exhibitions such as the Valentino exhibit on right now at Somerset House, the Ballgowns at the V&A and the Christian Louboutin exhibition at Design museum. The exhibition may seem a little more current but they are still being held in traditional museum contexts. In contrast to this there are some exhibitions which are bursting out of the box so to speak. The Chanel exhibition at Harrods, Vivienne Westwood shoes at Selfridges. Would you feel more inclined to visit an exhibition if it were in a more accessible location? Do you think it seems less formal holding an exhibition in a retail space? Would it seem more fun perusing displays as you would do on a clothes shopping trip rather than gazing at traditional museum cases?

I have included some photo’s here of some traditional and more edgy exhibition spaces. I would really like to know your thoughts.

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The Sneaking into Fashion temporary exhibition hosted by Javari.co.uk, displayed the shoes in cases along the main walk way in convent garden making it easy for people to view as they shopped

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The Louboutin exhibition displayed the shoes in innovative ways, no glass cases here! Image via ibtimes.com.

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The V&A recently acquired a set of Japanese Lolita fashion outfit to show the diverse trend in their ‘Kitty and the Bulldog’ exhibition, it is displayed amongst the traditional Japanese history collection.

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A traditional museum display at Northampton Shoes museum however this display has bright and colourful information boards behind the shoes to give them context and tell a story

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Northampton Shoe museum show a blown-up photo of Naomi Campbell taking her famous runway tumble in the Vivienne Westwood ‘Super elevated Gille’ shoes. Do you like to see the background to the shoe illustrated rather than just lots of text?

If you have any other thoughts or opinions on museums at all I’d like to hear them. Is there anything that puts you off visiting? Do you think museums should be there for education or entertainment?

Which of the displays above is your favourite and why?

Wearable Art: Milly J Customised Shoes

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Last week I went to visit Northampton Shoe Museum. The Museum is one of the largest collections of shoes in Europe and covers the entire ground floor. There are two permanent exhibition rooms, a changing exhibition space and the ‘Shoe Lounge’. The lounge is an a gallery which also boasts comfortable couches so you can have a coffee surrounded by fabulous shoes. The show space in the gallery at the moment is filled with the awe inspiring creations of Milly J, from shoe sculptures to wearable art, they are a thing to behold. I particularly liked the pink wedge ankle boots and the court shoes covered in orange slices. Enjoy!

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