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Kicky art at 'Killer Heels'

The Brooklyn Museum highlights the history of high heels.

Christian Louboutin's "Printz" (S/S 2013-14) are on display at the Brooklyn MuseumJay Zukerkorn

A ubiquitous symbol of sex appeal, high heels physically and mentally empower wearers by elongating legs and improving postures all while creating a dramatic silhouette. “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” at the Brooklyn Museum chronicles the heels journey from a Renaissance footwear for the royal elite to a sky-high accessory loved for its alluring desire.

The exhibition showcases over 160 heels within six categories: Revival and Reinterpretation, Rising in the East, Glamour and Fetish, Architecture, Metamorphosis and Space Walk. Presented alongside the shoes are six commissioned films inspired by power of pumps. We picked four showstoppers you must see to get the whole “pain for pleasure” appeal:

1. Christian Louboutin: ‘Metropolis’

Louboutin’s signature red soles evoke scandal and desire, a decadent pairing fit for the “Glamour and Fetish” section. The thigh-high red “Metropolis” boots in smooth calfskin leather are embellished with silver metallic studs, effectively blurring the lines between desire and domination.

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2. Zaha Hadid: ‘NOVA’

Architect Zaha Hadid teamed up with innovative design-house United Nude to create the space-age “NOVA” shoes. Created from rippling curves of leather, vinyl and fiberglass, the silver wedge is more attune to the futuristic fortresses designed by Hadid than everyday shoes that sludge through the streets. With structural façades similar to the steel skeletons of New York City high-rises, Hadid’s skyscraper heels are architecturally equipped with both aesthetic form and structural function.

3. Masaya Kushino: ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Kushino’s haute-couture creations in the “Metamorphoses” section transform the heel into an artful spectacle through unconventional silhouettes. His “Stairway to Heaven” boots combine cow leather with more uncommon decorations including a draped foxtail cascading the back of the heel and crow feathers situated on each outer side of the shoe in order to recreate the fierce wingspan of a bird in full flight.

4. Leanie van der Vyver: ‘Scary Beautiful’

Van der Vyver’s “Scary Beautiful” video explores what garishly lies beyond beauty ideals. In the place of shoes are oversized clawed stilts preventing the young actress from striding with ease. From a sensual catwalk to an unnatural struggle, Vyver’s video bluntly investigates the point where sexy-chic ends and the grotesque begins.

 
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