Rayne Shoes @ Fashion and Textile Museum

Your sandals will suddenly feel inadequate this summer due to the luxurious display of over a century’s worth of Rayne Shoes at Fashion and Textile Museum.

On display at the gallery are over 100 pairs of shoes that have been made by the British brand Rayne. The company was founded by Henry Rayne in 1899 and subsequently taken over by his grandson Edward in 1952 until his death in 1993. These shoes have been worn by none other than Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh, who are just a handful of the names of stars who have donned Rayne’s shoes. Not only have the shoes adorned the famous feet of some of the most celebrated women throughout modern history, but the brand has also been awarded three Royal Warrants, even having designed the shoes that Queen Elizabeth II wore at her wedding.

Among the shoes on display are elegant floral sandals and low-heeled slippers adorned with feathers and perspex. The footwear has been displayed elegantly, with many of the shoes being shown with matching handbags. Some of the shoes have been positioned inside delicate white structures that are reminiscent of birdcages, probably so that they can be appreciated in the same way that one might admire an exotic bird.

All of the shoes in this display were manufactured in London and Ipswich, being truly British through and through. My favourite pair among the display is a pair of baby blue, low-heeled shoes that have been embellished with a white cameo on the heels. This pair was named the Wedgwood Jasperware shoe and was first produced in 1958. However, there really are so many eye-catching designs on display, that picking a favourite was a very difficult task especially when there are also collaborations with Hardy Amies, Norman Hartnell, Mary Quant and Roger Vivier to consider.

Fortunately, the company has recently been re-launched with the help of Laurence Dacade, a French shoe designer who has created footwear for Chanel and Givenchy, meaning that for those like me, who were born just as the brand first shut its doors, a chance to have their own new pair of Rayne Shoes is now a possibility.

The Rayne display at Fashion and Textile Museum is overflowing with elegance and style, a must-see for any footwear connoisseur.

RAYNE Shoes for Stars is on display at Fashion and Textile Museum until 13 September

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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