The Art of the Killer Heel


By Les Fabian Brathwaite

A new exhibition on the stiletto opens at the Brooklyn Museum

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

Louis XIV was arguably the last man to pull off high heels in public. Or maybe it was Prince? Either way, heels have long existed for the pain and pleasure of women and the admiration of the men who love them. Both will enjoy the Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibition Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, which explores the enticing, torturous history of the much-coveted shoe throughout the ages.

With a collection of more than 160 pieces ranging from the 17th-century Italian chopine to last season’s Louboutins, as well as a specially commissioned series of six short films inspired by high heels (we look forward to seeing what Steven Klein and Nick Knight came up with), the show illustrates why these tantalizing accessories will never go out of style.


“In every time and in every culture, high heels and other elevated shoes have been markers of status and privilege,” says curator Lisa Small. “That remains a key to their ongoing popularity.” And that, in a nutshell, is why drag queens always think they’re better than you.

Killer Heels opens September 10 at the Brooklyn Museum.