Today I went to the preview for the Imperial Chinese Robes exhibition at the V&A, it is a small but perfectly formed show of 50 garments, 20 accessories and 15 fabrics from the Forbidden City in Beijing. It is the first time these robes have been shown in Europe and whilst I am not sure it is a ‘must see’ show, it is very enjoyable. The robes and fabrics on show are so beautiful and have the most amazing complex weaving and embroidery with inspiring clashes of rich colours, textures and patterns. However it was the shoes that I loved best, the Manchu women didn’t bind their feet so they able to wear the most towering ‘high heels’ which look like lavishly embroidered ballet shoes attached to blocks of wood - one pair even had tiny phoenix birds perched on the toes. Not very practical (probably not the point anyway!) - but amazing.

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