25 Of The Most 'Killer Heels' Throughout History

The Brooklyn Museum's latest fashion exhibition is basically your dream closet — if you were a cross between Steven Tyler, the empress dowager of China, and Elton John. The show features over 160 pairs of high heels that have made their mark in history, covering everything from mid-17th-century chopines to 1960s Dior glass slippers (designed by Roger Vivier) to those furry Céline heels from 2013. Also on display: pop-culture gems, like Marilyn Monroe's Ferragamo stilettos and United Nude's black leather platform booties made especially for Lady Gaga.
Alongside the collection of wild-and-crazy Christian Louboutin, Vivienne Westwood, and Prada shoes are six custom short films (directed by Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter, and Rashaad Newsome) that highlight the way heels influence and infiltrate other facets of life — particularly the arts. They're so much more than shoes, they're a way of life.
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Click through to see 25 insane pairs of heels, from a 3-D Iris Van Herpen wedge to Swarovski crystal-embellished Nicholas Kirkwood pumps.
Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe is on display through February 15, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Aperlaï. “Geisha Lines,” Fall 2013. Leather.
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Photo: Lea Ingold/The Brooklyn Museum.
André Perugia. Evening Sandals, 1928–29. Leather, metal.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum.
Roger Vivier for House of Dior. Evening Slippers, 1960. Silk, metal, synthetic, glass.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Christian Louboutin. “Printz,” Spring/Summer 2013–14.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum.
French Boots, 1900–1920. Leather, cellulose.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum.
French Shoes, 1690–1700. Silk, leather.
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Photo: Lea Ingold/The Brooklyn Museum.
Italian Chopine, 1550–1650. Silk, metal.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Prada. Wedge Sandal in Rosso, Bianco, and Nero Leather, Spring/Summer 2012.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Noritaka Tatehana. “Atom,” 2012–13. Faux leather.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Rem D. Koolhaas. “Eamz,” 2004.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Iris van Herpen X United Nude. “Beyond Wilderness,” 2013.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Roger Vivier. “Virgule Houndstooth,” Fall 2014. Calf hair.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Walter Steiger. “Unicorn Tayss,” Spring 2013.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Vivienne Westwood. “Super Elevated Gillie,” 1993.
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Salvatore Ferragamo, Platform Sandal, 1938. Leather, cork.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
JANTAMINIAU. “L’Image Tranquille,” 2013. (Handcrafted by René van den Bezrg.)
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Miu Miu. "Cammeo Baroque" Leather Wedge, Fall/Winter 2006.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Winde Rienstra. “Bamboo Heel,” 2012. Bamboo, glue, plastic cable ties.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Nicholas Kirkwood. Pumps, Spring/Summer 2013. Suede with gold and clear Swarovski crystals.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Christian Louboutin. “Metropolis,” Fall/Winter 2010–11. Calfskin and silver spikes.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum.
Chinese Manchu Woman's Shoe, 19th century. Cotton, embroidered satin-weave silk.
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Photo: Jay Zukerkorn/The Brooklyn Museum.
Chau Har Lee. “Blade Heel,” 2010. Perspex, stainless steel, leather.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum.
Casuccio e Scalera per Loris Azzaro. Sandal, 1974–79. Leather, synthetic material, cotton.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum.
Balenciaga. Block Heel, Spring 2013.
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Photo: Lea Ingold/The Brooklyn Museum.
Beth Levine, Herbert Levine Inc. “Kabuki” Evening Shoe, circa 1965. Silk, metal, wood.
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