Pair of Shoes thumbnail 1
Pair of Shoes thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Shoes

1976-77 (made)
Place of origin

Pair of clear "jelly" sandals (now yellowed).

Object details

Object type
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Shoe
  • Shoe
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Shoes, clear plastic 'jelly' sandals, Great Britain, mid to late 1970s
Physical description
Pair of clear "jelly" sandals (now yellowed).
Object history
Registered File number 1994/967, Streetstyle exhibition 1994-1995, in the exhibition it was part of an outfit called 'Punk UK 1976-77' (includes the trousers T.614-1994, the T-shirt T.615-1994, the shirt T.613-1994 and the shoes (stilettos) T.616-1994).

Part of a female Punk outfit (T.612 to 617-1994) that was put together and worn by Christine Powell, who could not afford the real Punk fashions such as those by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, and so devised her own low-cost version of the look by customising a old shirt and skirt. She wore this ensemble both day and evening by changing her shoes, for day wear she wore plastic jelly sandals (T.617:1, 2-1994) and for evening, she wore white plastic stilettos (T.616:1, 2-1994).

"'I was an art school punk. At first I kept my hair long and just dyed it odd colours. But eventually I shaved it off. Cropped hair was really shocking in those days. But on the whole I remember punk as being friendly, anti-racist and non-aggressive - that was why we liked it,' explains Powell. 'I think that there was a kind of naive political reaction going on but I was only 16. Punks were mainly nice individual people who felt slightly out of sync with the rest of society. All the Mohican hair stuff is a bit of a media myth.'

'My friend Lesley made the shirt for me and we both added chains and things to it. We'd make jewellery out of paper clips and safety pins and painted them red and black. The trousers were made from a skirt I had, I think they're just safety-pinned together on the inside. I don't think that was a statement, it was probably more to do with the fact that I had thin legs.

'Some punks who were not at all racist would wear nazi symbols. This was a way of saying 'let's devalue these clothes and take away the stigma attached to them'. I understand now that it was probably incredibly offensive to people and you really can't play around with imagery like that.'

'We never bothered with drugs, and I didn't want to be associated with the aggressive element. At the beginning it was fun and positive; if you met another punk you'd talk about the clothes you were wearing. Soon it became almost mainstream and too far removed from what it started out as so I gave up on it. We moved out of being punks quite quickly as we got into different music. I realised as I got older that I didn't want to be labelled as just one thing, and that it was, in fact, restraining me.'"

(Christine Powell, interviewed by Sarah Callard for "The British supermarket of style", published in The Independent, Saturday 25 September 1994)
Bibliographic reference
Surfers, Soulies, Skinheads & Skaters : Subcultural Style from the Forties to the Nineties Described in the exhibition publication, part of an outfit called 'Punk UK 1976-77'.
Accession number
T.617:1, 2-1994

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Record createdApril 15, 2009
Record URL
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