Manolo Blahnik, perhaps the biggest name in women’s shoes, is no stranger to fashion-obsessed Milan. But from 26 January to 17 April 2017, you’ll be able to find his sublime creations not only in boutiques but in the Palazzo Morando as part of an exhibition that explores the visionary designer’s 45 year long career, his influences and his design process.
The exhibit, titled ‘Manolo Blahnik – the Art of Shoes’, will display over 200 pairs of shoes from and over 80 sketches by Blahnik from different points in his storied career. The exhibit is divided into six sections, the first of which is titled ‘Gala’ and will display the designer’s most inventive and conceptual designs, and includes several pieces that were used in Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette. The following sections of the exhibit will examine how different cities have influenced Manolo Blahnik’s design process, how art and architecture have played a role in informing his style, and how nature and botany in particular has inspired his creations, which are often heralded as the pinnacle of femininity and style. The exhibit will also showcase some of the beautiful raw materials used by Blahnik in crafting his collection, as well as a gallery dedicated to the people who were most influential in his career, including Anna Piaggi, the former editor of Vogue Italia, and actress Brigitte Bardot.
‘Manolo Blahnik – The Art of Shoes’ will tour only cities that hold some personal significance to Manolo Blahnik himself. Milan is the first stop, naturally, as this is the city where Manolo Blahnik shoes are handcrafted, and where Blahnik himself spends a few months of every year inspecting the factories and inputting his influence to today’s creations. Next is St Petersburg’s State Museum Hermitage, a constant source of wonder for Blahnik, followed by the Czech Republic (Blahnik’s paternal home), then Madrid, the designer’s current home and finally to Toronto, Canada where it will be exhibited in the BATA Shoe Museum.
The exhibit coincides with a new book about by Dr Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, fashion writer and the exhibit’s curator, which will be on sale at the Palazzo Morando.
Photo Credit: David Hughes July 2016