Friday, June 1, 2018

Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes ~ A Retrospective at the Bata Shoe Museum

Manolo Blahnik has risen to fame as one of the world's most famous contemporary shoe designers. From delicate and incredibly intricate shoes, to daring and cutting edge designs,  the singular talent of Manolo Blahnik has secured him a place in the history of fashion, and earned accolades and awards from all over the world. It was inevitable that a retrospective of his work would be staged, and the Bata Shoe Museum is honoured to have been personally chosen by Mr. Blahnik as the final stop on its tour around the world. Composed of over 200 shoes from his private archives, Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes is an homage to the work of an incredible shoe designer.







Guest-curated by Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, the intimate and thematic exhibition premiered in January 2017 at the Palazzo Morando in Milan.  From there it made stops in  Prague, St. Petersburg and Madrid, before travelling to Toronto for it's only North American stop.  An international team, including the curatorial department of the Bata Shoe Museum, worked for over a year to create an environment at the museum that showcased Mr. Blahnik's shoes in a way which would allow visitors to understand what moves and inspires Mr. Blahnik. According to Mr. Blahnik, his desire for the tour to end at the BSM was because he felt his shoes would be among friends here, as he expressed his admiration for the museum's collection and the work of it's founder Sonja Bata.








Mr. Blahnik prides himself on being first and foremost a craftsman and a technician, and it is this aspect of his work that continues to inspire and challenge him.  Every Manolo Blahnik shoe is designed by Mr. Blahnik, and each design begins life as a sketch.  Over 80 of these original sketches are on display in the gallery, many alongside the shoe they would eventually become, allowing visitors a glimpse into the process that goes into making these unique works of art.  His designs are driven by many sources of inspiration, including the natural world, history, personal muses, art and architecture. 








The BSM was honoured to have Mr. Blahnik join over 350 people at the museum for the opening of the exhibition, which was celebrated with a party fit for shoemaking royalty.  Guests had the opportunity to be among the first to see that exhibition and to meet the man whose shoes have never been more in demand - 44 years after he opened his first store in London.  





 Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes runs at the Bata Shoe Museum until January 6th, 2019. 


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