‘An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection’ has now opened in London, displaying the most famous shoes from the legendary footwear designer’s archive, set amongst the world-renowned paintings and objects of the collection’s 18th century rooms. Highlighting the common aesthetic territory between the collection’s baroque masterpieces and Blahnik’s own decadent craftsmanship, the exhibition aims to create a dialogue between art and craft.
An internationally outstanding collection of artistic excellence spanning over 800 years, the Wallace Collection has long been a source of creative inspiration to Manolo Blahnik, who has established himself as one of the world’s foremost shoe designers, thanks to his constant intellectual search for the new and the beautiful in art and life, literature and film, in the past and the present. With an artist’s eye for visual detail, Manolo Blahnik has drawn inspiration over many years from the Wallace Collection’s paintings, furniture, porcelain, sculpture and works of art.
Just as the collectors of the works of art in the Wallace Collection sought to acquire the most beautiful, the most captivating and the most precious, Blahnik also seeks to produce shoes of exquisite quality and elegance. The presence of his works in the galleries underlines the artistry and craftsmanship behind what he does: orchestrating a team of skilled artisans to turn his initial sketches into three-dimensional objects in luxurious materials, constantly supervised by the designer himself.
The Wallace Collection, Manolo Blahnik
photography: Gareth Gardner