An exhibition dedicated to the famous shoe designer Manolo Blahnik is now on display at Prague’s Kampa Museum. Entitled Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes, the exhibition explores the nearly 50-year-long career of the visionary designer. The iconic shoes, which many women know from films and TV series, such as the Sex and the City or Marie Antoinette, will be on display at the Kampa Museum until November 12.
The travelling exhibition, which has currently stopped in Prague, presents Manolo Blahnik not only as a world-famous shoes designer, but also as the son of a Czech emigrant. Blahnik’s father was born in Czechoslovakia and he lived and worked as a pharmacist in Prague, not far from where his son’s exhibition is being staged. He left the country after the Nazi occupation and settled on the Canary Islands, where the designer grew up as a child.
Speaking at the opening of his exhibition, Manolo Blahnik said it actually took him some time to discover his passion for shoe-making:
“It took me about 15 years to get to understand how to make shoes. But I did have that from the beginning this incredible love for working with my hands and cutting silk. It has been a real pleasure.”
The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections, examining the recurring topics of the designer’s inspiration, such architecture, art, botany, or geography. Visitors can also learn how the shoes are created from films that show the designer working in his studio.
Curator Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, together with Blahnik, selected 80 original drawings and 212 pairs of shoes out of Blahnik’s private archive, which contains more than 30,000 styles.
“Blahnik has achieved what only few artists have done. To create his own language, a style of his own, which is instantly recognizable worldwide and which has set a new tone for modern fashion. The Art of Shoes exhibition aims to go beyond fashion, exploring the most creative side of this man and we invite visitors to see shoes as mister Blahnik creates them, as artistic objects of their own.”
The section entitled Gala contains shoes made from the most expensive materials and also footwear created for Sophia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette. The models in the Heart section are devoted to personalities who are important to the designer, such as Anna Piaggi, Brigitte Bardot or Rihanna.
The travelling exhibition Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes only makes stops at locations that have a personal connection to the designer. It started last year at the Palazzo Morano in Milan, a fashion capital and home to the factories manufacturing Manolo Blahnik’s shoes, and it then moved to the State Museum Hermitage in St Petersburg, which is a constant source of inspiration for the designer.
From Prague it will move on to Madrid, a city close to the designer’s heart, before finally landing in the Baťa Museum in Toronto.