MANOLO BLAHNIK ‘AN ENQUIRING MIND’ EXHIBITION AT THE WALLACE COLLECTION IN LONDON
Manolo Blahnik exhibits his archival styles among one of the great private collections of the late Renaissance.
June 24, 2019
The grand setting seemed an ideal location for the retrospective Manolo Blahnik ‘An Enquiring Mind’ exhibit as one of the half-dozen greatest shoemakers ever to have worked in fashion. “After seeing my creations installed here, I think maybe I should take up painting,” quipped Manolo Blahnik.
The Manolo Blahnik ‘An Enquiring Mind’ exhibition is, in effect, a dialogue between Blahnik’s footwear and the fine art in this rare collection that inspired him. This rare concept show is also a great reason to visit the somewhat forgotten Wallace Collection, which must rank as one of the top 100 museums in the world. This exciting venture juxtaposes an icon from the world of contemporary fashion with Wallace’s outstanding collection that has been an inspiration to artists since it opened to the public in 1900.
160 of Blahnik’s shoes are placed in glass chambers – the sort where one normally expects to find stuffed birds. The exhibition is co-curated with Dr. Xavier Bray, director of the Wallace Collection, who carefully positioned scores of Blahnik’s most famous creations inside the 18th-century rooms of Hertford House, a massive neoclassical mansion in Marylebone.
The art is quite truly remarkable; from the 11 paintings by Fragonard; an incredible room full of fantastic vistas of Venice by Canaletto; a half-dozen works by Rembrandt including two self-portraits and a magnificent oil of his son Titus; Rubens, Titian, Velázquez. You name it, quite frankly.
The shoes are themed into a series of ideas reflecting the art and furniture of key rooms; from Commedia dell’arte and High Baroque, to Connoisseurs and Collectors and Love and Passion.
A section entitled Opulence, in a room know as Boudoir – noted for its unique collection of diamond-mounted gold boxes – is a fitting location for some crystal-encrusted delicate shoes; the sort which graced the great runway shows of John Galliano when he was in his pomp at Christian Dior.
‘An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik’ runs from June 10th to September 1st, 2019 at the Wallace Collection.