Calling all shoe lovers: There’s a new Manolo Blahnik exhibition in the UK

This week marks the opening of a exclusive exhibition co-curated by arguably the most famous shoe designer in the world, Manolo Blahnik.

Featuring over a hundred and fifty pairs of never before seen shoes from designer’s private archives An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection provides a unique opportunity to observe the designs among the masterpieces that inspired them.

Since opening to the public in 1900, the Wallace Collection has been a source of inspiration to numerous artists over the years including Manolo Blahnik, who’s been a regular visitor to Hertford House, sourcing inspiration for his designs from the magnificent art, furniture and porcelain within the renowned collection.

Open to the public, for free, from 10th June – 1st September An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at the Wallace Collection features a personally selected edit of shoe designs from the private archives of Manolo Blahnik, with pairs of never-before-seen designs making their debut appearance.

Running through ten magnificently curated rooms the exhibition includes over 160 pairs of Manolo Blahnik’s signature and statement styles, with each space curated to provide a unique exploration of a theme, trend or art piece associated with the designers work.

Set among the masterpieces of the Wallace Collection, this exciting exhibition juxtaposes ‘an icon from the world of contemporary fashion’ with Wallace’s renowned collection providing ‘a rare opportunity to see excellence in contemporary design alongside the exceptional quality of the Wallace Collection’s own art’ works.

Director of the Wallace Collection, Dr Xavier Bray, shared: ‘This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to showcase the way in which the Wallace Collection has inspired one of the world’s greatest fashion minds. It also enables our audiences to see the collection in a new light and make connections between the many artistic disciplines to be found in the museum.’

Visitors are taken on a journey through Blahnik’s imagination, spanning the theatre and spectacle of the Commedia dell’arte, the fashions inspired by Blahnik’s native Spain, 18th -century Rococo style, his own personal interpretation of Englishness and much more.

The full diversity of Blahnik’s work is on display, from the candy-coloured shoes designed for Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film, Marie Antoinette (original illustration seen below) alongside Fragonard’s Swing and Boucher’s Mme de Pompadour, to his carefully worked, jewel-encrusted shoes which reflect the diamond-mounted gold boxes and delicately painted miniatures of the Wallace Collection’s Boudoir Cabinet.

Visit the Wallace Collection for further information and details on the exhibition’s opening times and entry. And as it’s located just behind Oxford Street, perhaps you can even do little shoe shopping of your own while you’re there.

Words by Sarah-Rose Harrison