Photography by George Pimentel

A Look Inside the Bata Shoe Museum’s Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes

Last night, an exclusive group of journalists, influencers and general fashion luminaries of Toronto gathered at the Bata Shoe Museum to celebrate the opening night of the globe-trotting exhibition Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes. At a press preview earlier in the day, Blahnik called the museum’s founder, Sonja Bata, “a legend” and said that he was “happy and humbled” to be in Toronto for the kickoff of the retrospective exhibition, before drawing a laugh from the crowd as he announced that he didn’t know what to say because he had misplaced his notes.

The exhibition itself is essentially a “greatest hits album” of all the noteworthy shoes Blahnik has designed since his career began in the 1970s, including space age Jetson-esque creations from the early 2000s as well as his recent thigh-high boot collaboration with Vetements. Shoe enthusiasts will experience a feast for the senses taking in all of Blahnik’s delicate, spindly-heeled creations. (Frankly, my feet hurt just looking at all the shoes, but I’m partial to a low chunky heel.) In addition to the marvellously ornate footwear, many of the heels are displayed alongside watercolour sketches of Blahnik’s original artistic vision for the shoe.

A standout section of the exhibition is dedicated to the cotton candy coloured heels Blahnik designed especially for Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, Marie Antoinette. From pointy pink mules with dainty rosettes to baby blue mules with crystal buckles, they’re the stuff of pastel rococo dreams.

Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes is on now until January 6th, 2019. Here’s your first look inside the sumptuous exhibition, courtesy of notable Toronto lensman George Pimentel.