Photography by JP Yim/Getty Images

A New Manolo Blahnik Exhibition is Coming to Toronto

MANOLO BLAHNIK: THE ART OF SHOES, the exhibition spanning five decades of the shoe designer’s impressive career, has already made pit stops in Milan, Russia, Prague and Madrid but it has been announced that the final stop on its worldwide run will be at Toronto’s singular Bata Shoe Museum.

Blahnik began his career in 1970, the year he showed his designs to legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland, who told him, “Young man, make things, make accessories, make shoes.” In 1972, Blahnik made shoes to accompany designer Ossie Clark’s runway show and his profile rose shortly thereafter. Bianca Jagger legendarily wore his shoes to her 27th birthday party at Studio 54 in 1977, to which she arrived riding on a white horse. From then on, his sexy stilettos have become a favourite of It Girls such as Princess Diana, Rihanna and the fictional Carrie Bradshaw, whose unflinching love for Manolos turned the designer into a household name — and many would argue was the most potent love affair that occurred on Sex and the City.

“With each style [Manolo] tries to capture what he considers to be the essence of elegance, femininity and beauty, which he has intertwined with his various cultural and emotional influences,” says guest curator Dr. Cristina Carillo de Albornoz. Manolo’ most notable designs include the classic ‘BB’ pointy toe stiletto, the Hangisi pump featuring an ornate crystal buckle on the toe, and the Chaos sandal, a barely-there strappy sandal.

“His place in the shoe history is incontrovertible; his incredible designs have defined fashion for decades. The Bata Shoe Museum is thrilled to be the only North American venue for this remarkable retrospective of Manolo Blahnik’s impressive oeuvre,” says Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum.

Blahnik himself is quite chuffed that his designs will be landing at the Bata as well. “I cannot believe the touring exhibition is coming to an end, but I know that it will end on the most tremendous high at the Bata Shoe Museum,” he said in a statement.  “What an honour for me, to display my shoes and sketches at such an esteemed establishment dedicated to the history of footwear. Toronto is such a fantastic, cultural city, I am thrilled to be returning!”

MANOLO BLAHNIK: THE ART OF SHOES opens on May 16, 2018 and will remain on exhibit through January 6, 2019.