Good day to you my art enthused aficionados,
This past week after a colleagues recommendation, I went to check out the Manolo Blahnik exhibition at the Wallace Collection. Considering I have lived in London my whole life, I had never heard of this museum and all I can say is, wow what a treasure.
(Image courtesy of google images)
As I’m sure you can tell from my earlier posts, I LOVE accessories. The simple art of putting on a statement pair of earrings or a tailored blazer can transform an outfit, however I find shoes can be the most versatile. Block heel black ankle boots can be worn with a pencil dress for work, tucked under slim fit trousers with an oversized jumper for weekend brunches with your friends or with bare legs and a fitted skirt for weekend dinner dates. Talk about worth per wear 😊
Manolo Blahnik, born in the Canary Islands is an household name in this department, made even more infamous as the shoe go to for Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. She really brought these works of art to the forefront of fashion and I have admired the designer for many years. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing of him, there is a great documentary on Netflix called the Boy who made shoes for Lizards – really worth a watch.
When I heard he was showing a limited collection from his archives at the Wallace I knew I had to check it out. The building nestled in the heart of West London is so inviting and as soon as I walked in and was faced with the sweeping split staircase leading to the upper floor, dressed in intricate red tapestry carpet, I knew I would love this place.
I walked through the rooms drinking in the immense variety of statues, jewellery and coats of armour – it really leaves you reeling. To think that this was once their family home, lived in with formal reception rooms and grand ballrooms, it was so quintessentially British. After perusing the ground floor and learning all about artefacts from around the world, we stopped to grab a coffee in the atrium. With the winter sun streaming through the glass ceiling, the excitement about seeing Blahnik’s works of art inspired by this collection mounted.
As we ascended the grand staircase, we were immediately met with the Trellis shoes encased in glass, as if good enough to eat. Moving through the various rooms I loved how the shoes were displayed beneath portraits of women from the 16th/17th century in voluminous dresses with just a peek of intricate shoes peeping out from the hem – Manolo’s shoes could easily have been from the same period.
In the study there was a writing desk which would not have looked out of place in the palace of Versailles and it was so interesting to see how fashion has evolved so much as the centuries have progressed. It’s incredible to think that pale skin and English Rose delicate features were revered, which seems such a far cry from the sun kissed, bronzed aesthetic that we aspire to in our European summers now.
One of the rooms which had long sky lights gracing the ceiling and huge portraits lining the walls literally took your breath away at the scale of it. I also felt a strange sense of deja vu as soon as I entered it and soon realised it’s because it housed Dante’s inferno, which was the key plot point of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno.
The painstaking process of the embellishment, fresh water pearls, beading or use of luxurious leathers or suedes made the shoes seem to hold their own amongst the splendour of this collection, they complemented each other perfectly and I feel so privileged to have seen Manolo’s masterpieces before the collection moves on to another city this week. I feel positively invigorated to pick up my pencil and sketch book myself.
Until next time,take care