A Manolo Blahnik Exhibition is Coming to Toronto this Spring

If you’re unwilling to spend every cent you earn on an assortment of stunning Manolo Blahnik shoes a la Carrie Bradshaw, you can at least droll over hundreds of them in person (and, inevitably, through your smartphone screen) this spring in Toronto.

From May 16 to January 6, 2019, Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes will make its final and – somewhat surprisingly – only North American stop at the Bata Shoe Museum. After well-attended shows in Milan, Russia, Prague and Madrid (by well-heeled guests, no doubt), the world-class traveling exhibition offers a stunning retrospective of the iconic shoe we all wish we could buy more of.

Anyone whose pedicured foot has graced a Manolo Blahnik shoe knows that the fancy footwear is pretty much a work of art in itself. Appropriately, shoes as art is the underlying theme of the exhibition, as it showcases Blahnik’s inventiveness and artisanship when it comes to creating elegant footwear that crosses the boundaries between fashion and art. For 45 years, Blahnik has used architectural and sculptural lines in his work to transform an everyday accessory into cherished creations of contemporary design.

Within the walls of the Bata Shoe Museum, you’ll soon find a hand-selected assortment of close to 200 shoes and 80 original drawings that reflect Blahnik’s journey, inspiration, and achievements of the past four decades. Guests will gain insight as to how architecture, art, botany, literature, cinema, and travel have played a central role in the creation of his coveted designs.“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,” says Mr. Blahnik. “What an honour for me, to display my shoes and sketches at such an esteemed establishment dedicated to the history of footwear. And Mrs. Bata, what an extraordinary woman – I am sure my shoes will feel very much at home with her divine collection. Toronto is such a fantastic, cultural city, I am thrilled to be returning!” 

Highlights of what will surely be a hot-ticket exhibition – in addition to four decades of iconic footwear – include exclusive footage of the artist at work creating his magic, rare examples of Blahnik’s celebrated drawings and sketches, and the collection of Marie Antoinette shoes created for Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette. We can also expect programming like exclusive tours, workshops, a film series, and a screening of Blahnik’s documentary The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards. Undoubtedly, we’ll likely see a handful of glam cocktail events take over the space, should you be so lucky to score an invite.

“Manolo is fabulously visual, his mind restless and constantly curious about the world,” says Dr. Cristina Carillo de Albornoz, Guest Curator, Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes. “With each style, he tries to capture what he considers the essence of elegance, femininity, and beauty, which he had intertwined with his various cultural and emotional influences.”

The exhibit opens to the public May 16, with tickets just $14 (so you can save your precious dollars for the shoes you’ll leave inspired to splurge on).