Manolo Blahnik Exhibition at the Wallace Collection


If I had shoes like this, I’d keep them under a glass dome on the mantelpiece too!

Have you even meant to visit the Wallace Collection when in London and then been distracted by Selfridges en route?

Well if you’re in town this weekend and can spare the time, you can be one of the final visitors to see the wonderful Manolo Blahnik exhibition which showcases shoes from Blahnik’s private archives alongside pieces in the Wallace collection that relate to them, including the slippers inspired by ‘The Swing’ -one of the world’s most risque paintings.

The last day is Sunday 27th October and it’s Free!

Not for walking the Dog

Perhaps, like me, you don’t know much about Manolo Blahnik shoes other than that they are expensive, impractical, if not impossible to wear outdoors, and exquisitely beautiful. Many’s the time I’ve pressed my nose against the shop window in the Burlington Arcade in awe, as they are like no other shoes.

A little Luxury, Beauty and History for your Feet

Now I know why they are different. What the exhibition shows is how much inspiration Manolo, the master shoe designer, has drawn from objects in the collection. He has spent many hours in the museum and archives. Each shoe is full of history and, as the Wallace Catalogue says, they ‘evoke a world of luxury and beauty and echo the qualities of skill and creativity found in the art.’

The shoes are displayed throughout the Collection set next to themes and objects that have ‘found their expression in the shoes.’

The Swing – Outrageously Rude

One of the most fun exhibits is the juxtaposition of a splendid selection of pink Blahnik slippers with Fragonard’s Les Hasards Heureux de L’Escarpolette – or ‘The Swing’, which he painted because he needed the money, but which is now considered his most iconic work. A cursory glance at the painting suggests a chocolate boxey picture of a lady in a pink dress of Molly Goddard/Vilanelle proportions, having a nice time on a swing flinging her shoe into the air.

A second glance shows a delighted lover enjoying an unhindered view up her skirts as she lifts her leg. Meantime, behind her, the cuckolded husband is pushing the swing, while a cherub looks on with his finger to his lips in a sort of complicit secrecy.

It’s highly suggestive, beautifully painted and depicts just the sort of thing one should be doing in one’s Manolo’s!

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