Manolo Blahnik is a restless miracle maker. He can’t stop sketching, reacting, changing silk scarves on his costumes. And he is really tired of being copied. He states openly whatever he doesn’t like and he reads literature and philosophy. «Manolo Blahnik. The Art of Shoes» is an intimate, carefully curated show spanning 45 years of the Spanish designer’s career. 

Jackie Onassis wore Manolos; Madonna said his shoes were «as good as sex, and they last longer». Princess Diana used to sit on the floor of his studio, chatting to him while she tried on pair after pair. «I feel honored that I will be able to tell my grandchildren, “I met Manolo Blahnik, and I owned some of his shoes”,» said Sarah Jessica Parker, whose role in Sex and the City introduced his creations to a new generation of women. (It has been said that Blahnik’s shoes were the fifth character in the show.)

A black sandal finished with light blue fur and a red lace tied in a bow; black ankle strap and red insole.
Design: Permin (2011) – Water-based paints and pencil  (Courtesy of the State Hermitage Museum)

«A good shoe can change the way you walk totally. Immediately.»


The Art of Shoes is a thematic collection spanning 45 years of work by Manolo Blahnik whose inventiveness and superb artisanship have crossed boundaries between fashion and art, inspiring elegance and perfection. The underlying theme of the exhibition – that shoes are art – aligns perfectly with Blahnik’s own approach to creating footwear.
The display is made up of six thematic sections: Nature, Gala, Art, and Architecture, Heart, Geography, and Materials. The Gala section contains shoes made from the most expensive materials and also footwear that Blahnik created for Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette. The Heart section is devoted to personalities who are important to the designer like Anna Piaggi, Rihanna and Alexander the Great. The Materials section tells about the designer’s atelier and his love of various fabrics. Altogether the exhibition presents 30 original designs and 214 shoes from Manolo Blahnik’s archive.

The touring residency commenced at the Palazzo Morando of Milan and continued in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Since Prague is the paternal home of the Blahnik family, the Art of Shoes was then presented at the Museum Kampa. Next stop: Madrid from 28 November 2017 till 8 March 2018. The exhibition will be transferred to Toronto, Canada, from 16 May 2018 to 6 January 2019. 



Valy Vaimaki