Immediately after the holidays, on May 11, the exhibition “Manolo Blanik. Shoes as an Art ”representing the work of an outstanding Spanish shoe designer.
The exposition, organized by the State Hermitage together with Manolo Blahnik Interational LTD) with the support of DLT (House of Leningrad Trade), continues the series of Hermitage exhibitions devoted to fashion and design. In total, the exhibition features more than 200 shoes and 30 copyright drawings from the archive of Manolo Blahnik. Such a large-scale exhibition of the master’s work will be held in Russia for the first time. The exhibition runs until 23 July 2017 year.
The exposition of the unique exhibition consists of six thematic sections - "Nature", "Gala", "Art and Architecture", "Heart", "Geography", "Materials" and is a retrospective of shoes created by Manolo Blahnik for 45 years. Such a retrospective shows the development of the individual style of the master, as well as a change in the tastes of society for almost half a century. Producing a utilitarian, in fact, object, the designer brings to it his attitude to beauty, elegance, as well as an idea of an aesthetic ideal. The creation and perception of works of art, which are a reflection of reality, is a way of mastering the world. The works of Manolo Blahnik enter into dialogue with art: the inspiration for him is the collection of world museums, works of architecture, as well as famous and talented people.
The “Gala” section shows shoes made of the most expensive materials, as well as shoes created by Blanic for the film “Marie Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola. Here are collected shoes of unique shapes made of exquisite materials, including those adorned with jewelry. They create the most vivid impression of Blanik's limitless imagination, which made decorative jewelry a characteristic feature of his work.
The models from the “Core” section are dedicated to important personalities for the designer - Anna Piaggi, Rihanna, Cecil Beaton, Brigitte Bardot, Alexander the Great. Behind each shoe are certain images or stories based on memories, details from your favorite books and movies.
Section “Materials” tells about the atelier of the designer and his love for various fabrics. In his works he uses satin, taffeta, velveteen, tweed, cashmere, hand-made lace, wool, linen, cotton, silk brocade, Ottoman silk. In addition to materials in this section of the exhibition, films on the technique of creating shoes are presented.
The Geographic Influences section shows shoes inspired by Blanik's travels around the world and his impressions of England, Italy, Japan, Africa, Spain, as well as Russia, and his special love for the personality of Catherine the Great.
The Nature section is a collection of shoes that Blanika inspired the world of botany to create: it includes flowers, strawberries, palm leaves, cacti in the patterns. The designer equally admires the sea, corals, cliffs and wildlife, including horses and panthers, whose shapes are reflected in some of his shoes.
Shoes are on display in the Architecture and Art section, inspired by architectural monuments, literature, movies or paintings by Francisco de Zurbaran and Francisco de Goya, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Rothko, Pete Mondrian and Alexander Calder and sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
The drawings included in the exposition are not just sketches, but independent works of art made in watercolor and pencil. Blahnik draws shoes after the work on them is completely finished. For his sketches, he selects only a few items from the collection and draws a graphic portrait of them, to some extent transforming into an idealistic version of shoes. Ultimately, the drawings reflect the personality of a talented and impressionable artist who achieves the perfection of lines and shapes in a clear, easy Rococo manner and uses a bright and bold color palette, never losing a sense of proportion.