Early last month I took off to Europe to meet with clients in Paris and London, and managed to take in a few exhibitions. Down the street from my hotel in London is one of my favorite museums, The Wallace Collection, filled with fine and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th centuries. Paintings, sculptures, furniture, and one of my most coveted works of art – Sèvres porcelain – fill the walls and floors of the former townhouse of Richard Seymour-Conway and the 4th Marquess of Hertford. On view while I was visiting was a very personal exhibition of master of shoes, Manolo Blahnik. Blahnik has often turned to the Wallace Collection for inspiration in creating his luxurious, sometimes daring, and extremely beautiful shoes. For this presentation, he worked with the curators to select pieces from his archive that correspond to each gallery, showing the craftsmanship and artful details of both his designs and the collections. Each shoe(s) was shown in glass cloches, articulating their elegance and preciousness. I was most drawn to a selection of heels sitting beneath Fragonard’s painting, The Swing. It was the chicest gesture, which is not surprising for the world’s most revered shoe designer.
An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection is on view through September 1, 2019.