Toronto Snagged the Final Stop on Manolo Blahnik’s Touring Exhibit

We chatted with the man behind the brand about his legendary designs and more

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Manolo Blahnik sits at a table in his England home, and talked to us about the Manolo Blahik exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum

(Photo: Courtesy Manolo Blahnik)

After exhibits in Milan, Saint Petersburg, Prague and Madrid, Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes will make its only North American stop at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. From May 16 to January 9, highlights from the shoe designer’s four decade-long career will be on display, including almost 200 pairs of shoes and 80 drawings. We caught up with the mega-famous shoe designer to chat about the exhibit, Meghan Markle, and how Sex and the City skyrocketed his career.

On making tough choices, and his favourite pair

“We started with 600 and then edited it down. [The exhibit] needed to feel personal to me, which is why only 200 were chosen. I have many [favourites] but I feel particularly attached to the ‘Ivy’ shoe from my beginning. More than a specific shoe, I think it is the silhouette and design that is recognizable. The attention to balance, the cut and the carefully selected materials are my special touch.”

One of the shoes featured in the Manolo Blahnik exhibit

(Photo: Courtesy Manolo Blahnik)

On the time he almost broke the models

“I designed shoes for Ossie Clark back in the ’70s. It was my very first big opportunity and, as you can imagine, I was very nervous. For this occasion, I designed an ankle strap round toe shoe with a block heel, and I called the design Ossie. However, it could have been my last job! I didn’t put steel to support the heel so when the models where walking down the catwalk they were swinging and not walking very stable… I was completely shocked but turns out everybody loved it! What a relief!”

On getting love from Meghan Markle

“It’s so exciting—she is a beautiful young lady and she is fast becoming one of the biggest style icons of the 21st century!”

On his Sex and the City-boosted fame

“I don’t like to think that I am famous, I have never wanted that. It’s not something which has ever been important to me. I’m very fortunate that people like what I do, I guess that is always a pinch-me moment! I felt very honoured to be able to have the opportunity to meet Diana Vreeland, she was an extraordinary character who I have always admired and always will. She has done great things for this industry and changed the way fashion was being perceived. She was a visionary.”

On the must-have shoe for spring 2018

“A mule—sexy but simple, easy to throw on and off!”

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