Who would imagine the son of a Spanish mother and a Czech father growing up on a banana plantation in the Canary Islands would become Manolo Blahník, the most celebrated shoe designer of all time? The Kampa Museum in Prague is the latest stop for an international exhibition of over 214 pairs of Manolo’s divinely inspired footwear.
The exhibition opens with Manolo appearing in a charming video offering his six rules to success:
1.) Always look Impeccable. (Don’t tell Manolo I’m writing this in my drugstore MukLuks, sweatpants and hair modeled after Medusa.) 2.Always check everything, at least twice. (if only that were enough…) 3. Remember to have fun. (absolutely!) 4. Be curious. (of course!) 5. Keep going. (I try, but some days…) 6. Be true to your style. (Um…what’s my style?)
Curator Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz describes Manolo’s style as “…the ideal balance between beauty, quality and comfort.” COMFORT!!! What about all those women who’ve had the Cinderella treatment, meaning corrective foot surgery to squeeze into his shoes…then again, maybe it was all worth it. You be the judge.
Manolo claims no one ever needed to teach him to swim or to draw. I can’t vouch for his dog paddle, but his playful watercolors are a great insight into the way he conceives a design.
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Where would Sofia Coppola’s MARIE ANTOINETTE be without Manolo? Over a dozen of his meticulously researched shoes are featured in a frothy montage of exploding champagne, Vatel inspired bonbons and alas, a pug dog wearing a jeweled necklace. Let them eat cake, indeed.
If you missed this show when it blew through the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Milan or here in Prague, you can still catch it in Madrid or Toronto. Or, I suppose, you could go out and a buy a pair…