The Manolo Blahnik Archives mark the first time the house’s vast archives are open to the public.
The Manolo Blahnik Archives: ‘A New Way of Walking’ is an interactive virtual exhibition, revealing for the first time the breadth of the house’s archives, highlighting the constant innovation within.
Manolo Blahnik launched of The Manolo Blahnik Archives: A New Way of Walking in celebration of the house‘s momentous 50th anniversary.
Manolo Blahnik‘s virtual fashion world is a culmination of five decades of artistry and family, with five themed spaces celebrating past and present pivotal moments. The interactive exhibition marks the first time the house’s vast archives are open to the public and the first time a collection of Manolo’s extraordinary fashion drawings is displayed.
“It has been such a joy to relive some of the magnificent moments in my career and uncover things I have not thought about or seen for years! Also, to celebrate the team behind Manolo Blahnik is very special to me, none of this would be possible without them.” – Manolo Blahnik
The platform is available to a global audience and the experience is fully certified as AA compliant to ensure it is accessible to all.
The Palette Room houses 80 of Manolo’s fashion sketches arranged in a spectrum, celebrating his endless love and use of colour.
“I have approached colour in a bold way, from all angles and variations. I have played with it, always searching for the poetry of an impossible colour,” says Manolo. Approach a sketch to discover previously untold backstories.
The ‘70s Room tells the story of many ‘firsts’ in the early days of the fashion house, through film clips, newspaper cuttings, unseen portraits, and personal photographs. The room houses a dress from the Ossie Clark 1971 ‘Black Magic’ runway show for which Manolo designed his first collection. He created thick rubber heels and forgot to put steel support rods inside, leaving the shoes structurally unsound and models with an unusual, unbalanced walk. However, press loved them and British photographer Cecil Beaton coined it “a new way of walking”.
12 Friendships is dedicated to the lifelong relationships treasured by Manolo with exceptional people who have guided and influenced his work since the beginning. Featured friends include Diana Vreeland, the former Editor in Chief of American Vogue who encouraged Manolo’s foray into footwear, and Anna Piaggi, the Italian writer and fashion icon for whom he designed and dedicated many styles over the years.
The Gold Room is a celebration of opulence and fantasy, highlighting some of the most exuberant designs, exceptional materials and extraordinary craftsmanship from the past five decades. Alongside archival sketches and materials is the new 50th anniversary capsule – a collection of lavish and quintessentially ‘Manolo’ styles, available to shop within the experience.
The sentiment shared by Aristotle that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is one close to the heart of the Blahnik family. The room “Our Family” captures a snapshot of the house in its 50th year and honours the individuals who have worked alongside Manolo and the Blahnik family to build the house. This space houses portraits of each team member, compiled to form the iconic portrait of Manolo, which was shot by celebrated British photographer Misan Harriman.
The immense project has been a long-term ambition of Kristina Blahnik and was designed under her direction.
“It’s a dream come true to open the first doors to our archive. As the legacy of Manolo Blahnik continues to evolve, the experience will continue to develop and tell its story.” – Kristina Blahnik
Archival content and touchpoints are compiled by renowned curator Judith Clark in conjunction with Manolo Blahnik himself and the in-house Archive team. In the making for over 18 months, Amsterdam-based Rōnin studio have led the build of the experience from its conception.