The who’s who of Toronto’s fashion scene and society pages put their best Manolo-clad foot forward and hit the Bata Shoe Museum on Tuesday, May 15 for a glamorous party to celebrate the arrival of the anticipated Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes exhibit.

Jeanne Beker, Mary Symons

Jeanne Beker, Mary Symons


Between air kisses, clinking glasses, and outfit compliments at the jam-packed venue , the assortment of well-heeled guests heard from Mr. Blahnik himself, who was in town for the occasion. They learned that the reason for choosing Toronto as the only North American stop of the exhibition was highly influenced by the vision of Bata Shoe Museum founder – the late Sonja Bata – who passed away in February.


Now until January 6, 2019, Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes brings hundreds of Blahnik’s coveted creations to Toronto for a fashionable affair like no other, after well-attended shows in Milan, Russia, Prague, and Madrid. It offers a visually stunning retrospective of the iconic shoe with an inside look into Blahnik’s journey, inspiration, creative process, and achievements over the past forty years.


Offering beautiful (and ever-so-Instagram-worthy) footwear at every turn, the exhibit features some 200 hand selected Manolo Blahnik shoes of all colours, designs, and shapes – each with its own unique backstory that will make you love them more. Guests gain insight and understanding of how architecture, art, botany, literature, cinema, and travel have influenced Blahnik’s work in transforming an everyday accessory into the celebrated creations of contemporary design that became Carrie Bradshaw’s obsession. Shoes as art is the underlying theme of the exhibition, as it showcases Blahnik’s inventiveness and artisanship in creating the fancy footwear that seamlessly fuses fashion with art.

Within the walls of the museum, you’ll find dozens of original drawings and sketches, deconstructed parts and fabrics used to make the shoes, exclusive footage of the artist at work, pieces from Blahnik’s first-ever collection, and an assortment of Marie Antoinette shoes created for Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette.

To complement the exhibition, the Bata Shoe Museum presents Exclusively Manolo, a series of programming to celebrate the exhibition, including exclusive tours, workshops, and a film series. As a memento, guests can purchase an accompanying fully illustrated catalogue published by Skira/Rizzoli, written by the exhibition’s curator Dr. Cristina Carillo de Albornoz, based on extensive conversations with Blahnik.

Be warned in advance: This exhibit may cause a significant dent in your credit card when your own shoe collection suddenly seems inadequate.

Photos by Nick Lee

In Photos: Street Style at Square One
At Second Harvest's Toronto Taste 2018 with Bob Blumer

Erin Davis