Table of contents:
- About Russia
- About talents and fans
- About the arrangement of the exhibition
- About the beloved empress
- Why you need heels in principle
- About favorite shoes
- About unloved shoes
- Cooperation with Vetements and ugly chic
- About beauty
Video: Manolo Blahnik: "Shoes Will Help You Achieve Whatever You Want"
Photo: Getty Images
The retrospective “Manolo Blahnik. Shoes as art”. The exhibition, organized by the State Hermitage in cooperation with Manolo Blahnik's studio with the support of DLT, will continue until 23 July and will show shoes personally selected by the designer from tens of thousands of models created by him over a 45-year career. In total, the exposition presents more than 200 shoes and 30 author's drawings from the archive of Manolo Blahnik, made in watercolors and pencils. The retrospective format allows you to trace the development of the individual style of the master, which changes along with the fashion and taste of society. The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections: "Nature", "Gala", "Art and Architecture", "Heart", "Geography" and "Materials".
On the eve of the opening of the exhibition at DLT, a public talk was held with the designer, at which he confessed his love for Russian culture and told why he did not favor shoes on the platform.
I am Spanish by birth, but Czech blood also flows in me. My mother read Pushkin's Tales to me, and my father, a Czech, spoke Russian, so I have been in love with Russian culture since childhood. And I have been to Russia many, many times: I love this country. And I love St. Petersburg more than any other city in the world. Therefore, it was terribly strange for me to see, when we were walking around the city, signs "For Sale" in the windows of many houses - how can you do it, in no case do not leave!.. After all, this is the only city in Europe where you can feel the spaciousness. And here I saw the most touching scene that I have ever seen in recent years. I saw young ladies - very young ladies - walking down the street with their grandparents. That was your Victory Day. They laughed and almost danced. Here it is, life. It was so touching that I almost shed a tear.
About talents and fans
I myself have not yet really had time to see my own exhibition - I was immediately taken to get acquainted with the journalists. And I, you know, for some reason was quite sure that no one here knows who I am at all. But, as it turned out, I was very wrong. I was even stopped in the street to take a picture. Nobody did tattoos with my autographs (and this happened once), but a lot of people came to meet me. So when I got to DLT - this is the department store that sells my shoes here - there was already a real crowd. And there were many girls who bought new shoes, especially for me to sign for them.
About the arrangement of the exhibition
It was not at all difficult to choose just 200 pairs of shoes out of thousands that we have made over the years! So, perhaps, only it seems from the outside. Although I am sorry that we were not able to include modern models in the exhibition. And some of my favorite shoes - plastic, titanium, aluminum … Everything that is more theatrical and elegant is collected here. In the section "Geographical influences" you will see shoes inspired by travels around the world and my impressions of England, Italy, Japan, Spain, African countries, as well as Russia - in particular, my special love for Catherine the Great. In general, I am very inspired by historical figures. In France, for me, such an example is Marie Antoinette. Of course, you know her sad fate. And yet she did a lot for the French textile industry. If we draw a parallel with Russia,Catherine is such an outstanding historical person here for me. For example, without her, St. Petersburg would not have had such a luxurious museum as the Hermitage.
About the beloved empress
I became interested in Catherine after once having been on an excursion in the Kremlin. I got there shortly before closing time and must have annoyed all the staff very much: I walked through all the halls for an infinitely long time, examined, photographed everything … I was already asked to leave, but I still could not tear myself away! Yes, I am very inspired by Russian culture. And then I was especially impressed by the dresses of Catherine the Great, exhibited there, luxurious, with the thinnest waists. They literally stunned me. Such beauty! And then, later, I was in Catherine's rooms in the Hermitage. And there suddenly a thing appeared that upset me terribly: in the midst of all this beauty, which was clearly selected by a man of delicate taste, there were plastic plants. Can you imagine? The Empress would hardly have approved of that.
Why you need heels in principle
Diana Vreeland opened the world of fashion for me. Paloma Picasso was also my style icon. I can continue this list of heroines endlessly, but I will say that a beautiful woman, of course, is not made by clothes or shoes, but by herself, her personality. Clothes and shoes are just an addition. But in the right clothes and in the right shoes, with heels, it is easier for a woman to feel like a woman - beautiful, confident, seductive. You can also be feminine in flat shoes. But this is more complicated. And when a woman puts on high-heeled shoes, her gait immediately changes, her silhouette and figure change, her sense of self changes, she moves in a different way, behaves differently.
About favorite shoes
The exhibition features one pair that I created over 20 years ago. This model, in which I tried to reflect the spirit of the time, and it was with her that I was chosen as a costume designer for one famous American TV series - "Sex and the City". As you know, I became very famous thanks to him. The series was able to show that period very realistically, and it is important for me that I became a part of this story. But today, of course, I no longer associate myself exclusively with him. Time has passed and I have changed.
About unloved shoes
In the post-war period, money was scarce, so shoes were made from inexpensive materials such as cork and wood. It was then that the fashion for the platform appeared. In the 70s, when I started, it was she who was in fashion. But I went against the trend and still don't recognize platform shoes. The platform destroys the image, in addition, it is absolutely inconvenient.
Cooperation with Vetements and ugly chic
When Vetements representatives contacted me, I, frankly, did not know anything about this brand. And then I looked, I realized that they were so slightly insane - and I liked it. If something catches me, if I see something special in a person, I always agree to cooperate - money in these matters is not important to me. I love working with people, I love collaboration, I love this feeling when you are incredibly fascinated by a new person and his ideas. So the Vetements team and I started discussing what we could do. I immediately said that I wanted to make such impossible boots so that they would just shout: "Too much!" - and they asked me for a long time whether I was sure of this, wouldn't it be too much? But we made them, of course.
In general, the aesthetics of this brand, all this ugly chic, is practically the opposite of mine - I am attracted by the "correct", refined beauty. But this is what makes these stories especially interesting. Demna actively uses the post-Soviet theme: bad taste, bad quality and deliberately "poor
For me, beauty is in everything. Look around: we are surrounded by things created by man. They are all beautiful. It's the same with people. Each of those around us has something of their own. In general, I believe that beauty should be sought and found in everything. At the beginning of my career, I received advice from Diana Vreeland to think not about shoes, but about a work of art when working. I have memorized these words forever and still treat my work as art, creating beauty. I am very glad that I managed to connect my life with beauty. I was brought up in a very strict system with my own clear schedule and schedule, but I always tried to move away from this and approach the business spontaneously, creatively. I believe that today young people are much more free, the creative experience is more accessible to them. And this is very cool. Remember Anna Piaggi:every day she created a new image, every day she created beauty. I am sure that everyone can create beauty. Be it shoes, jewelry, your own image or something else.
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