London has always been a trendy city – a luxury shopping destination, a host to Fashion Week and home to a number of stylish pop-ups. But we’d argue that, this year, London fashion fans have been well and truly spoilt when it comes to the exhibition space. The latest addition to the scene? A new immersive offering from iconic shoe brand Manolo Blahnik, dedicated to the art of footwear. Here’s how to get tickets for Manolo Blahnik: The Craft Room.
Manolo Blahnik: The Craft Room Comes To London
When it comes to creating the perfect pair of shoes, luxury accessories brand Manolo Blahnik has it down to an art. The brand, whose list of high profile clients includes Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Princess of Wales, is known for its exquisite craftsmanship and impeccable attention to detail. It’s this detail, in fact, that lies at the heart of a new immersive exhibition opening in London this October: Manolo Blahnik: The Craft Room.
The exhibition, which is based on a virtual experience that debuted in 2021 to mark the House’s 50th anniversary (and which you can also view in the brand’s online archives), will be taking a physical form in the UK capital for just a few short weeks this autumn. This will also mark the brand’s first multisensory experience with xydrobe, a VR platform dedicated to the experience of luxury fashion, at its new flagship in Mayfair.
Taking a deep dive into the dreams and designs of the heritage shoemaker, Manolo Blahnik: The Craft Room focuses on the stories behind some of the brand’s biggest successes and celebrates the extraordinary craftsmanship that goes into each pair of shoes. And with just 1,000 tickets up for grabs, the exhibition is expected to be a hit with anyone with an interest in fashion.
What Can We Expect From Manolo Blahnik: The Craft Room?
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to step into a virtual space decked out in the House’s signature polka dots, from which they explore the world of Manolo Blahnik. The centre point, a recreation of the designer’s desk, will lead to different ‘rooms’ relating to specific themes in the exhibition.
‘I am delighted to showcase the craft room in our virtual archives, a place to celebrate over 50 decades of my uncle’s illustrious career,’ said Manolo Blahnik CEO Kristina Blahnik, who designed the creative features of the experience. ‘The development of this digital space has been a passion of mine for many years. We hope to educate you on our wonderful and skilled craft of shoemaking and show you first hand how our dedicated artisans bring Manolo’s iconic collections to life. Craftsmanship really is and always will be at the heart of everything we do.’
The virtual room will present eight vignettes that explore the craft process, from design to technique to making:
- The Design: Here, visitors can get some insight into the process of creating a design, with a focus on five shoes created by Manolo Blahnik in each decade of his career.
- Construction: Focusing on the components that make up the brand’s iconic styles, this section looks at the pillars of shoe construction.
- Typologies: See how Manolo Blahnik turned his hand to every category of shoe in his career, before creating his own hybrid typologies.
- Techniques: Decorative accessories take centre stage here, exploring functional and decorative elements like embroidery, beading, patchwork, appliques, buckles, fringing and tassels.
- Accessories: A very important step in the creation of any Manolo Blahnik shoe, the designer said that decorative elements ’emphasise the elegance of the shoe in the most distinctive way.’
- Materials: Find out how the brand sources the materials for its designs and moulds them into its beautiful designs.
- The Making: See Manolo Blahnik’s iconic Hangisi style come to life in a workshop in Italy, following the 60 steps undertaken by skilled artisans.
- Men’s: While now more strongly associated with womenswear, Manolo Blahnik started his career making men’s shoes for the likes of David Hockney, David Bailey and Mick Jagger. Explore how the relaunch of the brand’s men’s collection in 2018 gave the brand opportunity to establish devoted ambassadors.
When & Where Will The Virtual Experience Open?
Manolo Blahnik: The Craft Room runs from 21 October until 5 November 2023, at xydrobe Mayfair.
Dates: 21 October – 5 November 2023
Address: xydrobe Mayfair, 11 Carlos Place, London, W1K 3AX
Tickets are free and available to book now. xydrobe.com
Images courtesy of Manolo Blahnik