LONDON — It’s an aesthetic match made in heaven: Art, architecture and history buff Manolo Blahnik is teaming with the Wallace Collection, a trove of fine and decorative arts and Old Master works, on a show meant to spotlight some of the designer’s great inspirations, WWD has learned.
When he’s not working or traveling, Blahnik likes to spend time wandering the grand rooms of The Wallace Collection, a few minutes’ walk from his company’s headquarters in Marylebone, taking in paintings by Rembrandt, Titian, Rubens, Velazquez, Canaletto and Boucher crowded onto the silk-covered walls.
Frans Hals’ painting “Laughing Cavalier” hangs there, as does Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Rococo work, “The Swing,” which shows a little silk slipper flying off a young woman’s foot toward her lover. Built up in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Marquesses of Hertford and an heir, Sir Richard Wallace, the collection is among the most significant bodies of European fine and decorative arts in the world.
“The Swing” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard at The Wallace Collection in London.
“They were the Gettys of the 19th century,” Blahnik said in an interview, referring to the family’s impulse to collect, “and the collection is just extraordinary. It’s like going to a private home, and wonderful in