A banana plantation in the Canary Islands is not the first place most people would associate with high fashion, but that’s where acclaimed shoe designer Manolo Blahnik grew up. Based in London since 1968, Blahnik left his home in Santa Cruz de la Palma in 1965 to study architecture at the University of Geneva and art at L’École du Louvre in Paris.

This unique confluence of rural upbringing and cosmopolitan interests endeared Blahnik to friends like Paloma Picasso who, in 1971, introduced him to Diana Vreeland, the then-editor of “Vogue.” “Your shoes in these drawings are so amusing,” she famously told Blahnik after looking through his portfolio. “Go make shoes.”

Make shoes he did, designing for a boutique in Chelsea called Zapata, which he bought and renamed after himself in 1973. The financing for the purchase was the result of Blahnik’s first big break in 1972, when 1960s fashion icon Ossie Clark invited him to design shoes for his latest collection. Blahnik never looked back.

Blahnik’s shoes have always had one foot, if you will, in fashion and the other in architecture. A very early design from 1971 for Kansai Yamamoto featured a brick-shaped shoe made out of cork and covered in patent leather. In 1976, a shoe called Guge featured straps that were inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

At other times in his career, Blahnik has treated his shoes almost as figures, bedecking a simple blue mule from the 1980s, for example, with a contrasting coral necklace on the vamp. His slides and slippers often drip with costume jewels until they resemble a Miriam Haskell or Trifari confection from the 1930s, ’40s, or ’50s. No wonder noted collectibles author Judith Miller has described Blahnik’s shoes as “jewelry for the feet.”

One of the last one-man operations in the fashion industry, Blahnik is known for his craftsmanship and attention to even the smallest details. Despite his success, he carves the wooden lasts (or molds) for his shoes himself, as well as the heels. And even though he has a factory in Italy turning out his high-heel pumps, mid-heel halters, and sandals with vine-like ankle wraps, the handwork on Manolos, as they are collectively known, is so extensive that less than 100 pair are produced a day.

Over the years, Manolos have accented the fashions of everyone from Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior to Calvin Klein and Isaac Mizrahi. Clients have included two of Mick Jaggar’s wives (Bianca and Jerry Hall), Princess Di, Jackie O., Madonna, and Marge Simpson who, though not a client in the strict sense, reveals the extent of Blahnik’s reach into popular culture. Indeed, the obsession of the Carrie Bradshaw character in “Sex and the City,” which debuted in 1998, made Manolo Blahnik a household name.


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Recent News: Manolo Blahnik Shoes

Source: Google News

Jennifer Lawrence to Star in Steven Spielberg-Directed Film; Plus, Her Top ...
Footwear News, March 5th

Jennifer Lawrence just landed the lead role in the adaptation of “It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War,” the memoir of war photographer Lynsey Addario, to be directed by Steven Spielberg. Lawrence will be Spielberg's first female lead...Read more

It Girl, It Trend: Loan Chabanol
W Magazine, March 5th

Tanya Taylor dress, $675, Bergdorf Goodman, New York, 212.753.7300; Melissa Kaye Jewelry gold and diamond earrings, $1,980, melissakayejewelry.com; Manolo Blahnik sandals, $725, Manolo Blahnik, New York, 212.582.3007. Portrait by Maurizio ...Read more

Giannico, il designer 19enne che ha conquistato Manolo Blahnik con le sue ...
Il Fatto Quotidiano, February 27th

Ha avuto una benedizione persino da Mr. Manolo Blahnik in persona che l'ha incitato a lanciare la sua prima linea di scarpe nell'autunno-inverno 2013. A soli 19 anni è già un “enfant prodige of footwear”. Sì perché Nicolò Beretta, in arte Giannico, non...Read more

Keira Knightley Steps Out in Manolo, Talks Movies & Margaritas
Footwear News, February 18th

Keira Knightley continues to have one of the boldest and most fashionable pregnancies we can remember. The actress stepped out on Sunday in a pair of velvet pink Manolo Blahnik pumps for Alexander Lewis, which paired nicely with her custom red dress, ...Read more

Oscar Fever: Winning Picks from Manolo Blahnik, Stuart Weitzman + More
Footwear News, February 17th

It's an Academy Awards race to the finish. The 87th annual ceremony will showcase the best in film, and hopefully in footwear too. Here, the industry casts their votes. Manolo Blahnik Best Picture: “'Boyhood' because it is real story and its...Read more

Zac Posen and Tommy Hilfiger's Star-Studded Front Rows at Fashion Week
Footwear News, February 17th

the only thing that dazzled — it was one of the most star-studded shows yet. Christina Hendricks, Katie Holmes, Mary J. Blige and Coco Rocha were on hand, and Rihanna made waves with a chic, tailored dress paired with matching Manolo Blahnik pumps...Read more

Cover Story: Manolo Blahnik, An Artist's Eye
Footwear News, February 2nd

Last month, on the same day Manolo Blahnik celebrated John Galliano's much-anticipated return to fashion at the Maison Margiela couture show, the footwear veteran marked a new beginning as well. After 42 years in business, Blahnik debuted his first...Read more

Beauty editor goes 'full-on crazy' at Manolo Blahnik sample sale
Page Six, October 29th

Fashion editors became ferocious at the annual Manolo Blahnik sample sale on Wednesday, including one pushy beauty editor who went “full-on crazy.” The one-day, deep-discount sale annually sparks hysteria among fashionistas, and this year's event on ...Read more