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

It's True: You Can Now Own Manolo Blahnik Socks
StyleCaster, March 31st

If you've ever dreamed of owning a Manolo Blahnik collection that would rival Carrie Bradshaw's but decided to pay your rent instead, you might be excited as we are to learn that the brand teamed up with Germany hosiery brand Falke to launch a...Read more

Meeting Mrs B
Vogue.co.uk, March 31st

Sales assistants included a young Manolo Blahnik ("He would always say to me, 'Mrs B, I want to show you my portfolio!' and I said, 'Of course Manolo, bring it in!'"), and early stock comprised pieces by an American designer that was, at the time...Read more

Manolo Blahnik lanceert sokkencollectie met Falke
De Standaard, March 30th

De schoenen van Manolo Blahnik zijn peperduur, want u moet gemiddeld 500 euro neertellen voor een paartje. Maar fans van de schoenenmeester kunnen nu hun hart ophalen: de ontwerper gaat immers in samenwerking met sokkenfabrikant Falke een ...Read more

Manolo Blahnik & Falke Team Up On A Unisex Sock Collection You'll Definitely ...
Bustle, March 27th

Infamous shoe designer Manolo Blahnik is straying away from stilettos with his latest capsule collection, but of course, he's not straying too far from his comfort zone. Blahnik teamed up with German brand Falke for a line of (you guessed it) socks...Read more

Manolo Blahnik, Falke Team Up
WWD, March 27th

“We're a family owned company, too, and just happy to work with Manolo Blahnik,” said Falke, international PR director of the German knitwear manufacturer. Hot pink carnations were arranged to resemble the pompoms that dangle from the socks, while the ...Read more

Manolo Blahnik and Falke Release Sock Collaboration
Footwear News, March 26th

Consummate sock lover Manolo Blahnik has turned his legwear passion into reality for men and women. The U.K.-based designer partnered with German company Falke on a small selection of unisex socks, which went on sale today at Becauselondon.com...Read more

Manolo Blahnik debutta nella calzetteria con Falke
MF Fashion, March 20th

Manolo Blahnik ha lanciato la propria linea di calze in collaborazione con il gruppo tedesco Falke. La collezione, in edizione limitata, comprende tre modelli unisex in diversi colori e texture. I calzini Manolo Blahnik saranno in vendita dal 26 marzo...Read more

J. Mendel's Sample Sale: 75% Discounts, Manolo Blahniks, Loads of Fur
Racked NY, March 11th

Steep cuts can be found on Manolo Blahnik shoes, some of which were designed exclusively for J. Mendel. Some are gently worn while others appear brand new. We found a couple high heel sandals (with sole defects) starting at $50, and prices go up to ...Read more