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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Shoes

All About Shoes

From Canada's Bata Shoe Museum comes a visually impressive exhibit focusing on the history of the shoe from traditi… [read review or visit site]

Virtual Shoe Museum

Virtual Shoe Museum

This virtual museum from Shoe Icons Publishing showcases over 800 pairs of shoes and related reference information.… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Manolo Blahnik Taislao Black 8 38 Leather Pointed Chain Pump Shoe $845 Hlx979Authentic Manolo Blahnik Bb Cobalt Blue Suede Pumps Shoes-37Manolo Blahnik Cut Out Vamp Gray 8.5 38.5 Patent Pointed Pump Shoe $875 Hlx977Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather Open Toe Mary Jane Heels Size 39Manolo Blahnik Black Textile Bow Point Toe Pumps Size 35.5Manolo Blahnik Soussaba Black 8.5 38.5 Leather Point Ballet Flat Shoe $645 Hl920Manolo Blahnik Black Perforated Leather Slingback Heels Size 35.5 NewManolo Blahnik Teal Patent Leather Mary Jane Heels Size 39Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather Open Toe Heels Size 36.5Manolo Blahnik Red Suede Bb Pumps Sz37 NewManolo Blahnik Suede PumpsManolo Blahnik Black Lizard Skin Classic Pumps Heels - 37Manolo Blahnik Nude Patent Leather Point Toe Heels Pumps Sz 40 10 In Dust BagManolo Blahnik Blood Red Patent Leather Pointed-toe Pumps Sz 38.5/8.5 Nr!Manolo Blahnik Black Leather Tall Boots W/ Rounded Toe And Buckle Sz 38.5/8.5 NrManolo Blahnik Light Brown Suede Leather High Heel Slip On Boots - Us 7 Eu 37.5Manolo Blahnik Navy Leather Open-toe ShoesManolo Blahnik Bb Beige Suede Point-toe Pumps Heels Size 36Manolo Blahnik Black Leather Tall Boots W/ Rounded Toe And Elastic Sz 39/9 Nr!Manolo Blahnik Metallic Gold 10 40 Leather Sequin Sandal Shoe $675 Hlx968Manolo Blahnik Green Satin Sedaraby Jewel Buckle Dorsay Pumps Heels Shoes 39.5Manolo Blahnik Brown Beige Leather Pointy Toe Heels Shoes 38 New!Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather Pumps Womens Size 38.5 / Us Size 8Manolo Blahnik Oxblood Leather Pointed-toe Slingbacks Heels Sz 39/9 Nr!Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Maryjanehigh Heel-9 Med (39)$1,395 Authentic Manolo Blahnik Pascalare Gray Suede Knee High Boots 37/ 7b UsManolo Blahnik Metallic Gold Jeweled Flip Flop Thing Sandals 38Manolo Blahnk Womens White/gray Pointy Pumps Sz.7.5 (a799b) Manolo Blahnik Navy Blue Suede Classic PumpsManolo Blahnik Gold Storm Metallic Gold Pointy Ankle Strap Gold Shoe Size 38 1/2Manolo Blahnik Roadster 10.5 43.5 Suede Penny Driving Loafer Shoe $545 Hly108Manolo Blahnik, Little Black Dress Slingbacks, Kitten Heel, Adorable 37.5Manolo Blahnik Metallic-copper Leather D' Orsay W/ Rhinestones Sz 38.5/8.5 Nr!$1,395 Authentic Manolo Blahnik Pascalare Black Suede Knee High Boots 37/ 7b UsManolo Blahnik Okla Mod Baby Pink Sz 37.5 No Reserve!Manolo Blahnik Pony Ancle Booties Sz 37Women's Manolo Blahnik Clear And Pewter Pasha Stilettos Size 7.5Manolo Blanik ShoesManolo Blahnik X Cross 90mm Pump 37Gorgeous Manolo Blahnik Pointy-toe Slingbacks!!! ϿManolo Blahnik Black Leather Strappy Flat Sandals Sz.39 W/ Box & BagManolo Blahnik Brown Alligator Flats, Size 38Manolo Blahnik Black Velvet Lace-up Boot 37.5Authentic Manolo Blahnik Womens Black Leather Boots Sz 38Manolo Blahnik Metallic Silver Leather D' Orsay With Cut Outs Sz 38.5/8.5 Nr!Manolo Blahnik Heather Grey Felt Ballet Flats W/ Rosette Detail Sz 385/8.5 Nr!Manolo Blahnik Size 37.5 Pink Satin Ballerina Inspired Ballet Flats!!! AmazingManolo Blahnik Brown Suede Mary Jane Pumps Heels Size 39 8.5 9Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Ankle Stretch Boot Low Kitten Heel Pointed Toe 38.5 8Black Manolo Blahnik 39.5 Pump$595 Manolo Blahnik Bb Black Leather 110mm/4in Pumps 38New Manolo Blahnik Multicolor Floral Print Slingback Pumps Sz 41 11 In BoxNew Manolo Blahnik Classic Sling Backs 39 1/2 Black & Taupe Made In ItalyManolo Blahnik Brown Classic Pumps Size 6.5Manolo Blahnik Black Suede High Lace Up Knee Boots, Eu 40, 9.5 MManolo Blahnik Green And Yellow Strap Heels 7.5 Us/ 38 Euro Manolo Blahnik Pearlized Salmon Leather Evening Sandal W/ Rhinestones Sz 39/9 NrManolo Blahnik Chaos Patent Ankle-strap Sandal, Black, Us Shoe Size ( Women)61/2Manolo Blahnik Black Leather Ankle Boots Sz 39.5/9.5 Nr!Manolo Blahnik Black Satin And Lace Pointed Toe Evening Heels Sz 38.5/8.5 Nr!

Recent News: Manolo Blahnik Shoes

Source: Google News

Social (Media) Climbers: Three Brands to Watch
Women's Wear Daily, October 19th

Meanwhile, at Manolo Blahnik, the shoes tell the story on Instagram — followers check in regularly to find out what unexpected locale the styles have landed in. Metrics like fan counts, shares, comments and retweets help these brands measure their...Read more

Sex and the City: Still A Hit Among the Single Girls
The Southern News, October 19th

The lines are constantly quoted, many online quizzes exist asking if you're Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or a Samantha, and because of the show, products such as the Carrie name necklace, the Cosmopolitan and the Manolo Blahnik shoes are extremely ...Read more

Now You Can Get Married the Carrie Bradshaw Way, Sarah Jessica Parker Set ...
Bustle, October 18th

A weight that could only be lifted with a tiny pair of blue Manolo Blahnik's, which like Carrie, sat lonely, waiting for the perfect moment to rekindle the broken love between Carrie and Mr. Big. Now, Carrie, er, Sarah Jessica Parker is launching her...Read more

Manolo Blahnik and Jean Paul Gaultier transform the iconic Eastpak backpack
Irish Independent, October 9th

Creative talents including Jean Paul Gaultier, Christopher Lee Sauve, Walter Van Beirendonck, Manolo Blahnik, Chris Janssens and Tim Coppens will customise a blank version of the Eastpak Padded Pak'r in order to raise proceeds and awareness for the ...Read more

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Mary Beard is Manolo Blahnik's secret muse
Daily Mail, September 24th

Move over, Carrie Bradshaw. Shoe designer Manolo Blahnik — made famous by television show Sex And The City — has a new muse, Cambridge classicist Mary Beard. Not only has he created a design in honour of self-confessed 'shoe addict' Beard, he is ...Read more

Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he ...
The Independent, September 19th

Manolo Blahnik is a shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'. Born in 1943 to a Spanish mother and a Czech father in the Canary Islands, he produced his first collection in 1972 following the encouragement of American Vogue...Read more

Lydia Bright does a Carrie Bradshaw in blue diamond Manolo Blahnik heels
OK! Magazine, September 19th

Hitting the shops, the lucky reality star strutted her stuff in a pair of blue bejewelled Manolo Blahnik Hangisi heels that were gifted to her by her on-off boyfriend Arg. The £625 stunners famously appeared in the first Sex and the City movie when Mr...Read more

style scene Style Scene: Saks Fifth Avenue hosts Manolo Blahnik, men's events
Tulsa World, September 8th

For more information, call 918-744-0200, ext. 385. Women will make “Sex and the City's” Carrie Bradshaw proud by shopping the Manolo Blahnik fall 2014 collection from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Customers will receive a gift with purchase ...Read more