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 Woven Wicker & Leather Top Handle BagManolo Blahnik D’orsay Flats Nwb Sz 40 (10) Nude Patent Leather Pointed Toe $645Manolo Blahnik ‘catalina’ D’orsay Sandals Nwb Sz 41 (10.5) Patent Leather $695Ivana Trump's Designer Manolo Blahnik White Patent Heel Shoes 39 Uk 6- 488 B52Manolo Blahnik Bb White Patent Leather Pointed Toe Pumps Us Size 7 / 37.5 Int'lManolo Blahnik Teal Suede & Cork Wedges Size 40 NewManolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather Transparent Pointed Toe Pumps Sz 38 8$550.00 Auth Manolo Blahnik Black Satin Pearl Beaded Slingbacks Shoes Size 7.5New Manolo Blahnik Jeweled Black Suede Sandals Kitten Heels Shoes Sz 9 Eu 39Manolo Blahnik 7.5 Black Crepe Fabric Pointed Toe Pump Heel 37.5 Shoe $695 If454Manolo Blahnik Beige Leather Pointed Toe Slingback Heels Size 40Manolo Blahnik Women's Black Patent Leather SandalsManolo Blahnik Bb Black 7.5 37.5 Suede Pointed Toe Pump Shoe $595 Ifx405Manolo Blahnik Meta Nude 8 38 Patent Pvc Strappy Wedge Sandal Shoe $735 Ifx396Manolo Blahnik Bb Black 9.5 39.5 Suede Pointed Toe Pump Shoe $595 Ifx404Manolo Blanik Purple Suede Stilletos Size 8Manolo Blahnik Red Satin Bow Slide Heels Size 37.5Manolo Blahnik Bb Black Pumps 38.5Manolo Blahnik Carolyne Black 7.5 37.5 Satin Pointed Slingback Pump Shoe Ifx433Manolo Blahnic Sedaraby Black D'orsay 3.5 Inch Pump Size 37Manolo Blahnik Beige Gold Studs Leather Strappy Sandals Shoes 39 6 @ £450Manolo Blahnik Carolyne 9 Chocolate Point Toe Slingback Pump 39 Shoe $625 Ifx474Authentic Manolo Blahnik Black Leather Slingback Heels Sz 39 / 9White Swan Shoe Manolo BlahnikNew Manolo Blahnik Red Sandals Size 38Manolo Blahnik Shoes - Size 40 - Worn Only TwiceManolo Blahnik Irie 6 Black Quilt Leather Slingback Pump Heel 36 Shoe $625 If473Manolo Blahnik Black Mary Jane Pump 39 Or 8.5Manolo Blahnik Brown Suede Open Toe Slingbacks Women Sz(39/8.5)Manolo Blahnik Hangisi 8.5 Fire Red Satin Point Pump Heel 38.5 Shoe $965 Ifx486Manolo Blahnik Black Satin SedarbyManolo Blahnik Suede Pump With Rhinestone Buckle - Black Size 39Manolo Blahnik Sandals Silver Black Blue Pink Eu Sz 38 Us Sz 7.5 Women's ShoesManolo Blahnik Studded Nude Beige Mules 39 Retail $435Manolo Blahnik Suede Leather Heel Size 37Manolo Blahnik Beige Nude Patent Leather Pointed Toe Pumps Size Eu 40.5 100% Authentic Brand New Gray Satin Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Saint Flat Size M36.5Manolo Blahnik Evening Black Feathers Elegant Heels Eu 37 Check Feedback!!!Manolo Blahnik Silver Leather Heels 36.5 Shoes SandalsManolo Blahnik 9.5 Burgundy Patent Pointed Toe Sandal Heel 39.5 Shoe $895 Ifx453Manolo Blahnik Size 7 Manolo Blahnik Kitten Heels Tan Practical Work Pump Size 8 Gently UsedNew Manolo Blahnik Leopard Print Color Suede Kitten Heels Retail Price $1095Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Pumps 4 Inch Heel Size 37.5Manolo Blahnik Women's Black Point Toe C Carolyne Heels Shoes Sz 38.5/8.5 ItalyManolo Blahnik Green /black Flower Slingback Size 37.5Manolo Blahnik Bb Liquid Patent Pointtoe Pump Size 39 RedManolo Blahnik Black Canvas Pointed Toe Ankle Strap Pumps Sz 37 7* Manolo Blahnik * Carolyne * Black Crepe Slingback Pumps, Italy, $600+, 10Manolo Blahnik Sandals 37 1/2Manolo Blahnik Cintu White Leather Studded Grommets New! 41 Size 10Manolo Blahnik Ivory White Patent Leather Open Toe Mary Jane Heels 40 9 9.5 10Nib $685 Manolo Blahnik Blk Satin Beaded Ankle Strap Sandals Sz It 40.5 Us 10.5Auth Manolo Blahnik Dark Brown Leather Open Toe Slingback Sandals Sz 39 9Manolo Blahnik Driving Moccasins Navy Sz 37.5Manolo Blahnik Black Leather W/ Sequins Kitten Heel Sandals Eur 41 Us 9.5mManolo Blahnik Striped Open Toe Heels / Green & White / Rrp: £580.00Manolo Blahnik Brown Alligator Shoes - Size 39 1/2 & 2 3/4 Inch HeelLn Manolo Blahnik Black Leather High Boots - Size 40 ( 9.5 )Manolo Blahnik Camel Open Toe Strappy Sandals Sz 35.5 5.5

Recent News: Manolo Blahnik Shoes

Source: Google News

Dressing Like Kim Kardashian for a Week Gave This Elle Editor a ''Boost of ...
E! Online, May 27th

Tuesday: J.Brand jeans ($218), Manolo Blahnik heels ($725). Wednesday (the most expensive day): APL kicks ($140), APL leggings ($88), APL zip-up ($135), Givenchy lace-up bodysuit ($2,600), leather trousers ($3,310). Thursday: Gianvito Rossi heels ...Read more

Sharon Konopka is stylish on a budget, tries trends with daughter's help ...
cleveland.com (blog), May 27th

I would get either a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes or a really special coat, a beautiful leather coat. Have you ever had any memorable fashion moments? Years ago, we were going to a really nice restaurant with another couple. I wanted to look really nice...Read more

Fashion's Secret Blockbusters
Wall Street Journal, May 27th

Jennifer Sunwoo, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Barneys New York, has Manolo Blahnik's “BB” pumps in three of the four heel heights that Barneys has on replenishment. Other Barneys replenishment items include leather ...Read more

Cobbler Startup Repairs Shoes Sent in From Across US
Wall Street Journal, May 26th

The average retail value of shoes they repair is from $600 to $1,000, and handbags from $2,000 to $4,000, according to the founders. The most common shoe brands are Christian Louboutin, Prada, Manolo Blahnik, Ferragamo and Gucci. About 65% of items ...Read more

Much to the Surprise of Everyone, Band of Outsiders Ceases Production
New York Observer, May 26th

Plus, he's engaged in collaborations with brands including Sperry Top-Sider, Olympia Le-Tan and Manolo Blahnik, which spans quite a vast market of consumers. But despite all that, there have been a few hints that business was amiss for the brand...Read more

Beyonce, Release That Rap Album You're Hiding From Us
The BoomBox, May 26th

The hip-hop influence was already setting in as Bey switched up her southern girl demeanor and opted for a New York Yankees fitted cap, a custom-made distressed denim dress and Manolo Blahnik Timbaland-style boots. Her new Brooklyn look matched ...Read more

Sarah Jessica Parker e l'aiuto chiesto a Manolo Blahnik
DaringToDo, May 26th

Tutte cose di poco conto secondo lei però è pur vero che per lanciare la SJP collection ha voluto chiedere prima un consiglio a George Malkemus, CEO di Manolo Blahnik. Una chiamata di fortuna la sua a cui non si aspettava certo di ottenere una risposta...Read more

Manolo Kombat: Inside New York's Most Vicious Sample Sales
Newsweek, May 14th

Though the Louboutin sale causes a notable ruckus, it does not have the same reputation as the Manolo Blahnik sale at the Warwick Hotel. The latter sale brings out the worst in New York's most cultured, stylish buyers—ones who have the privilege of ...Read more