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 Bb 105 7 37 Taupe Suede Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ixx729Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 40 10 Peach Suede Point Pump Shoe $595 New Italy Ixx768Manolo Blahnik Bb 36 6 Cobalt Suede Point Classic Pump Shoe $595 Italy Ixx779Manolo Blahnik Bb 37.5 7.5 Navy Suede Point Classic Pump Shoe $595 New Italy 758Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 8 38 Caramel Patent Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ixx727Manolo Blahnik Bottera 37 7 Peach Snakeskin Point Pump Shoe $845 New Italy Ix624Authentic Manolo Blahnik Bb Strap Patent Size 37.5 (size 7)Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 7.5 37.5 Orange Suede Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ix725Manolo Blahnik 6.5 36.5 Camel Snake Cap Pointed Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ixx698Manolo Blahnik Gotria 8 38 Pewter Leather Clear Pvc Pump Heel Shoe $795 Iuo608Manolo Blahnik Bb 39 9 Grey Suede Point Classic Pump Shoe $595 New Italy Ixx682Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 5.5 35.5 Black Leather Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy Ixx726Manolo Blahnik Bb 39.5 9.5 Grey Suede Point Classic Pump Shoe $595 New Italy 683Manolo Blahnik Bb 39 9 Nude Suede Point Classic Pump Shoe $595 New Italy Ixx759Authentic Manolo Blahnik Floral Pumps Heels Shoes Size 37.5 Us 7.5Manolo Blahnik Black Suede & Teal Leather Loafer Heels Size 39Manolo Blahnik Bb 39.5 9.5 White Laser Cut Point Pump Shoe $795 New Italy Ixx780Manolo Blahnik 41 11 Black Fabric Point Toe Classic Pump Shoe $595 Italy Ixx665Manolo Blahnik Brown & Beige Canvas Pointed Toe Slingback Heels Size 38.5Manolo Blahnik Bb 90mm 9 39 Silver Leather Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy Iyo738Manolo Blahnik Black Leather Pointed Toe Kitten Heels Size 41Manolo Blahnik Camouflage Canvas D'orsay Soussaba Flats Size 39Manolo Blahnik 36 6 Dark Stone Open Toe Heel Sandal Shoe $745 New Italy Ixx769Manolo Blahnik Bb 50mm 5.5 35.5 Blue Snake Kitten Heel Pump Shoe Italy New Ix700Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Leather Ankle Boots Kitten Heels Women's Size 40Manolo Blahnik 36.5 6.5 Navy Open Toe Strappy Heel Shoe $625 New Italy Ixx761Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 8 38 Blue Glitter Point Pump Heel Shoe $695 Italy Ixx728Manolo Blahnik Bb 50mm 39 9 Navy Shimmer Patent Pump Shoe $595 Italy Ixx778New Manolo Blahnik Leather Bb Neon Hot Pink- Size 38.5 (8.5)Manolo Blahnik 4279 New Womens Black Patent Quilted Casual Shoes 40 BhfoManolo Blahnik Diaz Black 7 37 Leather Pointed Button Ankle Boot Shoe $895 Iy487Manolo Blahnik (sz37) Black Leather Pointy Classic Pumps 4" Stiletto-heels ShoesWholesale Lot Of 2 Manolo Blahnik Made In Italy PumpsManolo Blahnik Blue Flat Shoes 2015,size35Manolo Blahnik 9 39 Black Suede 75mm Point Classic Pump Heel Shoe Italy Iyo734Manolo Blahnik Campari Black Patent Brogues Euro 39.5Manolo Blahnik Red Leather Pointed Toe Kitten Heels Sz 40 10 Bn 820Manolo Blahnik, Burgundy, Heel, Pumps, Sling, Size 38.5, Made In Italy, Leather100% Authentic Manolo Blahnik Manolo Blahnik Digas Boot 36.5 (6.5 Us) $1200Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Tie HeelsManolo Blahnik Sedaraby 37 7 Teal Embellish D'orsay Heel Shoe $755 Italy Ixx760Manolo Blahnik Authentic Neon Pink Strappy Heels 37 7Manolo Blahnik Blue Satin Hangisi PumpsManolo Blahnik 38 1/2 ShoesManolo Blahnik Tall Black Suede Boots (us Size 8)Brand New Manolo Blahnik Black High Heels 70mm Size 37.5 Dress Shoes Manolo Blahnik 41 Boots Animal Print Leopard-print Fashion High Heel Authentic Manolo Blahnik (sz 35.5) New Gray Leather Classic Timeless Pumps Heels ShoesManolo Blahnik Silver Open Toe HeelBlack Suede Leather Manolo Blahnik Perforated Cut Out Ballet Flats Shoes 7.5Manolo Blahnik Pink Snakeskin Leather Strappy Sandals Heels Size 39/8.5 *manolo Blahnik* Gorgeous Green Suede Heels 371/2 Us 7.5 - ExcellentManolo Blahnik Mesh Open Black Tan Leather Classic Ballet Flats Shoes 37 7Manolo Blahnik Nude Black Patent Cap Toe Pointy Mary Jane Heels Pumps 38 7.5Nib 9 / 39.5 Manolo Blahnik Pink Patent Leather Open Toe Sandal Ankle Pump ShoesAuthentic Black Snake Manolo Blahnik Pointy Toe Stilettos Heels Pumps Nwob 38.5Manolo Blahnik Bella Fabric Multi Tweed Us Sz 8 Euc Retail $485Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Slingbacks W/kitten Heel Italy 37/6.5Manolo Blahnik Bronze Leather Strappy Silver Plate T-strap Slip On Mules 39

Recent News: Manolo Blahnik Shoes

Source: Google News

Valentino Moves to Bal Harbour; Hermès Comes to Design District
Ocean Drive Magazine, November 27th

Themes in the collection range from distressed denim and ponchos to butterfly motifs like a Manolo Blahnik butterfly printed Hangisi pump and a butterfly adorned Prada bag, playing off of Neiman Marcus' signature butterfly design. Bal Harbour Shops...Read more

10 momentos marcantes da carreira do sapateiro de luxo Manolo Blahnik
Glamurama, November 27th

Manolo Blahnik é sinonimo de luxo quando o assunto é sapato – e hoje o sapateiro das estrelas completa 73 anos. Nascido em La Palma, na Espanha, estudou na Suíça e na França e iniciou a carreira em Londres, onde começou a calçar praticamente todo ...Read more

Exclusive interview: Manolo Blahnik tells us about his love of Bath ahead of ...
Bath Chronicle, November 13th

On November 25, Bath will be treated to a rare glimpse into the life and work of iconic shoe designer Manolo Blahnik. Ahead of his In Conversation evening, he tells Lisa Evans why he's a true feminist, what's on his Christmas list, and why he chose to...Read more

Manolo Blahnik and Liberty London Celebrate Collaboration, Host Book Signing
WWD, November 12th

SEEING DOUBLE: There was a double cause for celebration at Liberty this week, which invited customers to a Manolo Blahnik book signing in its shoe hall. It was the designer's only appearance in London to promote his book, “Fleeting Gestures and ...Read more

Manolo Blahnik Sample Sale In West Hartford
Hartford Courant, November 9th

The sale is a scholarship fundraiser for UConn animal science students. George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, both top executives at Manolo Blahnik, donated the shoes and established the scholarship to help promote agriculture and the dairy industry...Read more

At Manolo Blahnik's Surprise Sample Sale, Shoppers Are Scooping Up Heels by ...
Racked NY, November 4th

By 10:45am, no line had formed yet at the Warwick Hotel, the venue for the just-announced Manolo Blahnik sample sale, but hotel lobby attendants directed us without asking to the second floor as soon as we dashed into the building. While the sale wasn...Read more

First Look: Manolo Blahnik Spring 2016 Shoe Collection
Footwear News, November 3rd

Manolo Blahnik is beloved for bucking trends and conventions, always preferring to go his own way. Spring '16 was no exception, with the designer only showing his collection to press late last week. But what's that they say about good things coming to...Read more

Hong Kong-raised architect on designing interiors for Manolo Blahnik
South China Morning Post (subscription), October 31st

"One of our first was an exhibition [of Manolo Blahnik shoes, in 2003] at London's Design Museum that I created with my then partner and co-founder Kristina Hulsebus, whose uncle, Blahnik, commissioned us. On the back of that we started designing his ...Read more