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 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 105 7 37 Taupe Suede Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ixx729Manolo 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 Ix624Manolo Blahnik 6.5 36.5 Camel Snake Cap Pointed Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ixx698Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 7.5 37.5 Orange Suede Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy New Ix725Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 5.5 35.5 Black Leather Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy Ixx726Manolo Blahnik Bb 39 9 Grey Suede Point Classic Pump Shoe $595 New Italy Ixx682Manolo 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 Ixx759Manolo Blahnik 41 11 Black Fabric Point Toe Classic Pump Shoe $595 Italy Ixx665Manolo Blahnik Bb 39.5 9.5 White Laser Cut Point Pump Shoe $795 New Italy Ixx780Manolo Blahnik Diaz Black 7 37 Leather Pointed Button Ankle Boot Shoe $895 Iy487Manolo Blahnik 36.5 6.5 Navy Open Toe Strappy Heel Shoe $625 New Italy Ixx761Manolo Blahnik Black Leather Slingback Heels Size 39 NewManolo Blahnik Bb 50mm 5.5 35.5 Blue Snake Kitten Heel Pump Shoe Italy New Ix700Manolo Blahnik 36 6 Dark Stone Open Toe Heel Sandal Shoe $745 New Italy Ixx769Manolo Blahnik 38 8 Black Fabric Point Toe Classic Pump Shoe $595 Italy Ixx676Manolo Blahnik Camouflage Canvas D'orsay Soussaba Flats Size 39Nib 7.5/38 Ideal Gift! No Reserve! Manolo Blahnik Snake Leather Open Toe $725Manolo Blahnik Bb 105 8 38 Blue Glitter Point Pump Heel Shoe $695 Italy Ixx728Manolo Blahnik 4279 New Womens Black Patent Quilted Casual Shoes 40 BhfoManolo Blahnik Bb 90mm 9 39 Silver Leather Point Pump Heel Shoe Italy Iyo738Manolo Blahnik Bb 50mm 39 9 Navy Shimmer Patent Pump Shoe $595 Italy Ixx778Manolo Blahnik Stara 37.5 7.5 Teal Open Toe Buckle Heel Shoe $775 New Italy X731Manolo Blahnik Black Jeweled Pewter Gold Tone Pointed Toe Flats Sz 40 10Manolo Blahnik Campari Black Patent Brogues Euro 39.5Women's Black And Tan Snakeskin Manolo Blahnik 4" Heel Pumps Euro Size 38 Us 8Manolo Blahnik 9 39 Black Suede 75mm Point Classic Pump Heel Shoe Italy Iyo734Manolo Blahnik Black Snakeskin Bootie Heels Size 39 (8.5)Manolo Blahnik Womens Camoscio Tan Suede High Heels 8bManolo Blahnik Strappy Heels, Size 41 Manolo Borromeo. Large Luxurious Romantic Italianate Design Vintage Silk ScarfManolo Blahnik Carolyne 8.5 38.5 Black Glitter Sling Sandal Heel Shoe Italy I723Manolo Blahnik Sedaraby 37 7 Teal Embellish D'orsay Heel Shoe $755 Italy Ixx760Manolo Blahnik Thigh High Black Leather Boots Size 37Manolo Blahnik Silver Open Toe HeelManolo Blahnik 40Manolo Blahnik Black Stretch Sexy Leather Pull On Knee High Boots 38 New Green Manolo Blahnik Satin Pumps Euro Sz 37Manolo Blahnik Grey Flannel & Black Patent Leather Loafer 39.5Manolo BlahnikManolo Blahnik Gold 3 Inch Leather Heels Shoes Fashion Style CuteNwb Manolo Blahnik "campri" Black Patent Leather Mary Jane 39Manolo Blahnik Women's Brown Leather Kitten Heel Shoe Sz 36 / Size 6Manolo Blahnik Pointy Sling Back White Fabric Leather Sole Size 38 Shoes Guiseppe Zanotti Ankle Tie W Jewel--sz 38 I Have Lots Of Manolo, Chanel TooManolo Blahnik Cream Canvas And Black Leather Shoes Women's 40.5 Us 9Manolo Blahnik Studded Brown Leather Strappy Tall Heel Sandals, 36.5 6.5 ShoesManolo Blahnik Black Satin Open Toe High Heel Shoe Rhinestone Buckle 38.5 Us 8.5Manolo Blahnik Beige Linen Flats, Size 37.5, Lightly WornManolo Blahnik Taupe "carolyne" Serpent Slingback Heels Sz. 38Manolo Blahnik Fuschia Satin Black Suede Ankle Strap Heels Shoes 38.5Manolo Blahnik Green Python Round Toe Loafers Sz 39 9Manolo Blahnik Kitten Heel Tall Black Leather Boots 39.5Used Manolo Blahnik Womens Cornuta Bone Strappy Ankle Tie - 8.5Nib $755. Manolo Blahnik High Heels Wine Black Suede Solids Pumps 10.5 Eu 41 MBlack Patent Manolo Blahnik Chaos Sandal 105

Recent News: Manolo Blahnik Shoes

Source: Google News

Let Your Shoes Make The Fashion Statement This Holiday Season! A Holiday Guide ...
Huffington Post, November 30th

Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Brunello Cucinelli, Donald J Pliner, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Gucci and Stuart Weitzman are just a few of the shoe designers that will be worn in the next 6 weeks during all of these events. However, wearing hot and sexy ...Read more

Lauder in a holiday kind of mood
Sun Sentinel, November 30th

Fashion item for parties: If I have to wear heels, Manolo Blahnik. He's doing pumps with beautiful big fabric bows. One with a red bow would be the perfect Christmas shoe. Tradition: Buche de Noel, a pastry log with a chocolate mousse. It was always my...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 & Book
Footwear News, November 12th

Manolo Blahnik invited customers to a signing of his new book, “Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions,” at the Liberty shoe hall. Coinciding with the iconic British department store's 140th anniversary, the evening also unveiled an exclusive collaboration...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