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 Chocolate Brown Patent Leather D'orsay Pumps Size 38 NewManolo Blahnik ~nwd~ Closcan Womens 7 37 Red Patent Leather Pumps Shoes HmManolo Blahnik Campy Putre Patenet Black Mary Jane Size 9 Auth Louis Vuitton & Manolo Blahnik Monogram Travel Shoe Case Trunk Rare !!!Manolo Blahnik Blue Pointed Toe 105mm Pumps Size 40Manolo Blahnik Black Bb Patent Leather Ankle Strap Size 6Authentic Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Leather Mules Heels Shoes Size 37 Us 7Manolo Blahnik Nude Mesh & Black Lace Bb Pumps Size 39.5Manolo Blahnik Black Satin Size 39 $885 Original PriceManolo Blahnik Shoes, Light Pink Leather, Size 40/ Us 9Manolo Blahnik Vintage Green Suede Lace Up Pumps Size 40Authentic Manolo Blahnik Bb Nude Patent Leather Pointed Toe Pumps ShoesManolo Blahnik Black Leather White Dash Trim Designer Shoes Euro 40 Sz 9.5New Flat Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Size 8 Green Flesh Satin Jeweled Pumps ShoesManolo Blahnik Black Satin Pointed Toe Slingback Kitten Heels Size 38.5Manolo BlahnikManolo Blahnik Pony Hair Booties Heels Size 38.5Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane Pump Size 42 Or Us 11 - Wide Black Patent Leather 3" Manolo Blahnik Chain Heels Manolo Blahnik Ladies Black Patent Leather PumpsWomen's Shoes Black Patent Leather Flat Manolo Blahnik Size 9Manolo Blahnik Slingback - Size 35.5 - Blue SuedeManolo Blahnik "tweed Boucle D'orsay- Sammy" Pink W/ Crystal Size 40-new W/ BoxManolo Blahnik Silver Heels (size 36.5) Worn OnceManolo Blahnik White Patent Leather Pointed Toe Slingback Heels Sz 39 9 In BoxManolo Blahnik Black Velvet Kitten Heel Ankle Straps "vira" Sz 38 Manolo Blahnik Navy Suede Leather D’orsay Pointy Kitten Heels Pumps Size 37.5Manolo Blahnik Trepidia Nude Slingbacks Sz 37Authentic Manolo Blahnik Stresty Black Leather Half D'orsay Pumps Shoes-37.5,37Manolo Blahnik Black Satin Pointed Toe Bow Detail Kitten Heels Sz 42 12 In BoxManolo Blahnik Strappy Suede Sandals Size 37 Made In Italy ~~ Pre-owned ~~Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather-slingback Heels -size 39.5, Us 9.5Manolo Blahnik Blue Satin Pumps 40New Manolo Blahnik Flat Shoes Size 36.5 $650Manolo Blahnik Super Sexy Women's Shoes Size 39 Euro 9 UsManolo Blahnik Satin Shoes Size 37 Made In Italy ~~ Pre-owned ~~Manolo Blahnik Black Women's Shoes Size 38Manolo Blahnik Metallic Rose Gold Open Toe Ankle Strap Heels Size 40.5Manolo Blahnik Sharifac Dark Fuchsia Perforated Polka Dot Flats Sz 37 Us 6.5-7mLadies Italian Manolo Blahnik Brown Eel Skin Boots Sz 34 ½ (us 5)Manolo Blahnik - Red Dorsay Pumps - Size 42/12 - Gorgeous!!Manolo Blahnik Bb Suede 105 Pump In Teal Sz 38 Manolo Blahnik Suede Dark Purple Flats 12b Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Leather Strap Ankle Tie Pointy Toe Pumps Heels 38.5Manolo Blahnik$595 Manolo Blahnik Black Lavorazione Artigiana Made In Italy Size 6- 6.5 NewManolo Blahnik Black & White Tweed Fabric Kitten Heel Pumps Shoes Sz 35 Us 5Size 38.5 Brown Manolo Blahnik Open-toe Pumps Manolo Blahnik Gold Metallic Leather Mules, Size 36 1/2, Us 6.5Manolo Blahnik Baby Blue Suede Mesh Pumps Spike High Heel Pointed Toe Size 40/9Womens Manolo Blahnik Nude Leather Shoes Eu 39 Us 8 Stiletto High HeelsManolo Blahnik Classic Brown Leather Heels Size 35.5Manolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather HeelsManolo Blahnik Metallic Champagne Strappy Sandals, Size 36Manolo Blahnik Protective Shoe BagsManolo Blanik Alligator Carolynes Size 39.5 NewManolo Blahnik Sedaraby Savage Leopard Pump Heel Shoes Nib Size 41 9.5-10 UsManolo Blahnik Black Leather Mid Calf Square Toe Low Heel Boots Sz 40 10 In BoxManolo Blahnik Pink Brown Suede Pointed Toe Lace Up Pumps Sz 36.5 6.5 In BagManolo Blahnik Black Patent Leather Open Toe Slingback Heels 39.5 / 9.5

Recent News: Manolo Blahnik Shoes

Source: Google News

Manolo Blahnik Books First-ever Personal Appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue
WWD, August 27th

SHOE IN: Manolo Blahnik will make his first-ever personal appearance at a Saks Fifth Avenue store next month. On Sept. 10 the stiletto-maker will appear within his Saks shop-in-shop boutique — located on the retailer's “10022” shoe floor — for a signing...Read more

Inside Saks Fifth Avenue's Haute New Manolo Blahnik Shop
Haute Living, August 26th

You would think that Saks Fifth Avenue's dedicated shoe floor would have fancy footwear from every big name in the shoe biz— but one name has been left out until now. The legendary, Manolo Blahnik has rightfully taken his place at Saks with a 750...Read more

Manolo Blahnik shoe sale in Bantam raises $198K for UConn scholarships
Torrington Register Citizen, August 25th

Manolo Blahnik shoe sale in Bantam raises $198K for UConn scholarships. A sample sale of high-end shoes in Bantam on Aug. 15 raised nearly $200,000 for scholarships for UConn animal science students. Photo by Susan Taff. By Special to The Register ...Read more

Saks ups 10022-Shoe's stride with Manolo Blahnik boutique
Luxury Daily, August 24th

The shop-in-shop will be one of Manolo Blahnik's largest boutiques in the world as well as the first time the brand has been physically present within a Saks Fifth Avenue storefront. To introduce the boutique, Saks has taken a multichannel approach...Read more

Saks Flagship to Open Manolo Blahnik Boutique
Apparel Magazine, August 20th

For the first time, the Manolo Blahnik brand joins Saks New York's famed 10022-SHOE designer shoe salon on Eight with a permanent boutique, one of the largest Manolo Blahnik boutiques in the world. Saks Fifth Avenue will celebrate the momentous ...Read more

Saks Fifth Avenue to open a Manolo Blahnik boutique at flagship store
MarketWatch, August 20th

Saks Fifth Avenue, which is owned by Hudson's Bay Company HBC, -0.99% will open its first Manolo Blahnik boutique at the New York flagship store on August 22. The boutique will be housed in the eighth floor designer shoe salon and span 760 square feet, ...Read more

Manolo Blahnik: 5 Things You Didn't Know About The Designer
Footwear News, August 14th

Manolo Blahnik. "It is fashion that makes the world so much more colorful & interesting." Courtesy photo. Manolo Blahnik is at the top of the shoe game. The designer is prepping to open a shop-in-shop in Saks Fifth Avenue later this month — Blahnik's...Read more

Stella McCartney for the Olympics, Manolo Blahnik to Make Bags, and More News ...
Observer, July 31st

Going for the gold, again: Stella McCartney will be outfitting Great Britain's olympic team for the 2017 games in Rio de Janeiro. This is the second time she's been tapped to design the award-winning kits. via Fashionista. Bag man: Manolo Blahnik is...Read more