Manolo Blahnik Shoes – It’s estimated that the average woman spends £527 on shoes in one year and it’s no wonder when fashion icons such as Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica-Parker) are shown fuelling their insatiable appetite for them.
Manolo Blahnik is a world-famous shoe designer who grew up on the Canary Islands after being born there in 1942. He studied politics and law in Geneva, moved to Paris and finally settled London where he set up his shoe design business in the 70’s without any formal shoe-making training. Blahnik began his career as a set designer in the UK, and upon seeing his sketches, fashion guru Diana Vreeland suggested that he should move onto designing shoes.
Within the fashion world Blahnik’s shoes have always been legendary, appearing on the feet of Yves Saint-Laurent, Calvin Klein and Christian Dior catwalk models (amongst many others).
But it wasn’t until they were mentioned in hit 80’s and 90’s television shows ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and ‘Sex and the City’ that almost every woman who gave a tinkle about fashion knew Manolo’s name.
Carrie Bradshaw is the main character in Darren Star’s ‘Sex and the City’. She is a column writer for a New York newspaper with a penchant for clothes, particularly shoes and more specifically Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choo’s.
Manolo’s shoes span a huge range of styles, colours and fabrics and his work has earned him a CBE (commander of the British Empire) and honorary doctorates amongst praises from a huge number of celebrities, fellow designers and fashion moguls.
Madonna once said that Blahnik’s shoes were ‘better than sex…and they last longer’ (which elicited a rather cutting response from the man himself). Yet despite all this praise and publicity, Manolo modestly maintains that his huge career was an ‘accident of life’.
Many fashion designers are famous for creating many different clothing garments, but Manolo Blahnik’s name is synonymous solely with footwear, each pair of which he designs, sketches and moulds the heels himself. His shoes are incredibly sexy, often stiletto heeled, ballet shoes, mules and sandals. Manolo has no inhibitions when it comes to designing and his shoes are in all colours and prints (animal and camouflage), with diamonds, feathers, buckles, beads. They usually sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars and are on sale in boutiques in London, New York and Honk Kong.
In 1974 Blahnik appeared on the cover of British vogue, and was the first man to fill the role. Right up to the 21st century he continues to be in the public eye, being the very first shoe designer to have work displayed in a museum and with his most eclectic work photographed, bound and published in Eric Boman’s fashion photography hardback (pictured right).
Manolo Blahnik’s work has earned him the status of ‘household name’ and his shoes have even been nicknamed ‘Manolo’s’. The man himself said that he needed no formal training in shoemaking because he ‘has the best taste in the world’; and who are we to argue?