Fashion Biography: The Life and Style of Manolo Blahnik

It’s not very often you find a living fashion icon. Manolo Blahnik is one of them. His shoes, that share the same name, are probably the most well known worldwide. They are a true household name that has unbelievable appeal. Find out all about Manolo Blahnik, including the man behind the famous name, the shoes most famous styles, the history, the celebrities that love them and so much more.

The Shoes

Manolo’s, as they are dubbed, first debuted in 1972 and were designed for Ossie Clark. Through the years, they have claimed success worn in the most important fashion shows worldwide including Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and John Galliano.

They have been most notably made famous on countless appearances on Carrie Bradshaw as the actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays the columnist, confides that she has spent over $40,000 a year on shoes (many of which include Manolo’s), but yet has no where to live. And, will seriously be that old woman who lives in her shoes!

Manolo Blahnik’s have a tendency to do that to women. In real life, SJP is just as crazy for Manolo’s. She has said that they (Manolo Blahnik shoes) are like pieces of art. No one can make a heel like he (Manolo Blahnik) does. I know that he’s fanatical, so that the quality of the shoes, the pitch, is just perfect. Manolos are beautiful, colorful, imaginative and sexy Sarah Jessica Parker has stated.

The Styles

The man behind the Manolo Blahnik shoe has everything to do with his fairly small company. He still sketches, still does the advertising campaigns and is still at the top of his game creating beautiful shoes, with extreme attention to detail, that any woman could relate to. The daytime styles like the perfect pointy toe sling backs couldn’t be more perfect.

Probably the most famous Manolo’s would be the Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes deemed a sexier version of your childhood favorite. For night, go for something strappy and dressier, with the attention to detail every shoe should have. They are timeless, yet current. Fashionable, yet classic and sexy, yet they have that certain Im-not-trying-too-hard vibe to them.

The Man behind the Shoes

The fashion industry could have quite possibly been the farthest career from his mind. He grew up in the Canary Islands and was raised in a Banana plantation. However, his true destiny was reached when he decided to make a move to Paris.

Two years after moving to the city of lights, he relocated to London, where he began working as a photographer. Almost immediately he was swept up into the fashion social set, befriending Paloma Picasso, who happened to be friends with Diana Vreeland, the previous US Vogue editor-in-chief (Anna Wintour is now editor-in-chief for US Vogue). She talked Manolo Blahnik into going into the shoe craftsmanship business after she saw some sketches of his work. And, good thing he listened. His success is unmatched and untouchable. Nobody does it quite like Blahnik.

The Numerous Awards

British Fashion Council has named Manolo Blahnik accessory designer of the year in 90 and 99. In 2003 the Design Museum in London honored his amazing work by displaying an exhibit of his work, including his drawings, collections and other memorabilia.

Where to Buy

It’s quite surprising that Manolo Blahnik has only two stores one in London and the other in New York. However, his shoes sell worldwide at department stores, specialty stores and boutiques.

The Prices

They aren’t cheap. Plan on spending around $500 and up.

Manolo Moments

Bianca Jagger wore them on a white horse in 1977 to Studio 54.

Madonna has said they are better than – since they last longer.

Marge Simpson donned them in an episode of the Simpsons.

Who has Manolo’s (the heels) named after them

That would be the fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker, Linda Evangelista and China Chow.

You know how SJP feels about Manolo’s, and Linda and China are just as smitten. Linda has said that they are the most perfect and most beautiful creations. China has said that Manolo’s are sexy, magical and have so much personality and that they are like a glass slipper. Lisa Marie says it’s all about how Manolo’s make you feel elegant, glamorous, refined. You can have on Manolos and nothing else and they are like jewelry for your feet, she coos.

So, go ahead, be that old woman who lives in her shoes because once you try Manolo’s you will feel like Cinderella in Manolo Blahnik heels however, they won’t disappear at midnight.

By: Melissa Maynard

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