Manolo Blahnik at 50, Anna Wintour, Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton – Footwear News

Manolo Blahnik has always surrounded himself with an eclectic group of friends and admirers. As the designer celebrates his 50th birthday, 14 fashion insiders speak out about his lasting influence.

Anna wintour

“Every time I get dressed in the morning, Manolo is there. How wonderful to have one of my oldest friends – a charming and hilarious scholar, a truly brilliant man – always with me.

“I have wonderful memories of Manolo sitting in my studio when we collaborated on shoes for one of my collections. He had his pad on his knee and beautifully designed a gladiator’s sandal that would later walk the trail. I’ve always loved the BB pump – no one does a toe cleavage like Manolo.

“The first time I bought something ‘designer’ was from Manolo B. I spent my month’s rent there and they transported me to heaven every time I looked at them. Everyone went to his Church St store to see and marvel at his new collections when they came out – like in a gallery. We also collected his wonderfully drawn ads and pasted them on our wall. Later when I got to know him, he was still lovely and kissed my hand, and I wanted to curtsy because he was true fashion royalty.

Kathy hilton

“I have been wearing Manolo Blahnik shoes from the start. Some of the very first shoes I still have in my closet. These are classics, absolute works of art that will always live on in my closet.

Joan burstein

“My best memories of Manolo are when he worked in our first London boutique called Feathers in Kensington High Street. His job was to manage the client’s list of requirements for Newman velor jeans, which were the “it” pants of the day. I have to say he wasn’t good at keeping the list, but he was so charming that customers kept coming back to chat with him. At that time I was known as Mrs Sidney and Manolo called me daily to check his portfolio. I never got to see it because he never brought it for me, but of course it was shoes !! Therefore, I cannot pretend to find out, but only for having opened the door to obtain a visa which allowed him to work here. It is something that he has always appreciated and recognized.

At first, once he set up his workshop, Manolo did everything himself. From the creation of the shapes, to the sourcing of the skins and fabrics, to the manufacturing of the final product of the custom-made Manolo Blahnik shoes. On top of all this, he is a very humble and charming man and we have established and maintained a lasting friendship.

Nicky hilton

“I always admired my mother’s collection of Manolos when I was little. They were so stylish and grown up! They always stood out from all the other shoes in her closet. They are real jewelry for the feet.


Manolo Blahnik with Linda Fargo and the then Bergdorf team in 2013.

CREDIT: PHOTO: JOHN AQUINO

Linda Fargo, Bergdorf Goodman

“How many other shoe designers are as famous as their wearers, and are known from Poughkeepsie to Portland to Paris? Manolo has successfully stoked the flames of desirability in a remarkable range of people of all ages and backgrounds. We know we can trust her to design beautiful feminine shoes and not fall victim to crazy trends. He knows who his wives are and never loses sight of them. I will always remember seeing him signing shoes and autographs with beautiful colorful adornments in our shoe salon – looking so incredibly dapper and stylish – then taking to the streets and taking extraordinary joy in the windows that we let’s create for him. He always showed good manners, and all we wanted to do was just make him cry out loud with that special Manolo delight.

Pete Nordstrom

“Manolo Blahnik has played a huge role in creating designer shoes – not just an accessory – but a statement you can build your entire outfit on.”

Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo

“Manolo is a master of our time. He’s utterly charming, enlightening and has a certain flavor when he speaks that transports you to his wonderland. He opens up the creative world to fantasy with his designs, his shoes are like works of art that are instantly recognizable and inspire everyone in the world. – Sandra Choi, Creative Director, Jimmy Choo

Nicolas kirkwood

“At 19, I was sitting on the stairs taking a cigarette break, thinking about what exactly I wanted to do with my life. I witnessed the inimitable Isabella Blow prancing in the designer studio I was interning in at the time – like a majestic queen – wearing a custom pair of Manolo Blahniks. I was in love with her of course, but it was those exquisite works of art that adorned her feet and the way they carried her that lit a spark in my head. It was at that moment of clarity that I knew I wanted to be a shoe designer. There was no other option, Manolo had inspired my future and there was no turning back. »- Nicholas Kirkwood, designer

Tracy Margolies, Saks

“Shortly after returning to Saks in 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the Manolo Blahnik Townhouse in London where the brand is headquartered and to take an intimate tour of the space with Mr. Blahnik him -same. It was amazing to see inside Manolo’s beautiful world and be a part of his incredible legacy. The brand has become a fixture in the fashion industry as “Manolo” is now used as an adjective. “It’s so Manolo” is a common phrase among fashion insiders and shoe enthusiasts. – Tracy Margolies, Chief Marketing Officer, Saks Fifth Avenue

Julee Butler, Neiman Marcus

“My first meeting with Mr. Blahnik was during a personal appearance he made for our best customers Neiman Marcus in the Palm Beach store. He was immaculately dressed in a pale lilac 3-piece suit with a pink and white polka-dot bow tie. I loved his sharp wit and dapper personality, and he graciously signed our clients’ coveted Manolos and posed in hundreds of photos with his very loyal clients. My favorite Manolo Blahnik shoe is the famous BB pump that he named after actress Brigitte Bardot. It is the ultimate luxury shoe that every woman should have in her wardrobe. It doesn’t have the bling embellishment that characterizes so many Manolo styles, but there is something magical about the lines. It is simply the best that understated luxury has to offer. – Julee Butler, VP and DMM of designer shoes

Neil Cilfford, Kurt Geiger

“Manolo is the only brand in my 25 years of luxury shoe management history where I had to spend a 3 hour interview with the whole family to convince them that we would be good partners to work with. A lovable brand name and an even more lovable family.

Charlotte olympia dellal

“Most of the girls grow up trying on their mother’s shoes, and I was lucky enough to have one that wore Manolos, so my informal shoe education started there. When I was about 20 years old I had a little Yorkie puppy and named him Manolo. I sneaked him to Cordwainers College where I studied shoe design and was soon discovered, but he was allowed to stay the rest of the day as a class mascot purely because of his name.


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