Celebrated for helping the smart set step out in style each season, Manolo Blahnik (manoloblahnik.com) checks in to share a glimpse into his wonderful world.
WHAT INSPIRED THIS CURRENT FALL COLLECTION?
This collection recalls Marlene Dietrich, who I adore! I have admired her style since I can remember, and I have named a shoe in my collection after her. It is inspired by her effortless balance between glamour and androgyny. The collection is also inspired by the beautiful and ornate nature of 17th century baroque details and sleek cityscapes rising against the backdrop of the sky.
YOU ARE CELEBRATED FOR BEING SO EFFORTLESSLY ORIGINAL AND ENDLESSLY CREATIVE. WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR CONTINUOUS STREAM OF INSPIRATION?
A lot of things trigger my inspiration. It can be the most banal things, but it can also be art, music, theater and history. I can get inspired by dreams! I have a love for Italian flms—Visconti and De Sica being two of my favorites. There is such beauty in their films, and I see something different every time I watch them.
DO YOU HAVE A CURRENT “FAVORITE CHILD” (AKA SHOE) IN THE COLLECTION?
It’s so hard to choose! I love baroque motifs—floral metalwork, romantic sculptures. The Bemusa and Zaborus have the most magnificent laser-cut scrolls, like a theatrical painting. There is a shoe I designed for Tina Chow that I love. She was the epitome of taste and refinement. I always sought her approval. In fact, sometimes when I am drawing a shoe, even now, I ask myself, would these please Tina?
Zaborus suede pumps.
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL SHOES EVERY WOMAN NEEDS IN HER WARDROBE?
Shoes are the quickest way for women to achieve instant metamorphosis. Every woman needs something magnificent, something that makes them feel positively exuberant. A shoe can change a whole outfit and influence how you feel that day.
“SHOES ARE THE QUICKEST WAY FOR WOMEN TO ACHIEVE INSTANT METAMORPHOSIS. EVERY WOMAN NEEDS SOMETHING MAGNIFICENT, SOMETHING THAT MAKES THEM FEEL POSITIVELY EXUBERANT.” –MANOLO BLAHNIK
YOU STARTED DESIGNING MEN’S SHOES. WHAT STYLES OF SHOES DO YOU THINK ARE THE KEY TO AN ELEGANT MAN’S WARDROBE THESE DAYS?
I started designing shoes for friends such as Eric Boman, Peter Schlesinger and David Hockney in the 1970s, and I love that I can bring similar styles to life so many years later! I love exaggerated, and I love eccentric, but you must be comfortable. Otherwise, it is nonsense. The Carlton is elegant and classic, beautifully adorned with crystals, yet as familiar as a house slipper.
Bemusa suede mule
WHAT TRENDS DO YOU LOVE MOST FOR FALL IN TERMS OF FASHION?
Trends don’t interest me. I am more interested in fantasy, you see. My shoes are not fashion or trends—they are gestures.
YOU ARE SO ENDLESSLY CREATIVE, PROLIFIC AND DRIVEN. WHAT IS THE SECRET TO YOUR FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?
My favorite part of my job is working within the factories. The artisans there have immense talent, which has been passed down through their families. It’s a wonderful environment full of skill. I really love what I do. I don’t even know if you’d call it passion or obsession. Obsession, possibly, but I’m going to do what I do, even more exaggerated than before. This is my attitude always. I don’t betray myself at all
Photography by: PHOTO BY MISAN HARRIMAN; SKETCHES COURTESY OF BRAND