Blahnik, Manolo


Blahnik, Manolo
▪ 2004

      The strappy, elegant, and sexy stiletto heels handcrafted by Spanish shoe designer Manolo Blahnik—the same signature pricey footwear featured on HBO's TV series Sex and the City and worn by its trendsetting star, Sarah Jessica Parker—were among the three decades of shoe designs featured at a 2003 retrospective on Blahnik at the Design Museum in London; it was Blahnik's first retrospective, and it was the first time that a shoe designer had been featured at the museum.

      Blahnik was born in 1942 in Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands. His father was Czech and his mother Spanish. He briefly studied law in Geneva but soon began concentrating on literature and architecture. In 1965 he moved to Paris and studied art. After arriving in London in 1968, he later admitted, he spent more time watching movies in Leicester Square's cavernous cinemas than working on his English, his original intention. His social life was frenetic and peopled with those at the centre of high society and fashion. His manner, however, was always rather formal—a result of his proper, disciplined upbringing.

      In 1972 British dress designer Ossie Clark requested that Blahnik, then a fledgling shoe designer (who was encouraged to pursue the craft by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland), produce a capsule collection to accessorize dresses that would appear in his seasonal runway presentation. For Blahnik it was a watershed moment. British Vogue featured his work on the magazine's pages. Soon stylish young women with whom he was friendly were wearing his shoes, and in 1974 Blahnik posed with model Angelica Huston for the cover of British Vogue, becoming the first man to appear on the magazine's cover. He built a retail client base at a funky London boutique, Zapata, on Old Church Street. He later acquired the premises and set up his own independent shoe boutique, which he operated with his sister, Evangeline, with whom he continued to work closely. By 1979 Blahnik had opened another shoe boutique on Madison Avenue in New York City. In 1991 he added a third shop, in Hong Kong.

      Blahnik taught himself to design shoes by trial and error, mastering the craft by targeting high-quality Italian shoe factories and matching their methods with his innate, artful skill. He produced the prototypes for his shoes alone, working without an apprentice, and, like a haute couturier, he sketched his collections. Those sketches were filled with bright colours and great beauty. Biannually they appeared in high-fashion magazines as his seasonal advertising campaigns. In addition to his association with Clark, Blahnik worked closely with a select group of fashion designers, including Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein in the 1980s; Isaac Mizrahi, Oscar de la Renta, and John Galliano in the '90s; and most recently young designer Zac Posen. These associations kept his designs on fashion's cutting edge. For his contribution to fashion, London's Royal College of Arts awarded Blahnik an honorary doctorate in 2001.

Bronwyn Cosgrave

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Blahnik, Manolo — (1942 )    Born in the Canary Islands, Blahnik entered the shoe business in 1973 when he bought a shoe store and, in 1978, he produced his own line of shoes. With a name synonymous with sexy as it relates to shoes, Blahnik has created footwear… …   Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

  • Manolo Blahnik — Biografía Nace Santa Cruz de La Palma, España, 27 de noviembre de 1942 (68 años) Nacionalidad …   Wikipedia Español

  • Manolo Blahniks — Manolo Blahnik Manolo Blahnik (né le 27 novembre 1942) est un styliste espagnol et une marque de luxe, une des plus importantes dans les chaussures pour femmes. Né à Santa Cruz de La Palma dans les Îles Canaries d un père tchèque et d une mère… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Manolo Blahnik — Chaussures Manolo Blahnik portées par Whitney Port au festival du film de TriBeCa en 2009. Manolo Blahnik (né le 27 novembre 1942) est un styliste espagnol vivant en Angleterre, et une marque de luxe, parmi les plus importantes concernant les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Manolo Blahnik — This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Blahnik and the second or maternal family name is Rodríguez. Manolo Blahnik Born Manuel Blahnik Rodríguez 28 November 1942 (1942 …   Wikipedia

  • Manolo Blahnik — (* 27. November 1942 in Santa Cruz de La Palma, Kanarische Inseln) ist ein spanischer Schuhdesigner, der vor allem durch die Fernsehserien Sex and the City und Absolutely Fabulous bekannt wurde. Aufgewachsen ist er auf La Palma, wo seine Eltern,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Manolo — Manolo, a hypocoristic of Manuel, may refer to: Another name for Majo, a stereotypical traditional Spanish man People Manolete, a Spanish bullfighter. Manolo (footballer) (born 1965), from Spain Manolo Badrena (born 1952), Puerto Rican… …   Wikipedia

  • Manolo — ist ein männlicher Vorname aus Spanien und Italien. Damit werden folgende Personen benannt: Manolo Badrena (* 1952), puerto ricanischer Perkussionist Manolo Blahnik (* 1942), spanischer Schuhdesigner Manolo Caracol (1909–1973), spanischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Blahnik — ist der Name mehrerer Personen: Joel Blahnik (* 1938), US amerikanischer Komponist und Lehrer Manolo Blahnik (* 1942), spanischer Schuh Designer Siehe auch: Blanik Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklär …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Manolo (desambiguación) — El nombre Manolo puede referirse... al manolo, personaje tradicional madrileño desde el siglo XVIII; al fabricante y diseñador de zapatos Manolo Blahnik, cuyos productos también se suelen llamar manolos ; al pintor Manolo Valdés; al escultor… …   Wikipedia Español


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