Celebrating 50 years: Manolo Blahnik is going for GOLD

“Everybody says the same thing, that this milestone is quite extraordinary. It seems to me like 50 days or months. I’ve been having such a divine time — bad times, too. In my mind, 50 years is a lie.” Manolo Blahnik

Luxury footwear brand Manolo Blahnik is a privately owned family run company that celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. 

Manolo was born in the Canary Islands to a Spanish mother and Czech father. His interest in footwear design began as a child when he crafted footwear for lizards out of sweet papers. He was also influenced by his mother, who had a love for shoes and learnt how to make her own.

Manolo was studying art and set design in Paris when he was introduced to then-director of the Met Costume Institute, Diana Vreeland, who spotted his potential in his sketches from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ and suggested he focussed his attention on designing shoes. Manolo’s designs were elegant, sleek and sophisticated, he did not subscribe to the bulky or chunky footwear that was fashionable in the ’70s and instead concentrated on encouraging a more refined, more feminine look. His first boutique was opened in Chelsea, London in 1969 and he is now globally recognised for his timeless, classic styles.

A beautiful spectrum of the classic Hangisi
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw

Blahnik has gained notoriety with a flurry of celebrity admirers in his 50-year long career. 1977 Bianca Jagger wore Manolos as she entered her 30th birthday party on horseback at Studio 54. Princess Diana in THAT dress at a Vanity Fair party in 1994. However, it was Sex and the City’s leading lady Carrie Bradshaw who really made Manolo Blahnik a household name. The iconic blue “Hangisi” stilettos she wore to marry her ‘Mr Big’ were even re-released by MB as part of a limited collection to mark the 10th anniversary of the movie.

To this day, at the age of 78, Manolo is still very much hands-on with his brand, sketching each design himself. He also regularly visits Italy and keeps close relationships with manufacturers to add his own personal touches. 

Manolo Blahnik’s original drawings imagined in his 50th Anniversary capsule collection

2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of Manolo Blahnik and to celebrate this momentous occasion, Manolo has designed a gold capsule collection. Each style features a gold disc on the sole and is presented in limited edition packaging. The collection is described as being “Quintessentially Manolo: lavish and whimsical”

“Shoes are the quickest way for women to achieve instant metamorphosis” Manolo Blahnik. 

KvS