Manolo Blahnik

03 February 2016

Designer Manolo Blahnik is at the top of the shoe game. There has never been a shoe designer whose maintained the number one position for so long. And while his competitors are none other than the Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik heels are often called the sexiest shoes in the world. 

Growing up
Manolo Blahnik was born on the Canary Islands. His mother was Spanish and his father was from the Czech Republic. He spent his childhood living at the family’s banana plantation where he was homeschooled. At the age of fifteen Manolo Blahnik moved to Geneva to live with his father’s cousin. He started studying law, as his parents wanted him to become a diplomat. Diplomacy however, wasn't Blahnik's true calling, and he started an education in literature and art history. After graduating he left Geneva for Paris to study art.  


Becoming a designer
In 1970 Manolo Blahnik moved to New York where he got the chance to meet with the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Diana Vreeland. She encouraged him to continue designing shoes. In 1972 he was introduced to Ossie Clark and started his first women’s collection. Although the shoes weren’t really that much of a commercial success, the originality of his designs was definitely noticed. In 1973 he started his own company and introduced a line exclusive to Bloomingdale’s. A year later Manolo Blahnik opened a store on New York’s Madison Avenue. 


Reaching the top 
Manolo Blahniks shoes began to appear on the runways of big designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent. But it wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century that he became the number one shoe designer. His shoes skyrocketed to stardom, after their regular cameo's in series like Sex and the City. Fast forward to the present time, and he now has a never ending list of celebrity endorsements. 

Beauty takes time
The production of a Manolo Blahnik heel is a lengthy and intricate process . It takes 3 whole weeks to finish a pair. Unlike other designer shoes, all shoes are completely handmade. Manolo Blahnik not only designs the shoes but also helps with hand-crafting the shoes himself. In total 16 craftsmen work on one pair throughout the production process. 

Fun Fact
Manolo Blahnik always keeps 1 pair of every design that he creates. He has two houses filled up with 25.000 shoes that are arranged in the order of their production date.