Manolo Blahnik - The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards!


Blahnik was born and raised in Santa Cruz de la Palma, in the Canary Islands. His Czech father’s family owned a pharmaceutical firm in Prague, and his Spanish mother’s family owned a banana plantation in the island city of Santa Cruz de la Palma. He was home-schooled when he was a child. As he got older he attended a Swiss boarding school. Blahnik took majors in Literature and Architecture. In 1965, he got his degree and moved to Paris to study art, all whilst working at a vintage clothing shop! In 1968, he moved to London to work as a buyer at fashion boutique "Zapata" and wrote for L’Uomo Vogue, an Italian men’s version of Vogue.

One of Blahnik's greatest inspirations was his mother. She studied fashion magazines and interpreted the latest fashion trend on her clothing. Blahnik and his family often travelled to Paris and Madrid ordering clothes.

Blahnik never studied shoe making formally. He learned the skills by visiting shoe factories and talking to pattern cutters, technicians and machine operators. At first, he designed men’s footwear, but he immediately found that men’s shoes design limited his imagination and lacked the element of fashion. When mainstream shoe style was still dominated by clunky platforms in the 1970's, he revived the sleek stiletto heel, which has since become a classic. Also, he dislikes wedges and believes in the power of heels and the sex appeal that goes alongside them.

 It takes 3 whole weeks to finish a pair. All heels, flats, sandals, boots, etc. are still 100% handmade in Italy. That's not something you can say about other designer shoes.

“There is a time and place to wear all heights of shoes," he stated in Footwear News. "Heels are fabulous, but some women look extremely chic in flats. You have to know how to walk in flats though to look elegant in them.”








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