If any shoes designer has a Midas touch, it’s Manolo Blahnik. Since he started out in 1971 he’s set a gold standard – and he’s now making his 50 – year carrer with a golden collection that riffs on his classic silhouettes, from boots with tiers of fringe to heathered metallic mules, pumps of handwoven macrame, and four pairs with bells on (inspired by a bracelet Blahnik’s mother wore, with four bells representing the members of their family).
Amrah asked a few of his friends about the power of Manolos – and Manolo.
Anjelica Huston, Actor
I was in the South of France in 1974 doing pictures for British Vogue when Manolo and I met for the first time. I remember him telling me that one of his favorite scenes in the movies involved Marilyn Manore in my dad’s [John Huston’s] movie The Misfits – he said it was because Marilyn wears these white high heels. I liked him instantly.
Grance Wales Bonne, Creative Director, Wales Bonner
I once wore a pair of his emerald slippers at a dinner, and I was leaving, the poet Ben Okri stopped me and proclaimed, ‘I cale these the shoes of life’.
Isaac Mizrahi, Designer
I met Manolo in Perry Ellis’s design studio in 1979 or 1980, but my favorite memory was a dozen year later, when he and my mother observed a fitting I did with Shalom Harlow. My mom and Manolo had already bonded over Xavier Cugat and Norman Norell, but something about Shalom resembling Ava Gardner was utterly thrilling to them – a lot of screaming ensured.
Victoria Beckham, Designer
I have always loved a BB pump – one of my funnies Manolo memories is wearing a pair whilst driving the Spice Bus at full speed as we filmed Spice World.
Amanda Herlech, Creative Consultant and Writer
In 1979 I had just discovered Grace Coddington’s works in Vogue. Later, I wanted to be Talisa Soto in a red Fiorucci boiler suit and my red Manolos. It was like jumping off a cliff into an adventure – there was no turning back.
Kate Moss, Model
I still wear my Manolos from the ’90 – my favorites are a gold scalloped peep – toe. They’re the perfect heel to go from day to night.
Naomi Campbell, Model And Activist
He reminds me of a marquis – I’m sure he’s royalty somewhere and he doesn’t know it. He’s just so precise in all that he executes.