Some designers, like the great Manolo Blahnik, need no introduction. We know their work—in this case, footwear stunning enough to earn the shoes a place in pop culture and their creator a first-name-basis level of fame—and we celebrate it every opportunity we can get. This week on The Window, we’re in a Manolo state of mind.
We’re lucky enough to work at Barneys New York, where a perfect Manolo Blahnik creation is never too far away. Though you, too, are only a click from having these beauties in your own closet, we wanted to bring you even closer to the master himself. We opened up our Twitter and Facebook channels to take your questions, which Mr. Blahnik answered just for you below. Prepare to be inspired!
How should a woman feel when she’s wearing Manolo Blahnik shoes? – Michael Anthony Huynh
She should first of all feel comfortable, secondly beautiful, and thirdly confident. I want women who wear my shoes to feel happy and for the shoes to add that little spark to their outfits—or their day, for that matter!
What made you decide to design women’s shoes? – Priscilla Obermeier
I decided to design women’s shoes because I adore women. Also, there is so much I can do with women’s shoes. I can get very creative and my imagination can go wild. With men’s shoes there is not so much one can do as they are very limited.
Do you have a muse? – Eileen Marie O’Dea
Not a muse per se, but I often think of divine women like Amanda Harlech, Jessica Chastain and Uma Thurman when I design shoes. I get great inspiration from actresses who appeared in my favorite old films, like Claudia Cardinale and Romy Shneider.
Where do you seek inspiration? – Charles Dieujuste
I never really seek it out. It always comes to me. My mind is very quick and vivid, so as soon as I see a thing or a person that gets my attention, very often, straight away I imagine a shoe with a detail from my mind. For example, when I am around nature and see a beautiful flower, plant or tree, I often get ideas to do shoes with botanical details.
Do you have a favorite place where you design your fall/winter and spring/summer collections? – Florence Fridman
Well, ideally I would like to be in Bhutan in the Himalayas in a wonderful temple surrounded by beautiful monks in orange robes, but the reality is that I do it in my office or home in London.
What is your definition of luxury? – Rachel Dominguez
Everybody has a different definition of luxury, but to me luxury is defined by an object with clever design which is extremely well made. All the little details count: the idea behind it, the material which the thing is made of, the finishing. Luxurious items should last for years and be timeless.
What is your best-selling shoe ever produced? – Susan Anton Katz
I would have to say the BB court shoe. It is an absolute favorite all over the world as it is a great shoe. Totally timeless and very chic and flattering.
Would you say the character Carrie Bradshaw from ‘Sex and the City’ influenced your brand image, and do you think that character was the quintessential Blahnik wearer? – Tiera Burrows
I am not sure about a ‘quintessential Blahnik wearer’ as my customers are different all over the world. The ‘Sex and the City’ show exposed my name to all the women all over the world who watched it, and as a result I gained customers, which I never had before. Ms. Parker was a client of mine way before the show started and I am extremely grateful for my shoes having such a big presence in the series and the films and her lasting power.
Would you ever introduce a men’s line? – Hayes Russock
I always have men’s shoe in my collections. Brogues, loafers, Oxfords and Chelsea boots are always a staple. Men’s shoes don’t change much. I only change the materials and colors on them.
Do you have a favorite color or fabric to work with? – Andra Gabriela Coman
I love Ottoman silks and brocade silks. Delicate embroidered materials or printed materials are definitely my favorite. I love shocking colors and various accessories like buckles and pom poms.
If you had to recommend one Manolo Blahnik shoe to buy, which would it be? – Leah Goldberg
I would recommend that each woman buys the pair that her heart is leaning towards as soon as she enters the shop, whether it’s a simple pump or my most crazy botanical creation. Life is short and shoes should be what makes you happy, so buy what you love.
And don’t forget to check back all week for lots more on this shoe guru—from his top shoe picks for the season to the women who love him.
Portrait of Manolo Blahnik courtesy of Michael Roberts.