Have you ever been curious about the most interesting facts about Manolo Blahnik? His shoes have become synonymous with Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw and Hollywood socialites, but there are many facts about Manolo Blahnik you might not know. These 10 essential details about the shoe designer’s life (sourced from designmuseum.org) will impress even your most fashion forward friends. So get cramming!
1 Manuel before Manolo
Let's start off with a fact about Manolo Blahnik before he actually became the Manolo we know. He was born Manuel “Manolo” Blahnik Rodriguez on November 28, 1942 in Spain’s Canary Islands. His name kind of has a charming ring to it, no?
2 He Grew up on a Banana Plantation
One little-known fact about Blahnik is that he actually spent his youth on a banana plantation helmed by his Czech father and Spanish mother. But the Rodriguez family often traveled to Paris and Madrid, which most likely served as Blahnik’s introduction to the world of fashion. Thank goodness for that!
3 He Got It from His Mama!
Blahnik’s mom wasn’t only an avid fashion magazine reader (she held subscriptions to US Vogue and Glamour, among others), but she also had a penchant for crafting Catalan espadrilles. And guess who was watching in the wings? The young Manolo! "I’m sure I acquired my interest in shoes genetically or at least through my fingers, when I was allowed to touch them as they were made," Blahnik said (via designmuseum.org).
4 Manolo the Diplomat?
Another interesting fact about Blahnik is that his parents sent him to a Geneva university to study politics and law. However, in 1965, he took off to study art in Paris. To support himself, Blahnik worked in boutique shops, took photographs for The Sunday Times, and freelanced as a designer.
5 He Was a Vogue Favorite
This particular fact about Manolo Blahnik isn’t quite difficult to believe today, but it was quite an impressive feat for a then-unknown talent. A trip to New York (and a very useful connection) led Blahnik to cross paths with US Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Upon studying his portfolio, she said (via designmuseum.org), "How amusing. Amusing. You can do accessories very well. Why don’t you do that? Go make shoes. Your shoes in these drawings are so amusing." And so, a shoe designer was born. Later on, he appeared on a 1974 British Vogue cover –the first man to ever do so.
6 He Once Designed Men’s Shoes
In the (very) early 1970s, Blahnik began designing men’s shoes for a London boutique called Zapata. Luckily for the ladies, it wasn’t exactly his cup of tea: He found that designing for men stifled his creative process. In 1972, Blahnik landed the opportunity of crafting shoes for an Ossie Clark fashion show. Celebrities and socialites flocked to the Zapata shop to pick up pairs of his shoes.
7 Bloomies = Manolo’s Foray into the U.S. Fashion World
American gals can thank Bloomingdales for giving Blahnik his start in the U.S. in 1978. Just one year later, a Madison Avenue shop came to fruition. But the man mostly responsible for Blahnik’s stateside success early on was none other than George Malkemus, a former copywriter for Bergdorf Goodman and marketing maven.
8 He Brought Back the Stiletto
Now, this is one fact about Blahnik that any heel-loving lady out there should know! While many women were clunking around in heavy platforms, Blahnik concentrated on perfecting his standout stiletto heel. Of course, we’re still waiting for word on how to make them comfy enough to last through the night.
9 He’s a Team Player
Though Blahnik has reportedly designed the prototype for each one of his many (many, many) pairs of shoes, he has been known to collaborate with other heavy-hitting designers like Calvin Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, and John Galliano. You've got to love a designer who knows how to share his successes. What a stand-up trait!
10 He Lives with 10,000 Pairs of Manolos
One last fact about Blahnik is that he has shacked up in England with 10,000 pairs of his designs. Um…can we borrow a pair (or a hundred), pretty please?
Hopefully, these 10 fast facts about Manolo Blahnik have taught you a bit about the man behind the famed footwear. What did you learn? Do you have a piece of insight to add? Let me know your favorite tidbits about Manolo Blahnik, or any other designer!
Top Image Source: elizabethannedesigns.com
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