Manolo Blahnik's definitive stiletto heel is an icon in the world of women's luxury shoes. For any Sex and the City fan, just his first name is enough to conjure up images of Carrie Bradshaw and her favourite stilettos: the Hangisi pumps with crystal buckles. Born in the Canary Islands, the designer had a privileged upbringing, allowing him to develop his creativity. Even as a youngster, he busied himself making shoes out of sweet wrappers for lizards! In 1969, while studying design in Paris, he met Diana Vreeland, Director of the Costume Institute in New York, to whom he presented a series of costume sketches for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Impressed by his shoe designs, she recommended he makes it his job, unwittingly launching the career of one of the world's greatest shoe designers. A year later, in 1970, Manolo Blahnik opened his first boutique in London, attracting a loyal tribe including Bianca Jagger, David Hockney and Anna Wintour, drawn in by his perfectionism and refined sense of femininity. Extending his influence to New York where he opened a boutique in 1983, spending many years designing shoes for Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein fashion shows. In 2007, he designed the royal shoes worn in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, which won the Oscar for Best Costume Design. A self-taught designer, Manolo Blahnik learned the art of shoemaking on the job, visiting the best Italian factories and spending time with skilled craftsmen. Even today, he designs each model himself and regularly takes trips to Italy to personally oversee prototypes in development. Just like Meghan Markle's personal favourite, the iconic BB pump, Manolo Blahnik's handmade shoe designs are elegant, sophisticated and modern. > View more
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