I’ve been a little obsessed lately over reading interviews with Manolo Blahnik. He’s really such a cool guy and I love that he lives in Bath, which is one of the most charming places ever and one of my top geographical candidates if I could choose anywhere in the world to whittle away an afternoon.
I bought my first pair of Manolo Blahniks in 2006, but for all the wrong reasons. I wanted a pair of Manolos because I saw them on Sex and the City, and they were associated with an exciting lifestyle. I chose the pair that I thought would be the most classic – the Carolyn model for those of you who are familiar – and not the one that I loved the most. I bought black because it was the most practical over other colors I loved, and worst of all I ended up with the wrong size because I let the salesperson convince me that the last size in stock fit me, even though it didn’t. I ended up barely wearing the pair and eventually giving them to a friend.
In the years since that first pair, I’ve come to realize that sort of purchasing mentality is actually very anti-Manolo – who as you will read below, stands for the fashion that is beautiful, that suits the individual, that is never trendy or too nouveau, and that has longevity. He gives a very charming interview too, with plenty of zingers. Here are some of my favorite quotes below, as well as their source interviews – I hope you enjoy as much as I did!
image: Martha Stewart
“I find the idea of the super rich quite disgusting. I recently turned down a lot of money to create a mass-market type product. I don’t want to make that sort of money if I am polluting my brand.”
“Everywhere people are hijacking names. The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress was copied within about 10 minutes. All of this copying and people begin to ask the question “What is real?” and an even bigger question then becomes ‘What is good design?’”
“Nowadays I’m in favor of something very discreet. I’m tired of the whole toe-cleavage thing. One should not even see the beginning of the toes these days; all one should note is a tiny pressure where the shoe ends and the skin begins, or the hint of a crease.”
“You have either got style or you haven’t. Maybe you can acquire a bit of polish, but really style is about the way you move, the way you wear your clothes. It shouldn’t matter where the dress is from—if you are stylish, you can wear everything from trashy to wonderful. Romy Schneider epitomizes style for me.”
image: Come What May
“If I had my way, sex would be long gone from my life, although I can’t banish it from my shoes. Men tell me that I’ve saved their marriages. It costs them a fortune in shoes, but it’s cheaper than a divorce. So I’m still useful, you see.”
“Ooh, no. I can’t change too many hundreds. I would feel too guilty. The other day I saw in a magazine that they’d put the wrong price on my shoes. It was unmentionable. I was mortified. No, since the crash, I make less complicated shoes — not so many jewels and embroidery. But really, women still need beauty, don’t they? You hardly have couture now, so shoes are what women do instead. Maybe that’s why they buy so many, because compared with a £20,000 dress, they’re not so bad.”
image: The Cut
via Harvard Business Review“I’ve never been a great strategist thinking about what sells or doesn’t sell.
I do fashion, yes, but I think it’s obscene to change drastically from one season to the next. Of course, I’m aware of the climate now. And maybe the shoes are expensive for some people. But they are made by hand with really beautiful materials, so you cannot produce them for $150—no, impossible. But they last; you’re not going to buy them now and throw them away in a few months.”
“I don’t like large companies, where they have these endless meetings to do one little detail. I can’t deal with these things; I’m too old for it now. We’re a family-owned company—my sister, my niece, a few people more. I design all the shoes myself, and I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I don’t want to be influenced.”Isn’t Manolo just awesome? So much that he said really spoke to me and it’s funny how a lot of it is applicable to much more than just beautiful shoes. What do you think of his philosophies? Anything that spoke to you, anything you really disagreed with?