Money Style

Mr. Blahnik

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.

image: WWD

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?

 

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52 Comments

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    March 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    He lives in Bath??! I didn't know that. Love LOVE that city. I chuckled when I read his quotes. Funny guy but down to earth and realistic. When I was still working in an office, I used to buy his shoes. These days, I'm no good with pointy heels. I would love to see heels with a more rounded toe and a slight platform and wedges. I guess it may not be his style though.

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    March 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    He lives in Bath??! I didn't know that. Love LOVE that city. I chuckled when I read his quotes. Funny guy but down to earth and realistic. When I was still working in an office, I used to buy his shoes. These days, I'm no good with pointy heels. I would love to see heels with a more rounded toe and a slight platform and wedges. I guess it may not be his style though.

  • Reply
    Couture Coco
    March 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Oh gosh, you chose such a great person and so relevant for these times. I've never forgotten his words from when I first read about him. I can't remember when exactly but he was the ONLY shoe designer who was among the very few who were truly influential for decades in those days before Jimmy Choo (when Jimmy Choo owned it!) and Louboutin. Before him there was only Ferragamo! He really is one of the originals among many duplicates and facsimiles.

    I so agree with him about longevity and how things shouldn't be too much in the extreme. It all makes sense and I'm so glad he's managed to hold on to his integrity through all the good and bad times.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    March 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    oh Manolo Manolo<3 of course he's not an strategic person, he's just an ARTIST!!!! everybody loves good pieces of art, like his shoes!! i know someday i'll have a pair 😉

    in love with this blog.. following now.
    thanks for your comment!

    xx
    teresa
    http://www.trend-ish.com

  • Reply
    Little Rus
    March 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for this story! It was wonderful to learn more about him. Have you read his fairy-tale story by Camilla Morton? You can find it on my blog here if you feel like having a look http://fashionedbylove.blogspot.com/2011/11/manolo-blahniks-fashion-fairytale-and.html )

    x

  • Reply
    Little Rus
    March 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for this story! It was wonderful to learn more about him. Have you read his fairy-tale story by Camilla Morton? You can find it on my blog here if you feel like having a look http://fashionedbylove.blogspot.com/2011/11/manolo-blahniks-fashion-fairytale-and.html )

    x

  • Reply
    Leslie Quiros
    March 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    i've read his interviews and I alaways get inspired by his insights. He truly is an admirable character!
    xo,
    LMQ

  • Reply
    Leslie Quiros
    March 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    i've read his interviews and I alaways get inspired by his insights. He truly is an admirable character!
    xo,
    LMQ

  • Reply
    Tabitha
    March 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I love his entire ethos, I didn't know he lived in Bath either, how very elegant and under the radar of him.

  • Reply
    Glitterista
    March 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    What great quotes! It is wonderful, and surprising, to know that he continues to create all of his shoes and has a small family operation. 😉

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    March 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I adore Mr Blahnik and his designs as well. I own a pair of the Something Blue shoe, that I wore for the dress rehearsal of my wedding, and love any opportunity I can to wear them (and sometime contrive a reason). I also own several books of this lovely drawings. Fantastic post.

    Chelsea (www.hautechildinthecity.com)

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    March 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I adore Mr Blahnik and his designs as well. I own a pair of the Something Blue shoe, that I wore for the dress rehearsal of my wedding, and love any opportunity I can to wear them (and sometime contrive a reason). I also own several books of this lovely drawings. Fantastic post.

    Chelsea (www.hautechildinthecity.com)

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ A Walk in the Closet
    March 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Great post. I love these quotes but especially the last one. It's interesting you picked that one because he was also quoted recently as saying this:

    "I have been approached so many times to do one, but I don't want to work for a big company where I'll have to have lots of meetings where I'm told what I can and can't do," he said. "My niece, Kristina, handles that sort of thing for me – it's just not for me. I was recently contacted by J Crew to do something with them, so I sent them over 45 pairs of shoes, and they announced we were doing a collaboration. I had no idea about it!"

    Here's the original article: http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2012/02/23/manolo-blahnik-on-keira-knightley

    Lol! What a PR boo boo for J.Crew but I'm kind of glad to hear he had no idea and that he hasn't gone from saying those quotes you highlighted to then doing the complete opposite.

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ A Walk in the Closet
    March 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Great post. I love these quotes but especially the last one. It's interesting you picked that one because he was also quoted recently as saying this:

    "I have been approached so many times to do one, but I don't want to work for a big company where I'll have to have lots of meetings where I'm told what I can and can't do," he said. "My niece, Kristina, handles that sort of thing for me – it's just not for me. I was recently contacted by J Crew to do something with them, so I sent them over 45 pairs of shoes, and they announced we were doing a collaboration. I had no idea about it!"

    Here's the original article: http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2012/02/23/manolo-blahnik-on-keira-knightley

    Lol! What a PR boo boo for J.Crew but I'm kind of glad to hear he had no idea and that he hasn't gone from saying those quotes you highlighted to then doing the complete opposite.

  • Reply
    Susan
    March 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Awesome and honest interview form Mr. Blahnik. Although I don't think my wide feet would ever fit into his beautiful shoes, it is still nice to goo-goo gaa-gaa over them and I got no problem doing just so.

  • Reply
    Susan
    March 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Awesome and honest interview form Mr. Blahnik. Although I don't think my wide feet would ever fit into his beautiful shoes, it is still nice to goo-goo gaa-gaa over them and I got no problem doing just so.

  • Reply
    Lily
    March 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    He is so fabulous…love this !

    xxLily
    goldandgray.com

  • Reply
    Lily
    March 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    He is so fabulous…love this !

    xxLily
    goldandgray.com

  • Reply
    lexi920
    March 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I want his shoes even more now – what a delightful man!

  • Reply
    lexi920
    March 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I want his shoes even more now – what a delightful man!

  • Reply
    newpetite
    March 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the good read!

  • Reply
    newpetite
    March 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the good read!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann
    March 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I see he's got my Disso booties on display with Martha! It's such a cute shoe, but also was an impulse sale buy and I don't wear them as much as I should. I'm trying to sell them, size 38! 😉

  • Reply
    DSK Steph
    March 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I love how he does what he wants. lol His way seems to be working out for him! 🙂

  • Reply
    chanello
    March 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Coincidentally, the 1st pair of fnacy shoes for me were also the Carolyns! I still wear mine after 6 years as I find them the MOST comfortable and work appropriate. Always Manolo, never Louboutin for interviews/court (too flashy).

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    He has such an amazing personality. I'd die not only for the shoes, but also one of the drawings – they are so pretty.
    Mr Blahnik definitely has style inside and out!

  • Reply
    Oh Sunnie Day
    March 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I love the interview! & those show drawings!!

    xx

    Jen

  • Reply
    Oh Sunnie Day
    March 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I love the interview! & those show drawings!!

    xx

    Jen

  • Reply
    makeupandpearls
    March 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    bath is an amazing little town – he has such good taste! love your roundup and congrats again on your blog birthday!

  • Reply
    Mary Jo at TrustYourStyle
    March 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I love his integrity, his hands-on approach is why the brand has lasted and not gotten diluted. But sadly the irony is that selling more affordable things is how a lot of people earn the money to buy his shoes…haha, the fashion world is full of these conundrums!

    xo Mary Jo

  • Reply
    Laura Frost
    March 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Wow! I never knew much about Blahnik. Thanks for putting this together. It was really fun to read.
    http://www.littlelaurascloset.com

  • Reply
    Laura Frost
    March 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Wow! I never knew much about Blahnik. Thanks for putting this together. It was really fun to read.
    http://www.littlelaurascloset.com

  • Reply
    easy petite looks
    March 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Huh, I don't really get/ agree with some of this. His comment about the 'super rich' was odd. What exactly is the difference between rich, super rich, and uh, mega rich? And I disagree about the style comment. I think style is too subjective. Maybe I'm just in a contradictory mood, lol

  • Reply
    easy petite looks
    March 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Huh, I don't really get/ agree with some of this. His comment about the 'super rich' was odd. What exactly is the difference between rich, super rich, and uh, mega rich? And I disagree about the style comment. I think style is too subjective. Maybe I'm just in a contradictory mood, lol

  • Reply
    jenn
    March 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    what a fantastic collection of quotes! i too bought my first pair of manolo's influenced by sex & the city. the mary janes from the vogue – creepy editor episode. i have hardly worn them but they meant so much for to me than just the shoe itself. thank you for posting! xo – jenn
    http://cocowouldapprove.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    jenn
    March 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    what a fantastic collection of quotes! i too bought my first pair of manolo's influenced by sex & the city. the mary janes from the vogue – creepy editor episode. i have hardly worn them but they meant so much for to me than just the shoe itself. thank you for posting! xo – jenn
    http://cocowouldapprove.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    pjlatte
    March 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    He's so charming! I just got my first pair of Manolo Blahnik not long ago and I was very excited to see your post today on him. I can't help but smile when I read "Men tell me that I've saved their marriages. It costs them a fortune in shoes, but it's cheaper than a divorce." Great post, Kat! ♥

  • Reply
    Christie
    March 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    What a lovely post! The shoe collection he has featured on Martha makes me convet over it!

    – xoxo

  • Reply
    Katherine
    March 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Yes I think taken on its own that super rich comment can seem odd – I think it's a more general statement about the rise of more and more of the "super rich" in the past few decades and what that influx of "new money" has changed in the realms of fashion, taste, etc

  • Reply
    The Jones
    March 6, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    He is amazing…that shoe collection is really beautiful…and he's such a charming and delightful man!

    <3 Cambria
    jupefashion.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    LN
    March 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    What a great collection of quotes. I love that he's very simple and focused on his design. One of my favorite quotes is the one where he says you can wear anything if you are stylish. So true!

  • Reply
    Mrs C
    March 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Great read! As much as I like SATC and Mr Blahnik's creations, I can never wear his shoes 🙁 They are too narrow for my feet.

    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    Geri Looker
    March 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    My daughter bought me the book Manolo Blanik The Elves and The Shoemaker at Christmas. I am still hopeful that one day………

  • Reply
    Latkes and Dim Sum
    March 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Thank you for this post – I remember the WSJ article well. I love the timelessness about many of his shoes (and have a similar experience as you had with the Carolynes – just not a good fit for me!). Have you tried his plain pumps? I find them so flattering.

  • Reply
    Haus and Home
    March 7, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Loved this and you featuring his quotes.

  • Reply
    cinzee
    March 7, 2012 at 5:38 am

    oh what a great post!!!!!!! I've heard about MK since the sex and the city days too (haven't we all,lol) but i gotta say, his shoes are really lovely, its like a piece of art! I've not bought any MK shoes before and i've got a question, are they really not painful at all? hehehe

    I love these interviews that you included, Manolo really sounds easy going and cool;)

    And that illustration of the MK heels is soo beautiful!!!

    Btw, congrats on your one year blogging aniversary:) You got great stuff to say all the time so i'm not surprised you that your numbers of followers grow bigger and bigger. Keep up the good work!!!!:D

    Cinz
    http://cinzee.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Cinz
    March 7, 2012 at 5:40 am

    oops i meant to say MB and not MK for Manolo Blahniks!!! Please excuse me, i must be too tired or i was thinking of Michael Kors for some reason???;P

  • Reply
    Mrs C
    March 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

    He reminds me of Van Gogh.. art is all that matters 🙂

    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    Cindy
    March 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

    He's such an awesome guy and surprisingly down to earth!

  • Reply
    Elina0408
    March 7, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I love his designs too! He lives in Bath in England??

  • Reply
    Elina0408
    March 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I googled it, it's time to pay a visit to my niece who is studying there!!!

  • Reply
    Ivana
    March 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    He is so amazing and so inspiring! He´s always stayed true to his aesthetics, even with the trend of insane platforms being all the rage, and I really admire him for that. Plus, his designs are always so feminine and beautiful! I´ve been saving up my pennies to buy my first pair for my wedding, hope it´ll work out 🙂

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

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