A captivating documentary. A world museum exhibition. Star-studded collaborations.
The 2010s were hectic – and unforgettable – for the creator.
Here, Blahnik talks about âThe Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,â the âThe Art of Shoesâ exhibit – and his collaboration with Rihanna and Demna Gvasalia. Plus, the designer reveals the real story behind Kate Moss’ wedding shoes.
Kate Moss walks down the aisle at Blahniks, but the shoes almost don’t arrive
In 2011, when the designer was asked to create the perfect pair of wedding shoes to match Kate Moss’s John Galliano dress, he was completely at ease.
“We finished the shoe and the heel was full of pearls, [placed] one by one, âBlahnik recalls. “And then the day before she tried them on and she said, ‘Oh, my shoe hangs on the dress. I must have it without pearls. So we got another version, and [a team member] returned on the last plane from Milan with the new shoes for the wedding the next morning.
The designer recalled having had the “most beautiful time” at the wedding in the Cotswolds, where he was at a table with [actress] Anita Pallenberg and [singer] Maryanne FidÃ¨le. âKate was beautiful, she is still beautiful.
A major moment on the FNAA scene
For FN’s first award of excellence in 2011, there was only one choice: Mr. Blahnik – and he accepted it with his characteristic humor and humility.
âI never really thought about my success, but I guess it’s true. I have been going there for a while. Suddenly people seem to really like my shoes again. But you know, these furniture shoes were all the rage for three or four years. I made platforms in the 1970s, so it wasn’t new to me. I have never followed trends nor embarked on the frenzy of making the “right” shoes.
When Manolo met Demna
âAhh, Georgian boys, damn it! “
While they may have been an unexpected match, Blahnik said he appreciated the opportunity to work with Demna and Guram Gvasalia for the Vetements Fall ’16 Paris Couture show.
They said, ‘We want shoes that look very sexy, but like over the knee boots. And I said, ‘I’ll give them to you right now.’
Demna made a series of modifications to Blahnik’s Hangisi, removing the glittering buckle and transforming the satin shoes into a slingback, cropped style, ankle boots and the centerpiece: the thigh-high boots. Alongside Blahnik, Gvasalia also deconstructed the shoes, giving them frayed edges and unfinished closures as if they had been brought in with scissors.
âThey were beautiful and sold incredibly well. The boots were so high they came to the hip on little girls. It was wonderful working with these boys. I love this challenge, âsaid the designer.
Queen Rihanna x King Manolo
What a pair. Rihanna and Manolo have teamed up to create three collaborative collections: a denim-focused offering, sexy winter boots (including a tribute to JLo’s Y2K Manolo Timbs) and stone-embellished sandals.
âI like everything about Manolo. He’s such an amazing human being, âRihanna told FN in 2016.â I was lucky enough to see him create from scratch. He’s so passionate about what he does, and it’s worth it when you buy or wear a pair of his shoes, because you know what it is. It is not “copy and paste”. He doesn’t let anyone do his job. He still loves everything about shoes, and it’s so refreshing.
Blahnik was clearly just as in love. âShe’s so beautiful when she looks at you with those green eyes,â he said, recalling their time spent working together on the hot summer mornings in New York City. “You just tell her, ‘I would do anything for you, my dear.’ Her beauty fascinates me, captivates me. I love the women’s movement and the way Rihanna moves her neck is fabulous, âhe said of the star.
A star is born
Manolo was designed for the big screen. His cinematic life – which began with an idyllic childhood in his beloved Canary Islands – was recounted in his 2017 documentary, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards.
Rihanna, Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Andre Leon Talley and Rupert Everett also celebrate Blahnik in the film, as well as designers Charlotte Olympia Dellal and Isaac Mizrahi, classic Mary Beard and many more.
âIt was a great experience, but it takes too much energy from me,â he said at the time. âDealing with publishers and producers has been an absolute nightmare. I don’t want to see my stupid self anymore. People could walk into the theater and say, âWho is this monster? I asked [close friend and director] Michael [Roberts] filming my back all the time, but it didn’t turn out like that.
The same year, Blahnik launched his documentary, he toured the world with his attractive exhibition âArt of Shoesâ. Among his most memorable tour stops? Madrid and Saint Petersburg.
âOh! Madrid was a mess, I loved it! Everyone who was anyone in Spain was there – Pedro AlmodÃ³var, Paz Vega and all those actors. It was kind of an amazing feeling to be at the home and to have people who love you. It was very touching. But my favorite stop was in St. Petersburg, I had to learn a little trick in Russian, because I think it’s good to do that when you go to a country. But somehow people said, “More, more! And I said, ‘I’m sorry, but ladies and gentlemen, I can’t go any further. , it is learned phonetically. ‘ They loved it, though. They were applauding – on the huge, huge stairs of the Hermitage.
A return to Paris
The opening of Blahnik’s flagship store on July 19 in the city’s historic Royal Palace was a particularly special moment for Blahnik, who studied art and set design in the City of Lights during the 1968 student uprising.
âI was terrified and stared out the window. It was a huge spectacle with screams and cars burning in the street. I had never seen such a thing, âhe said. However, his fear soon gave way to excitement, and he took to the streets to join the crowds, walking the length of the capital. âIt was my reckless youth,â he said with a laugh.
To celebrate the opening, the designer organized a private dinner at the Parisian restaurant LapÃ©rouse, a cultural institution on the left bank that dates back to 1766.
âI remember having dinner here in the 60s with Paloma Picasso and Andy Warhol manager Fred Hughes, but it was a lot more scruffy back then, not very fancy at all,â the designer said.