Manolo Blahnik bigraphy, stories - fashion designer

Manolo Blahnik : biography

28 November 1942 -

Manuel "Manolo" Blahnik Rodríguez (, or born 28 November 1942, Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain), is a Spanish fashion designer and founder of the self-named, high-end shoe brand.

In popular culture

  • In part one of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn film, Bella Swan wears Manolo Blahnik shoes for her wedding.
  • The staff of the TV show, Angel, asked Manolo Blahnik for permission to use their company name onscreen. The company then provided footwear for the episode and insisted that characters wear the products even if the shoes were not shown on camera.
  • In the popular long-running TV show "Sex and the City" Blahniks are a particular favorite of the character Carrie Bradshaw and as a result are mentioned frequently. A notable episode illustrating the brand's prestige is What Goes Around Comes Around from Season 3 where Carrie is mugged. During her assault the assailant demands she surrender her shoes, demanding them by the brand's name.
  • They are referenced multiple times in Duck Dodgers whenever any sort of footwear defect occurs, typically with the grumbled phrase "Cheap counterfeit Manolo Blahniks".
  • At the end of the fourth verse of the RuPaul dance music song "Click Clack (Make Dat Money)," from his album Glamazon, the drag queen "Supermodel of the World" sings "My Manolo Blahnik's gonna party tonight."


Display of a Manolo Blahnik shoe Born to a Czech father and a Spanish mother and raised in the Canary Islands (Spain), Blahnik graduated from the University of Geneva in 1965 and studied art in Paris. He moved to London in 1968 to work at fashion boutique "Zapata" and wrote for Vogue Italia. After showing his portfolio of fashions and set designs to Diana Vreeland, she told him that he should design only footwear. In 1972, Ossie Clark invited him to create shoes for his runway show. With a loan of £2,000, Blahnik bought Zapata from its owner and opened his own boutique. Design Museum Retrieved 7 August 2008

In the 1970s, when chunky platform shoes and boots were the mainstream footwear styling of the day, Manolo Blahnik turned back his attention to the stiletto heel, which has remained the brand's mainstay to this day. Manolo Blahnik shoes have rapidly become a symbol of pure classical style for the 21st century.

Manolo Blahnik's flagship store remains to date in Old Church Street in the fashionable Chelsea district of London.

Blahnik's boutiques are located in London, New York, Las Vegas, Dublin, Athens, Madrid, Istanbul, Dubai, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Stockholm. Bloomingdales (for which he created his first American collection), Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue carry his line in the United States and newly opened in Dubai Mall. The company has signed a long-term deal with the shoewear retailer Kurt Geiger to operate Manolo Blahnik boutiques.

Blahnik was elevated to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2007 Blahnik was appointed as an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order British Empire for his service to the British fashion industry.

Blahnik currently resides in Bath, United Kingdom and was awarded an honorary degree from Bath Spa University in July 2012.


Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Past Winners Retrieved 31 January 2011

  • 1997 – The Stiletto
  • 1990 – Accessory Designer of the Year
  • 1987 – Special Award

British Fashion Council Retrieved 31 January 2011

  • 1999 – Accessory Designer of the Year
  • 1990 – Accessory Designer of the Year
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