New York Fashion Week Spotlight: Manolo Blahnik

With the high-heeled kick off of New York Fashion Week, we celebrate the legendary Spanish shoe designer Manolo Blahnik and explore the man behind one of the industry's most coveted accessories.
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Manolo Blahnik Photo

Manolo Blahnik attends the Manolo Blahnik Burlington Arcade store launch on February 2, 2016, in London, England.

"Young man, do things, do accessories. Do shoes," so cooed U.S. Vogue editor Diana Vreeland as she perused a young Manolo Blahnik's portfolio in 1970. And so it began. From then on, the Spanish fashion designer focused his artistic sensibilities on being a high-end creator of footwear and the rest is history (in stilettos). His legendary life and iconic designs are the subject of the new documentary, Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards, which opens in theaters on September 15th. 

Check out some interesting facts on the man behind the eponymous luxury shoe brand.

1. Manolo Blahnik is a pretty smart guy.

Blahnik was raised by two affluent parents who wanted their son to be a diplomat. He attended the University of Geneva, where he focused his studies on law, art history and literature. But it was only after he got his degree and moved to Paris in the mid 1960s that he began looking into the world of design.

2. Although he's known for his signature stilettos, Blahnik actually likes women in flats. 

“There is a time and place to wear all heights of shoes," he stated in Footwear News. "Heels are fabulous, but some women look extremely chic in flats. You have to know how to walk in flats though to look elegant in them.”

3. Blahnik confessed he has a special place in his heart for the Matador pump.

“It is by far my favorite style of shoe," he revealed to FN. "Very chic and elegant. In general, the matador costume I find the chicest of all. And even though corrida is a very cruel tradition, the matadors always look amazing.”

4. He's a pseudo-uncle to Jade Jagger.

Among Blahnik's first clients was Bianca Jagger, who wore his shoes to her famous white horse entrance at Studio 54 in 1977. Blahnik and Jagger became such close friends, the designer would frequently be a guest at the Jagger home and even change daughter baby Jade's diapers.

5. He keeps his shoe empire independent and within the family.

Unlike many other luxury brands, Blahnik has never sold his business to a giant corporation. Like his personality, he likes to keep his business free and independent. He also prefers to keep his enterprise running with the help of his sister Evangelina and niece Kristina. 

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards opens in theaters on September 15th.