"You put high heels on and you change." - Manolo Blahnik
How fitting is it that the weekend before his birthday, I come home from New York with a pair of his creations? I was going to do an earlier reveal but thought it appropriate to have a post dedicated to the man whose shoes I couldn't resist.
Born Manuel Blahnik Rodríguez, Mr. Blahnik is 70 today, born November 28th 1942. After reading various interviews, I fell deeper in love with his brand and the man himself. He is not after the money or the ultra-fame, he never was. It was about doing what he loved, and that he did.
He was raised in a banana plantation in the Canary Islands (Spain) and his parents had hoped he would become a diplomat. But that's not what his future held. Events pass and he had the opportunity to meet with then-Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. She saw his designs and told him to only design footwear. Another opportunity came when in 1972, designer Ossie Clark asked him to design shoes for his runway show. And the rest, as they say, is history.
"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." (Source)
"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." (Source)
The quiet little boutique behind MOMA. (image source)
As I approached the door, I took a quick look at Patrick who was following closely behind. I don't know why I had to turn around and look at him, maybe for reassurance or validation of some sort that it's okay to go in?
Anyway, the nice doorman swung open the glass door and welcomed us in. The rest of our group declined to enter, they said it looked 'exclusive' and might not be welcoming to a party of more than two.. (which is totally not the case!)
I took a quick glance at all the beautiful shoes and paused to catch my breath. My heart was about beat out of my chest. Oh my poor heart, will it end here?
No. I was determined to find the shoes I so helplessly could only love through a computer screen two months before. And there they were. The BB pumps. But no bordeaux-coloured in sight! I quickly checked the other side of the table and there they were--the bordeaux BB pumps with the ankle strap. I saw a pair in black and in red on the Barney's website and believed there were only two colours available. But alas, the boutique had what I really wanted.
The salesladies were quietly chatting a few steps further into the store where the Manolos quietly took their place on the dustless shelves. I liked this kind of customer service--no pressure, safe to peruse the options and should you need assistance, a quick 'hello' to the saleslady will suffice.
I took the shoe off the table and sat in one of the chairs to try it on. A bit slippery and a bit loose on the heel, but that may be the stocking. The saleslady suggested I take it off. And voila, the suede beauties fit like a glove.
I asked for the other foot and she quickly brought it out, and I put both shoes on my feet.Was this my Cinderella moment?
I walked around the front of the store and was amazed at the comfort of the 4-inch heels. The PurseForum ladies were right, "I feel like I'm walking in flats!" I half-whispered, half-screamed with glee.
At this point, I felt unstoppable, invincible.
"I'll take them," I said to the saleslady.