41 posts tagged "Manolo Blahnik"
It’s been a decade since the ladies of Sex and the City last kicked off their stilettos. But even after all these years; a pair of blockbuster films; and a very real re-examination of what it means to live, date, and shop in New York, few women define our relationship with shoes like Sarah Jessica Parker’s Manolo-sporting Carrie Bradshaw. This week, the actress will launch a line of her very own with (who else?) Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus. The wares are simple, single-soled, everyday pumps, flats, and sandals that will retail in the $300 range at Nordstrom starting February 28. No sky-high spikes or flame-embellished mules here. Just Italian-crafted (save the Spanish-made espadrilles), warm-hued basics meant for the women looking for a taste of Carrie’s sartorial adventures. We sat down with Parker and Malkemus to talk about why color is the new neutral, what it takes to design the perfect—and not too cheap, not too pricey—heel, and how the SJP shoe philosophy has evolved over the years.
How did the collection come about?
Sarah Jessica Parker: The opportunities had been orbiting and I kept having a hard time saying yes—and that puzzled me. I would honestly lay in bed at night and think to myself, “What is the problem?” And I went to lunch one day with a group of successful women, and they were encouraging me to do a shoe line. They said, “Well, what’s the problem? You have all this money and all these opportunities.” And I said, “It’s just not about that, obviously. Do you know what? To be honest, what I would really love is to be a partner with George.” I didn’t know him super well, but we had spent the past twelve years working together on Sex and the City and I certainly admired his business and the way he conducted his relationship with Pat Field and me. And they said, “Why don’t you call him?” And I said, “You know what? Screw it. I’m just going to be brave. Because the worst he can say is ‘no.’”
George Malkemus: Which I didn’t!
SJP: And so began this thrilling conversation.
Can you tell me a bit about the concept behind the collection?
SJP: We wanted to revisit the single sole—where did it go? We found, much to our delight, that our reference points are the same, and we had an idea of this particular woman in our head. She wears color as a neutral and doesn’t think black totally is necessary. “Appropriate” footwear was not something that we were interested in. And we thought of all those great shoemakers from the late seventies, all those wonderful shoe stores…that’s how it all began. George found us a great shoemaker in Tuscany.
GM: Third generation.
SJP: We found a great person in Spain to make our espadrilles—to really make the shoes the way we wanted at a price point I felt comfortable with.
The shoes are an investment, but they’re not unobtainable.
GM: That’s the key word! Investment. That’s the thing we want to have. If you have a pump from Sarah Jessica’s collection, five years from now that pump will still be in our collection in many different colorways.
SJP: You shouldn’t feel regretful when you look in your closet and think, “Boy, that feels out of fashion.”
Well, these shoes are simple. There’s nothing super-trendy about them.
SJP: That wouldn’t be something I would do well.
GM: And I don’t think that’s what I would want us to do. I take personal offense when a woman spends huge amounts of money, and then after a certain amount of time, feels like she can’t wear it. Or, if she walks into a party and someone says, “Oh, my God! You wore those last wedding when so-and-so got married for the first time! And now they’re getting married for the second time and you’re still wearing the same shoes…and you’re still not married! Because you bought those shoes!”
SJP: Wow! What an amazing leap to those connections!
Thanks to the polar vortex, New York’s streets weren’t exactly high-heel friendly yesterday afternoon. But seeing as I was heading over to Manolo Blahnik’s debut New York presentation, I thought it only appropriate—nay, respectful—to make an effort and brave some heels. It was no small miracle that, after trudging through a snow bank and across an icy sidewalk, I managed to teeter into the Pace Gallery, which was quite literally blossoming with Blahnik’s floral-centric Fall ’14 offering, without hitting the pavement.
The presentation itself was serene: A quartet of films by Blahnik’s friend Michael Roberts, one of which debuted on Style.com ahead of the event, screened on the gallery’s white walls (the shorts detail Blahnik’s childhood, inspirations, and creative process, as well as a Victorian ghost story, which features some of his ladylike, midheel button-up boots). Several styles, like satin boots and pumps embroidered with intricate flowers, were inspired by his time growing up in the lush Canary Islands. One would imagine that a pair of pointy-toed heels, floating in midair thanks to some fishing wire and blooming with threads in a rainbow of pinks, was also reminiscent of Blahnik’s subtropical upbringing.
There’s not enough space here to go through the baffling array of styles, color stories, embellishments, and heel heights (though the arrow-motif black booties, seen here atop Mr. Blahnik’s head, were standouts), so I’ll skip to Blahnik’s favorite Fall design: an embroidered, tasseled, satin pair of spectator pumps that looked as though they were plucked out of some nineteenth-century Spanish dream (below).
Wrapped in a lavender scarf and perched next to a tower of macrons, Blahnik held court in the gallery’s second-floor loft. “I have so many references this season,” he told me, rattling off Spanish stage costumes, botanicals, and James Tissot as a few. When I suggested that his seventy-seven-style collection was huge, he was shocked. “Really?” he deadpanned. “I find it quite small.”
So what’s Blahnik, now based in London, where he showed on the calendar for the first time last season, doing here in the Big Apple? “I’m just here for one season, because it felt right to do it now,” he offered, recalling that, in his youth, he used to head to Manhattan to cavort with Andy Warhol and co. “I was a Factory kid,” he said, beaming. “I was very fortunate to have run with those people, but I’m boring now.”
I beg to differ. Would a boring man have turned out electric-blue suede booties, pumps with swirling gilded details, and knee-high flat boots pierced with big bronze studs? Unlikely.
On my way out, I figured I’d ask Blahnik for some tips on wearing spikes in the snow. His only advice? “Don’t!”
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the designers of Public School, proved that they’re worthy recipients of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s top prize. They showed womenswear alongside their menswear for the first time at Milk Studios yesterday, but what I like about them is that they’re not trying to run before they can walk. Here, for both boys and girls, they stuck to their multilayered, street-meets-high fashion guns. They also had a great casting, completely un-self-conscious in its diversity. Why can’t more designers figure that out?
HOOD BY AIR
Speaking of casting, Kevin Amato, who fills the Hood by Air runway with a spectacular group of mostly nonprofessional models of every color and gender, is at the top of his game. The show was ten or so looks too long and the catwalk inside Chelsea Piers about a mile too long, but nothing could detract from the impression that this is the most exciting label in New York right now. (For more on that, see Maya Singer’s profile in the last issue of Style.com/Print.) Designer Shayne Oliver continued to find ways to breathe new life into logo sweatshirts—a neater trick than it sounds—and pushed his aesthetic forward in dynamic, multizippered outfits in leather, suede, and velvet. The finale of voguers hair-whipped the crowd into delirium. You can enjoy the energy of that, but don’t overlook how much thought and hard work Oliver is putting into honing his vision.
From Hood to haute. Five blocks away at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, the charming designer Manolo Blahnik was showing off his charming shoes against the backdrop of four charming films directed by his friend Michael Roberts. Blahnik, indomitable despite the fact that he was nursing a sinus infection and a sprained neck, held up a shoe and offered it for inspection to Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, the stylist. It had a curtain of tasseled fringe across the instep. “Ca je deteste,” said De Dudzeele, not so much dismissing Blahnik’s work as the entire notion of tasseled fringe. Blahnik was visibly tickled by his friend’s honesty. “You need people like that,” he said. “Who tell you.” Besides, De Dudzeele’s restless eye had already fastened onto another shoe. This one she j’adored.
DINNER AT INDOCHINE
I ran home after Diane von Furstenberg’s show, a celebration of the remarkable forty-year run of her wrap dress. I caught up with some editing, and then Susan and I headed out to a dinner celebrating the appointment of Kyle Hagler as president of the New York division of Next Model Management (or, as we like to think of him, Kyle “The Cover” Hagler—the guy’s relentless in trying to place his clients on the cover of your magazine). During seventeen years at IMG, Hagler was instrumental in building the careers of Liya Kebede and Joan Smalls, among others, and has done as much as any model agent to champion diversity (though I suspect he sees it less as breaking barriers than simply erasing them). Now he gets to run the show.
On the way out, we ran into our buddy Waris Ahluwalia. “Sorry,” I said. “I think I missed your event.” He’d had a tasting for his line of teas at The Standard earlier that afternoon. “That’s OK,” Waris shot back. “It was really only meant to be for friends and family anyway.”
READ THIS REVIEW NOW
Yesterday, Tim Blanks produced and hosted three videos for us, went to a designer’s studio to report a story for the next issue of our magazine, and knocked off a couple of reviews, including this marvel of lucidity that arrived in my inbox at 2:09 a.m. That amounts to a light day for Tim.
Shoe lovers, rejoice: Manolo Blahnik will present his Fall ’14 collection in New York for the very first time this Sunday. Having spent several seasons off the fashion calendar, Blahnik made a fashion week comeback in London for Spring ’14, and suffice to say, we’re pretty excited that he’s planting his heels in Manhattan this time around. “After the positive response in London, I thought, Why not do the same in New York City?” he said. ” I love New York and the people there. I wanted to give them a chance to see what I really do on a more in-depth scale.” The presentation promises to be appropriately glamorous, and will include a viewing of four short films directed by Michael Roberts that capture Blahnik’s childhood, fashion career, and Fall ’14 inspiration.
The first video in the series, “The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,” debuts exclusively here on Style.com. The film explores Blahnik’s upbringing in the Canary Islands, where he spent his days exploring lush forests and making tiny foil boots for the reptiles he stumbled across. You might say his career was meant to be. “I always mention to people that my childhood was magical,” Blahnik told Style.com. “It definitely has an effect on my designs. For example, I am sure my love for botany came from being surrounded by unspoiled nature as a child. My memories of it are very beautiful.”
To view all four Manolo Blahnik films, log onto the brand’s official Facebook page this Sunday at www.facebook.com/ManoloBlahnikOfficial
Stateside devotees of Manolo Blahnik’s polished pumps, rejoice! WWD reported this morning that the Spanish shoe guru, who presented in London last season, will hop the pond in February to debut his Fall ’14 collection at a Chelsea gallery in New York. Carrie Bradshaw would no doubt approve.