August 21 2014

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45 posts tagged "Manolo Blahnik"

Manolo in Manhattan


Manolo BlahnikThanks 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 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).

manolo blankWrapped 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!”

Photo: Joe Schildhorn /

The Morning After: Our EIC Recaps Yesterday’s Action



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?


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 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.


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.”


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.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Manolo Blahnik: For the Love of Lizards


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 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 “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

Manolo Blahnik Is in a New York State of Mind



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.

Photo: John Phillips/ Getty Images

Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric


2. Isabella Blow, 2002 (c) Diego UchitelCurator Alistair O’Neill only met the late Isabella Blow once. He was at an art opening with designer Julien Macdonald, one of the late, great Blow’s charges, whom he studied with at the Royal College of Art. “Isabella was wearing a famous Philip Treacy hat, which is in the exhibition. It had feathers around the eyes, which covered her nose and her mouth and her forehead,” he recalled. “I spent the evening talking to her and was completely fascinated. But all that I could concentrate on were her eyes, because I couldn’t really see her mouth. I could only just about listen to what she was saying, and I was just mesmerized by this image of these eyes being framed by the feathers. The combination of her intelligence and her laughing was really intoxicating,” he continued. “I’ve never forgotten that.”

On November 20, O’Neill, along with Shonagh Marshall and Central Saint Martins, will aim to bring the editor, patron, and muse’s work and wardrobe to life with the opening of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at the Somerset House in London. Before her tragic suicide, in 2007, Blow was a pillar of London’s emerging fashion community. Having worked everywhere—from British and American Vogue to The Sunday Times to Tatler—Blow is credited with discovering such designers as Alexander McQueen (as the story goes, she bought his entire graduate collection after it walked down the Central Saint Martins Runway in 1992), milliner Philip Treacy, Jeremy Scott, and Hussein Chalayan, as well as models Sophie Dahl (whom she once described as a “blow-up doll with brains”) and Stella Tennant.

Alexander McQueen and Isabella blow

Aside from being a steadfast supporter of young talents (Treacy and McQueen both lived with her at one point, and she not only gave the designers financial and editorial support but also fed them ideas from her wealth of historical knowledge—fashion and otherwise), Blow, who came from a complicated aristocratic background, was known as a great eccentric—both in her behavior and her dress. Her infamous wardrobe comprised the most extreme pieces by all of the conceptual up-and-comers she helped along the way. And, of course, Treacy’s hats were her screaming signature. Following her death, her sartorial collection was to be sold at Christie’s to settle her estate, but Blow’s friend Daphne Guinness swooped in at the last minute and purchased every piece, because that’s how Isabella—or Issy, as she was known—would have wanted it.

O’Neill, however, did not want to simply paint Blow as an eccentric. “I thought it was important to distance Isabella from those literary ideas of the English eccentric, because they’re often quite tragic,” he explained. “And I’m not sure Isabella was fully tragic—she was quite brave, and very funny. She had a very bored and black humor.” Furthermore, Blow always wore her outfits—whether it be a metallic McQueen corset or an ensemble crafted from brightly hued garbage bags—in a deeply considered manner. “Isabella used her clothes, her hats, and her accessories as a means to modify and transform herself,” said O’Neill. “She had a great eye for silhouette, and her hats were almost a means of plastic surgery for her face, without going under the knife,” added Marshall. “She said they can lift you, they can make you look different, and I think that was something that she really indulged in.” Continue Reading “Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric” »