Anyone who watched Sex and the City has certainly heard of Manolo Blahnik. Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw, was an avid fan of the designer's heels. Recently, I finally saw the 2017 documentary on the man behind these shoes - "Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards". Simply put, it is a must-see. You really do get a view into Manolo the man and Manolo the designer.
Blahnik grew up in the Canary Islands, and he came to London in the late 1960s, where he would go onto open his first boutique in Chelsea in 1973. What we learn from this documentary is not only about the high standards he sets for himself but also for his designs. First off, he still sketches all of his designs! His colored-sketches are works of art.
During a production run, Blahnik must be on-hand. In fact, he doesn't leave the prototype to anyone but himself. Stylish in his lab coat, he is there, ensuring that prototype will be just as he envisioned.
Much like Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, he is not afraid to speak his mind and probably much to a certain horror of any publicist. Shulman touched on this documentary during the interview. And, what did Blahnik have to say about it?
"It was a mutilated movie.”
That one sentence got me thinking - what was left on the editing floor? What else is there to know about Blahnik? If I thought the documentary "as-is" was good, so imagine what the unfiltered version could be like?
We get a possible glimpse, as his interview with Shulman continued.
“I think it’s offensive. Why didn’t they go to Saint Martins?”, on Burberry appointing Italian Riccardo Tisci as creative director. “Thousands of children. Talented. Talented. But they want names. Or why don’t they choose English people who want to be in England, like the Céline girl, she’s divine: Phoebe [Philo]. I don’t know if he is a good or bad choice, but it’s not relevant. It’s not England.”
We get a glimpse of this side of him in the documentary, and his appreciation for craftsmanship extends into his personal life, as is reaffirmed in this interview.
“I want everything in England. I want flannel from the Midlands, steel buckles from Sheffield. I refuse to buy even underwear made in China. I like Smedley. Machine-wash and kicked out in hotels. I have them for years."
All in all, it's refreshing to not only hear from someone in the fashion industry who isn't afraid to speak his mind, but also one that walks the walk and talks the talk. He appreciates quality and craftsmanship.
I highly recommend not only watching the documentary, "Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards", but also reading Shulman's interview.
P.S. Speaking of quality, it's the perfect time to treat yourself to something from Adea, with its Italian-made fabrics. How very nice against the skin!
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