Have been going to the same places for the past few days: coffee at Kitsune, strolling on the Colette alley, window shopping around the galleries. I find there is magic in Palais-Royal and I get so disconnected while being there. The legendary shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik, felt the same about the place: “There was only one place that I wanted to be in Paris – Palais-Royal. It’s the one place in this city where I immediately felt welcome…”
Manolo Blahnik will finally open an independent boutique in Paris this coming fall, and it will be inside the galleries at Palais Royal. The new shop will open next September on rue 12 Montpensier, in a building built in 1782 on the western side of the elegant garden of the Palais-Royal, just a few steps away from Didier Ludot, the most famous vintage shop in the Paris. (Excellence magazine)
“You can’t beat the beauty of Palais-Royal, and people like destinations and experiences. The young generation wants to invest in these experiences and it’s something we want to continue putting resources into” Kristina Blahnik, Manolo’s niece, told the Business of Fashion.
Blahnik’s career began when the designer showed some of his drawings for stage designs and costumes to Diana Vreeland. She would be the one to direct him towards designing shoes and leave the theatre.
“A few of my friends were responsible for it: Paloma Picasso and André Leon Talley set up a meeting with Mrs Vreeland and I went to see her while we were in New York. When I showed her my sketches she advised me to focus on footwear. She became my mentor and to this day I still think of her. When I design shoes, I often think: ‘Would Mrs Vreeland have liked it? What would she have thought of it?’ remembers Blahnik in an interview with Vogue Italia.
His first shoe was for Kansai Yamamoto in 1971, called The Brick. He designed it in a week and made each pair of the geta-inspired platform himself, by hand. “I went to under the arches in Portobello Road, and I bought an incredible amount of cork” Blahnik remembers an interview with Vogue, adding that he covered the shoes in “revolting patent leather in green and red and pink.”
Blahnik takes great effort in making sure his shoes are comfortable, and spends around three months of each year visiting his factories. “I love exaggerated, and I love eccentric, but you must be comfortable. Otherwise it is nonsense. There is nothing charming about a woman who cannot walk in her shoes.” (The Guardian)
“My shoes are special shoes for discerning feet.” ―Manolo Blahnik
“I think of each new season as an evolution, not a change in style.” ―Manolo Blahnik
One day in 1993, Diana visited Blahnik’s boutique in London to buy a Christmas present. According to the shoe designer, the late Princess of Wales usually wore flats and low-heeled shoes because of her height. But she purchased a pair of black pumps, which she paired with a famous LBD (later dubbed the Revenge Dress) that she wore to the Serpentine Gallery’s summer party on the day Prince Charles announced his affair on national television. (Elle)
“The greatest shoemaker in England for many, many decades; he used to be the royal shoe-maker for the Queen Mother. This is where I learnt my trade.” ―Manolo Blahnik