With a career spanning 50 years, Spanish-born Manolo Blahnik is one of the world’s most influential footwear designers. “Shoes help transform a woman,” he says. His designs and sketches have appeared in museum exhibitions and numerous books (the latest being 2017’s The Art of Shoes). He collaborated with director Sofia Coppola on the costumes for her 2006 film Marie Antoinette (the film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Costume Design). He’s also an Honorary CBE and has won awards like the Footwear News Lifetime Achievement Award and the British Fashion Council Outstanding Achievement Award. So, on the occasion of the brand’s 50th anniversary, Blahnik has created a collection of glistening gold shoes—new silhouettes imbued with classic design elements.
“I adore gold,” says Blahnik. “It’s been featured in almost every one of my collections, with more significance this year than ever. Why not a gold collection filled with the most extraordinary silhouettes in celebration of my golden year?” From flat boots with cut-out details to crackled gold foil feathered mules, playful fringe knee-high boots and lace flats and mesh pumps, no opulent detail has been overlooked with this collection. “For me, gold is not only a symbol of opulence, it signifies so much more,” says Blahnik. “Versailles, the sun, the gods, all things that I am fascinated with! It is the most decadent of colors, which is why it has appeared time and time again in my designs.”
In celebration of this milestone anniversary, an interactive exhibition titled Manolo Blahnik: A New Way of Walking has launched on the brand’s website. “I want this to be a space where others can learn and feel inspired to create,” says Blahnik. “It’s very important to me, personally, that even those who can’t buy my shoes are able to feel a connection to Manolo Blahnik and who we are. It has been such a joy to relive some of the magnificent moments in my career and uncover things I have not thought about or seen for years!”
The project has been a long-term ambition of company CEO Kristina Blahnik and was designed under her direction. The archival content and touchpoints throughout have been compiled by fashion curator Judith Clark in conjunction with Manolo Blahnik himself and the brand’s in-house archive team. “It’s a dream come true to open the first doors to our archive,” says Kristina Blahnik. “As the legacy of Manolo Blahnik continues to evolve, the experience will continue to develop and tell its story. This is only the beginning of a very exciting journey.” Echoes Manolo Blahnik: “My ethos is to keep going, keep going and keep going! The vision has always been to create timeless and elegant shoes to make people walk beautifully and to make them feel good. That is the secret to our success!”