Manolo Blahnik is the creme de la creme of footwear designers, having been praised for not jumping on trends, but creating classic styles that stand the test of time -- and starting trends himself! In celebration of Manolo Blahnik's 40 years of sketching beautiful shoes and having them hand crafted in London, he partnerned with Hong Kong's most esteemed department store, Lane Crawford (think Neiman Marcus) to re-release 10 of his iconic styles.
The shoes are beautifully presented (below) among Blahnik memorabilia. In order, the first pair, Pimenta, was first released in 1977 and inspired by chilli peppers, which were first brought to his native Spain by Christopher Columbus.
The next, called Piaggi, was introduced in 1977 and inspired by Italian fashion editor Anna Piaggi who is best knows for her contributions to Vogue Italia and her vast vashion collection.
The below pair is called Tuberose from 1981. They were inspired by the pop art movement and a painting of a garden in hell (must have been a nice garden!)
The fourth pair, the Rodrigo from 1988 is a classic desert boot was influenced by the shoes worn by the British forces during the North African Western Campaign during World War II. It was made in every color for designer Isaac Mizarahi.
The next pair, called Digo from 1993, was inspired by the 1961 British horror film, "The innocents." The film was based on the book The Turn of the Screw.
The below shoes, called Calder from 1993, are a modern rendering of Yves Saint Laurent's famous 1954 Piet Mondrian dress, which fused art and fashion. Both were modelled after Mondrian's use of lines, retangular forms and primary colors.
The next are called Okla from 1994, and were inspired by lumberjacks. The shoes were made famous by Jennifer Lopez who wore them in her "Jenny from the Block" music video.
The below boots reminiscent of Victorian lace up boots, called Bul from 2008, were created by Blahnik for British designer Christopher Kane to be shown with his Spring/Summer collection.
The ninth, called Terrier from 1982, was inspired by the Scottish tartan and the last, called Zipa from 2001, by Charles Dickens' series Little Dorrit. And if you fancy yourself a Manolo Blanik of sorts, of course you can just go ahead and design your own shoes!
While of course the shoes were the highlight of the exhibit, we were also given a peak into Manolo the man which was really interesting. Apparently he's into photography and only likes shopping for books, music and DVDs. Um, really?
Also included were pictures he took himself of his famous friends but most interesting pictures of a younger Manolo. Below first in his friend Paloma's apartment and second in London (before he was a success - there was a time?!) and um, hello hottie!!!!
So there you go, a 40 year celebration of Manolo Blahnik, well deserved! Beautiful shoes and apparently beautiful man (who knew!) And as always, we hope this has inspired you to take a shot at designing your own shoes. Even great designers like Manolo gathered inspiration from friends to artists to movies. Determine what drives you and get designing!