Why (All) Women Love Manolos
By Tatiana Hambro
Though looking down is a stance seemingly reserved for one's cell phone, a mere glance at the feet of the world's most powerful and fashionable women reveals a common thread that connects them: a pair of Manolo Blahniks. Never has a shoe spanned style and age with such ease as a Manolo heel, gracing the feet of women from First Lady Michelle Obama and Rihanna, to Princess Diana and Anna Wintour. Why? The answer goes beyond the seductive click-clack they often make.
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They Work With (And For) Everything
“They saved every social situation—adding polish to my ubiquitous jeans, cigarette pants…and they went with every dress,” explains Vogue fashion news editor Emma Elwick-Bates, recalling the black Campari pumps she purchased during her early career at British Vogue. Like countless women working in fashion, she relies on Manolos to punctuate many an outfit—regardless of how fashion-y those outfits are.
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They Project Confidence
Another Vogue fan (if not the ultimate Vogue fan) is longtime Manolo loyalist Anna Wintour, who’s religiously worn her custom-made nude slingbacks for over twenty years. The AW’s (as Mr Blahnik has affectionately nicknamed them) have been spotted at the Met Gala, Wimbledon and countless Fashion Weeks thus becoming, second only to Wintour’s immaculate bob and all-weather sunglasses, a style signature. Wintour is one of many power women that rely on Manolos for their ability to project confidence and sophistication without saying anything more.
They Remain Relevant
But the secret to the success of Manolos goes beyond their ability to problem solve one's style. For years, Mr. Blahnik created spectacular runway shoes for a long list of fashion designers, John Galliano, Azzedine Alaia and the late Oscar de la Renta are among them. Recent collaborations include Rihanna, zeitgeist brand Vetements and the currently trending New York label Khaite, keeping the designer firmly on the fashion pulse. A quick glance at the front row of Brock Collection’s SS’17 show (a reliable bellwether for the next flock of It-girls), revealed '90s-era Manolo kitten heel mules paired with Brock’s vintage-looking jeans. That Manolos are eternally relevant has proven abundantly clear. “Manolo Blahnik is always in style,” explains Khaite’s founder Catherine Holstein. “He doesn’t compromise his vision to fit trends. He sets them by staying focused on his aesthetic.”