Diane Von Furstenberg has more than eighty pairs; Paloma Picasso has been a fan since she was fourteen; Bianca Jagger and Kate Moss, to name just a few, are fellow addicts. For three decades, Blahnik’s sense of the theatrical wedded to the finest materials and superlative craftsmanship have held the fashion world spellbound, and his creations have graced the catwalks of great designers from Yves Saint-Laurent to Isaac Mizrahi to John Galliano.
Here, collected together for the first time, are over one hundred exquisite drawings that Blahnik makes at the outset of the design process. These sketches are executed with such exuberance and deftness that they have become as sought after as the shoes themselves (they often fetch up to $15,000.00 at charity auctions). Inimitable in style, the drawings, beautifully reproduced in this book with special inks, vividly convey Blahnik’s unique vision. Whether it’s a Grecian sandal designed for Galliano, with a snake-like strap slithering up the calf, or an emerald- and bead-fringed satin mule, the seductive attention to detail in the drawings conjures up the shoe itself. Illuminating introductions by Anna Wintour and Michael Roberts explore why Manolo Blahnik’s shoes inspire such passion, and these are complemented throughout the book by the words of admirers including Suzie Menkes, Donatella Versace, and David Hockney.
Michael Roberts also contributes a photographic essay showing Blahnik at work in his studio, making sketches, preparing the wooden lasts, and supervising the production of his shoes at his factories in Italy. A final “scrapbook” section includes Manolo Blahnik’s own photographs of family, friends, and inspirational places.
Anna Wintour is the editor of American Vogue.
Michael Roberts is fashion editor of The New Yorker and author of, among many other books, Jungle ABC and Manolo Blahnik Drawings.