Raised on a banana plantation in the Canary Islands, the exuberant Manolo Blahnik, designer of iconic women’s shoes, remains as joyful as ever about the possibilities of his art. Like Valentino and Lagerfeld, Blahnik is one of the last living lions of style. Talking to him, it’s easy to imagine him rushing around his space, continuing to work on his next fantastical stiletto. He has a warm, musical voice, and floats from subject to subject with the same joy and youthful curiosity that has informed his work from the very beginning.
Here are some quotes from his upcoming interview in United Airline’s February edition of Hemispheres Magazine.
On toe cleavage:
“I think it’s more exciting and sensual… Before me, there was no toe cleavage at all. ”
On becoming a shoe designer:
“Things happen by accident. But now I love what I do, and I can’t live without it.”
“I like to create a very complicated shoe that looks simple. I get excited when I come to the factory. I could be there every day.”
On early exposure to fashion:
“The Canary Islands- it was very far away… I grew up with images- reading Vogue, with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Those people were my visual education.”
On his parents:
“It was mad the way we grew up. They were always encouraging us to paint- to do this, to do that.”
On staying joyful:
“Work. I work more now than I did thirty years ago. I feel absolutely responsible for all these people.”
On finding inspiration in old films:
“I adore films. It’s my diet, my nourishment.”