In an exclusive interview in the February issue of Hemispheres magazine, legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik talks toe cleavage and finding creative inspiration.
Raised on a banana plantation in the Canary Islands , the exuberant 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.
On toe cleavage:
“I think it’s more exciting and sensual… Before me, there was no toe cleavage at all. ”
“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.”