As the battle of the department store shoe floors continues, Saks is fired up about its latest move. The Manolo Blahnik boutique, one of the designer’s largest globally, officially opened on Saturday, and Saks executives have revealed new details to FN exclusively.
“Manolo Blahnik is a true visionary — an unbelievably skilled and passionate artisan,” said Betty Wang, VP and DMM of shoes. “Even after 40 years, he is still as enthusiastic about his designs as he was at the beginning of his career. He is a true cobbler with an eye for timeless elegance. Many of his designs inspired and continue to influence other notable shoe designers today.”
Blahnik joins the New York flagship’s roster for the first time in Saks’ 90-year history. “We have a long partnership together, and our discussions on how to partner together to create something special in New York have spanned many years,” Wang said. “Both Saks Fifth Avenue and Manolo Blahnik are names synonymous with luxury, quality, and service. We couldn’t be happier that the launch is finally here.”
The boutique features women’s footwear, handbags and will soon stock Blahnik’s new book Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions, which is is releasing in person next month.
“We designed the space, which is a completely new concept and not related to previous shops, in full collaboration with Manolo and his team,” said Matt Davison, SVP of store planning and design. “The concept was originated with images of European residential interiors and fashion details.”
According to Davison, all furniture was specifically for this boutique using residential materials such as marble, hammered metal, antique mirror and plush upholstery. He also offered specific details on each room in the space:
-The first room is intended to be a large lady’s changing room — a residential and sophisticated boudoir, with shoes displayed on all walls, Davison said. An upholstered custom round settee, the centerpiece of this square room, is anchored above by a large antique Murano chandelier. Its walls, upholstered in a tufted fabric, add softness and femininity.
-The sitting room has the same general architecture of the boudoir, with the addition of a focal wall featuring a racked textural plaster finish and a leaning full length Venetian mirror.
-The transition from the boudoir to the larger sitting room is through an opening flanked by two custom metal and mother of pearl screens, giving the sense of going through an open gate.
-Overall, the design is a modern take on traditional residential design: The use of moldings and antique chandeliers is offset by textural plaster and quirky custom furniture.
Blahnik himself told FN last week said, “It’s terribly exciting to finally be present at Saks in New York City. It has always been one of my favorite department stores and I can’t wait to see the new space, which I’m sure will be beautiful and very feminine.”
The designer recently launched handbags and ventured into men’s footwear earlier this year.
Click through the slideshow below for a look inside the newly opened boutique.