Manolo Blahnik Teams With Bluebell For Asia Expansion

Manolo Blahnik
The designer signing shoes for consumers at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Courtesy of BFA NYC

Manolo Blahnik International Ltd. is expanding its presence in Asia with help from Bluebell Group.

The designer, who has spent the past few years making strategic retail moves, has partnered with the luxury importer Bluebell, which will hold the distribution rights and manage retail development in Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

The brand’s plan for Japan includes its first shop-in-shop this fall. It will be designed by Nick Leith-Smith Architecture and Design. The plan is to open a Tokyo flagship in 2017. In addition, Bluebell Group will support the 41 doors that already sell the footwear brand in Japan.

Manolo Blahnik Shoes Store Saks Fifth Ave NYC A look inside the Manolo Blahnik boutique in NYC’s famed Saks Fifth Avenue department store. Thomas Iannaccone.

The brand plans to set up its first Malaysia flagship this fall. The 1,022-sq.-ft. store will be located within the Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, in Singapore, the Manolo Blahnik shop-in-shop that’s currently operating at Takashimaya will be run by Bluebell Singapore, with refurbishment plans scheduled for the fall.

Manolo Blahnik Shoes Store Saks Fifth Ave NYC Pastel-colored Hangisi pumps on display. Thomas Iannaccone.

“Manolo Blahnik is a global brand, but with comparatively small distribution in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore,” said Kristina Blahnik, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik International. “With Bluebell now as our partners, we are excited about exploring and building the business in these regions and further territories. I have trust in their guidance and experience, and appreciate their company family values that resonate with our own.”

Manolo Blahnik has 290 points of sale in 33 countries along with 11 standalone stores, including two in Hong Kong and one in Seoul.

Earlier this month, the designer unveiled his new collaboration with Rihanna, a denim-driven offering.

— With reporting by Lorelei Marfil