Manolo Blahnik Muses: Male Fashion Icons, Getting Older and More

Manolo Blahnik isn’t one to hold back.

Here, the legendary designer sounds off on the advantages of aging, his obsession with Jessica Lange, dream dinner-party guests and more.

For more on the iconic designer’s big year ahead, click here.

Male fashion icons:
“There’s an incredible collection of old boys I love, but they’re all dead. I liked the obvious ones, like Cary Grant. He was divine. I loved Gary Cooper because he was in the adventure movies and so chic. Nowadays, I’m not mad about the looks. Many men are badly dressed: It’s a collection of blue jeans and cowboy hats and big fat tummies or over-exercised bodies.”

Getting older:
“I’m in my early 70s now – which I guess is a dangerous age – but I’m very happy. In one year, I’ve changed a lot. What’s happened to me is mental, not physical. I’ve never been diplomatic, but now I am completely blunt. What I say is the truth, and I feel better about it.”

His dream dinner-party guests:
“Jessica Lange would be at the table of honor. I would have [photographer] Eric Boman,  [artist] Peter Schlesinger and a mix of actors and writers. I love writers more than anyone else.”

The proliferation of designer labels:
“Every bloody designer is doing shoes, and so many of them are hideous. They don’t know how to make a shoe. They’re impossible to wear, they’re badly made and they cost a lot of money.”

Getting inspired:
“I don’t work with a mood board. I think about fabulous faces, like Joan Crawford’s. Unretouched, she was the most exquisite girl in America in the 1920s. [I love pictures] taken in the days before Photoshop and digital retouching. “

One of his favorite photographs: “I remember sitting for Mr. [Irving] Penn and how kind he was. In 2002, he was photographing me for The New Yorker. He said, ‘Call the office and get me a heel.’ So he photographed me holding a heel, and it was divine. I remember that like it was yesterday. It doesn’t seem that long ago.”

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