The Story Behind Manolo Blahnik and Rihanna’s Newfound Friendship

Anticipation is building for the Rihanna x Manolo Blahnik collaboration, which hits the designer’s stores in London, New York and Hong Kong on Thursday.

While there’s been much written about the shoes in the collection —  lace-up booties, strappy sandals and thigh-high chap boots — many people don’t know how the designer and the superstar singer first met, became friends and eventually teamed up.

It all started back at the British Fashion Awards in 2014, when the pair met for the first time. As Blahnik t0ld the story in our February 2015 cover story on the designer, he was immediately smitten.

“The only person I love with a tattoo is Rihanna,” he said. “I was sitting at a table with her [at the British Fashion Awards] and was so impressed. She looks like Grace Kelly. She’s just so beautiful, so polite — she’s not the person you see in interviews.”

Manolo Blahnik x Rihanna Shoe Collection
Manolo Blahnik and Rihanna snapped while collaborating together.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

Fast forward to a year later, when FN caught up with Rihanna on the red carpet at her Puma x Fenty show during New York Fashion Week. When asked about Blahnik, she couldn’t stop talking about how much she enjoyed being around the ever-charming British designer.

 “I enjoy everything about Manolo,” she said. “He is such an incredible human being. He’s so fun to work with, and I was blessed with the opportunity to see him create from scratch. He’s so passionate about what he does, and it makes it so worth it when you buy or wear a pair of his shoes because you know what went into it. He’s not copy and paste. He’s not letting anyone do his work. He has a small team as well. He still loves everything about shoes, and it’s so refreshing.”

Manolo Blahnik x Rihanna Shoe Collection
A style from the Manolo Blahnik x Rihanna collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

That night, she also hinted that the two might be working together on a project — but her PR team immediately shut down any further questions.

Less than two months later, news of the collaboration broke in the form of a British Vogue cover story that officially announced it.

Blahnik told FN a few days later, “It’s very interesting to work with young people like Rihanna. I appreciate that she has her own style and is not afraid to wear what she likes. Her aesthetic and bravado are very much visible in our denim collection. I find it ravishing the way she moves. It’s all about how a woman carries herself.”

Manolo Blahnik x Rihanna Shoe Collection
Two styles from the Manolo Blahnik x Rihanna collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy Image.

The singer stepped out in New York in early April wearing the statement denim chap boots from the collaboration.

She paired the boots with mini shorts and a T-shirt depicting the late Princess Diana. Rihanna wore the boots in the April issue of British Vogue, but this is the first time she’s worn them out in public.

Rihanna Celebrity Statement Shoes Spring 2016
April 2016: Rihanna was spotted wearing the denim boots from her Manolo Blahnik collaboration.
CREDIT: Splash.

We’re betting the collection will sell out as soon as its stores on Thursday. Stay tuned.

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