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Manolo Blahnik On the Inspiration Behind His New 50th Anniversary Gold Collection

As one of the most prolific shoe designers of all time, it’s safe to say that everything Manolo Blahnik creates turns to gold. Just take a look at his bestselling styles, such as the Campari, or the something-blue Hangisi for further proof.

For his 50th anniversary, Blahnik took the turn of phrase quite literally, creating a capsule collection to celebrate his golden year using — what else? — gold as its theme.

But there’s more to Blahnik’s gilded creations than just a sprinkle of glitter here or a metallic flash there. For a series of bell-accented boots and heels, the designer looked back to childhood memories of his mother’s jewelry collection for sentimental inspiration.

“That shoe is very very affectionate to me, because I remember my mother used to have a huge [charm bracelet], she designed herself, so huge, with big charms, like an industrial kind to make the boats comes to port!” Blahnik told FN during an exclusive interview over Zoom from his home in Bath, England. “So heavy and she had little things in gold. And then four bells: one for my mother, one for my father, one for Evangelina and I. It’s things like that that I remember.”

To replicate the effect, Blahnik used bells — which actually jingle — to decorate the gold satin cutout Rayuela boot, which has the distinctly playful (though perhaps not intentional) effect of a chic elf shoe. “The only thing is that I wanted bigger bells, you know, and they couldn’t find bigger bells. Can you imagine one with even bigger bells?” the designer added with a laugh.

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The Campinilla sandal, shown here with Verdura’s Twenty Buck yellow gold and diamond charm bracelet.
CREDIT: Jeffrey Westbrook

The bells can also be seen in Blahnik’s Campinilla heels, done in satin gold in an open-toed sandal, a d’Orsay pump as well as a flat version of the close-toed style.

“My mother was an incredible designer of things, really incredible, and I have a few things left (of hers),” said Blahnik, whose niece Kristina Blahnik has served as CEO of his namesake brand since 2013. “My mother designed and painted. I think I got that from my mother, the shoes and things.”

Other new styles in the collection include swingy fringe boots done in gold satin with three tiers of fringe, topped with a collar made of black grosgrain ribbon and beading.

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Manolo Blahnik’s Flequillohi fringed and high-heeled boot from his 50th anniversary gold-themed collection.
CREDIT: Jeffrey Westbrook.
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Blahnik’s classic BB pump, updated in a handwoven macramé lace done in gold lurex thread. Antiques courtesy of Seidenberg Antiques, New York.
CREDIT: Jeffrey Westbrook

Blahnik also looked to his tried-and-true classics to round out the collection. A crinkly, cracked gold foil gives a new sheen to the beloved Campari Mary Jane, while the Lurum mule gets the full bling treatment in massive crystal accents with a gold mesh upper. So does the infamous Hangisi pump and Maysale mule, with signature sparkly buckles done in gold hardware.

“The whole collection, as you can see I picked up old things and I did new things,” said Blahnik.

Fans of the designer are sure to bask in the collection’s glow when it hits shops — including the brand’s new Madison Avenue flagship — next week.

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