Category Archives: Manolo Blahnik

BB pump by Manolo Blahnik: “totally timeless and very chic and flattering”

BB pump by Manolo Blahnik

In 2012 Manolo Blahnik confirmed that his BB pump is the best-selling shoe he had ever produced, describing it as “totally timeless and very chic and flattering.”

BB is named after sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, and it is inspired by the fashions of the 1950s when Bardot reigned supreme.

Blahnik reintroduced the BB court shoe in 2009, and since then it has been produced in over 50 colors and in heel heights ranging from 2 inches to nearly 5 inches. 4 inches remains the staple though.

Manolo Blahnik BB pump

Blahnik’s favorite color BB is sold out (“I love it in beautiful silk ottoman, in the brightest Spanish yellow,” the designer once told ELLE) but the BB is available from Bergdorf Goodman in over 50 colors with prices starting from $595.

BB is also available online from Sak’s Fifth Avenue. See it in grey coated satin here.

Manolo Blahnik’s iconic BB high heel is one of the five high heeled shoes you should own before you die.

To see the others, take a look at the shoes we’ve rated as the best five high heels in the world ever.

How much do Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik REALLY care about comfort?

Back in April 2012 poor old Christian Louboutin was quoted as telling Grazia that he had “not so much sympathy” for women wearing his designer high heels. “High heels are pleasure with pain. If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them,” Christian thundered, causing a predictable outcry.

This followed 2011’s hullabaloo when Christian told the New Yorker ‘I HATE the whole concept of comfort!” Women in ugly shoes wrote furious newspaper columns in protest. These were largely ignored and sales of the red soled shoes continued their rise.

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Fast-forward a year or so and Christian Louboutin says he was misquoted on the issue of comfort. So what did he really think about the importance of comfort to wearers of high heels? And what about two other leading design brands in Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik? Do they really care about comfort when producing their high-end (and high-price) stilettos? Who cares more?

And, while we’re at it, do these big-name designers ever try on their shoes themselves?

So many questions! For the answers to all of them, read on.

Gold medal for comfort: Manolo Blahnik

Manolo BlahnikThe granddaddy of shoe designers (he turns 72 this year) gets first prize of the three contenders for caring about comfort when designing women’s shoes. How much does Manolo Blahnik care about comfort when designing shoes? The short answer is that he cares about it a lot. In 2012 Manolo told the Telegraph that comfort was “of paramount importance.” He continued:

Some people say you have to suffer, to have high heels that hurt. But being miserable is unnatural. There is a trick that you master over years and years, so you know exactly where the pressure on the foot will be, and that’s where you place the heel. If it’s a minute millimetre out of the way, it will be a flop.

In March 2014 Manolo confirmed to the Observer that “Women’s comfort is of great importance to me.” So what is the secret to designing comfortable stilettos? “The key to making a high shoe comfortable is symmetry and balance. Everyone in my factories tries on the shoes until we have it just right. I have learned over the years that there are many little tricks, like making sure the ball of the foot is comfortable first.”

That just leaves the question of whether Manolo Blahnik tries on the shoes he designs. Well, the answer is yes… and no. Back in 2011, Manolo told Hemispheres “Oh goodness, immediately, yes! If it’s wrong, I can detect it in seconds!” However, last month the designer confessed to the Observer that his body was no longer up to it: “Sadly, I can’t do that any more since I broke my tendon,” he said.

Not to worry, as workers in Manolo’s factory in Milan still road test his shoes. “One, she is huge, with big, Mediterranean feet, but I know 100 per cent that if she can walk in my shoes properly, the shoe is good,” he quipped to the Telegraph just after turning 70.

Silver medal for comfort: Jimmy Choo

sandra choi jimmy chooJimmy Choo’s attitude to comfortable shoes seems unequivocal: back in 2013 he was asked what shoes he would take travelling if he could only take one pair. “It would have to be a comfortable pair,” Jimmy told the Telegraph‘s Travel section. “When we walk we need comfortable shoes to hold our feet. I also like to wear slippers. I’m always reminding my family, ‘Slippers, slippers, slippers!’. Feet are very important.”

However Jimmy Choo hasn’t been a part of the brand that bears his own name since selling out in 2001 after his relationship with Tamara Mellon broke down. Worse still, as Tamara asserted when promoting her autobiography in 2013, Jimmy never actually designed any of the shoes sold by the Jimmy Choo brand even when he was part of it. In 2013, when asked by interviewer Jenna Bush-Hager on America’s Today show whether Jimmy designed any of the heels, Tamara answered: “Not one. Not one sketch did I get from him. Not one.”

In truth, the Jimmy Choo range was always designed by Sandra Choi, Jimmy’s niece. Sandra is now the sole creative director at the label and, like her uncle, she also seems to take comfort seriously. “Talking about comfort is not very sexy,” Sandra told The Cut in 2013, “but our shoes do fit well, and that makes a difference when you need to stride around and look confident.” Speaking to the Fix last year, Sandra elaborated and explained her role as unofficial shoe-tester-in-chief:

First of all, I’ve been trying the shoes on for years. Since you put your entire body weight into your shoes, they should be comfortable! Maybe not for 24 hours a day, but if I can do something to make them a bit more comfortable without sacrificing style, I will. It’s not very sexy to talk about comfort, so we don’t talk about it. But people do mention it, and it’s a nice, proud factor of what we do.

The quality of leather helps the shoe shape to the foot. When we try on certain shoes for fittings, I don’t just try it on one person; I try it on several people! I like to have everyone try them on so I get an average fit. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a shoe is—if it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’ll get left behind in your wardrobe.

Sandra’s obsession with comfort was confirmed in an interview with Tina Loves in 2012: “I actually try them all on and all the samples are made in my size and the girls in the office actually trade them around to make sure that they’re okay,” she said. And, as if that wasn’t enough, here’s what Sandra Choi told New York Magazine in 2013 about whether she tried on all the Jimmy Choos herself:

I do! I’m a little obsessed with how they look. We have a joke that everyone who works for the team must have a size 37 foot so that they can try on the shoes for me. My right foot is a size 37, my left foot is a little smaller.

Bronze medal for comfort: Christian Louboutin

Christian LouboutinAs we noted above, in 2011 Christian Louboutin caused waves by telling the New Yorker that he hated the concept of comfort. That quote got a lot of headlines, and the designer elaborated on his passionate dislike in the same interview: “It’s like when people say: ‘Well we’re not really in love but we’re in a comfortable relationship.’ You’re abandoning a lot of ideas when you’re too into comfort.” Christian wasn’t a fan of the word “comfy” either:

Comfy, that’s one of the WORST words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy. It’s really depressing, but she likes her life because she has comfortable clogs.

All of this should have been enough for readers to tell that Christian was teasing a little, but it didn’t stop a PR brouhaha developing. Reflecting on the comment to Metro in 2012 Christian described it as “sort of a misquote.” “I have no problem with the idea of comfort,” the designer continued, “but it is not an important thing aesthetically. If you look at a shoe and immediately say it looks very comfortable, in terms of design, it is not going to excite me. Of course, I am not putting nails in my shoes to ensure everybody is in pain, but a heel is not a pair of slippers and never will be.’

Those comments may not win Christian a gold medal for prioritising comfort, but is that such a bad thing? Christian further explained his priorities to CBS News in 2013:

Design is my most important thing, but then after I have tricks to make in order to make those shoes as comfortable as possible, but it’s true that the comfort is not my first thing. If you look at my shoes I just don’t want you to tell me  “Oh my God it looks so comfy.” That’s not a thing that I would take as a compliment.

Knowing all this, has Christian Louboutin ever tried wearing his own shoes? The answer is yes, but only twice. The first time was at a cross-dressing themed party. “And another time I was making heels and I was trying to understand the balance, the center of gravity. It was very technical, so I can’t say I’ve worn high heels for excitement, or to feel like a woman,” the designer confessed to Popsugar Fashion News back in 2010.

Once or twice was enough though. “I can understand that it is not like walking on sneakers,” Christian told CBS News in 2013.

Iconic high heels

Picking just five heels as the greatest high heels in the world was tough business, but we’ve made our list.

They’re all modern classics, all available right now and come from the most famous shoe designers on the planet. And they’re all amazing.

Here’s our list of five designer high heels you must own before you die.

Casadei blade heelsCesare Casadei’s Blade high heel: a magnificent obsession.

A heel so difficult to manufacture that it very nearly didn’t happen.



Christian Louboutin PigalleChristian Louboutin’s Pigalle high heel: “the design that encapsulates my career”

The red-soled Pigalle is Christian Louboutin’s best selling shoe of all time.


 BB pump by Manolo BlahnikBB pump by Manolo Blahnik: “totally timeless and very chic and flattering”

Manolo Blahnik’s classic pump is named after a 1950’s sex symbol, and comes in over 50 colors.



Gianmarco Lorenzi double platformGianmarco Lorenzi’s double platform sandals: creating dreams on women’s feet

The double platform heel may be the standout of Gianmarco Lorenzi’s 30 year shoe designing career.



tribute by Saint LaurentSaint Laurent’s Tribute sandals – and the Tribtoo too

Saint Laurent’s Tribute has been a celebrity favorite for over 10 years, and has spawned the Tribtoo as well.

Buckle up for Manolo Blahnik’s new Martagamod sandals

Manolo Blahnik MartagamodWe did say that big buckles were on trend, but the maestro Manolo Blahnik has managed to surpass even our enormous expectations with the ferocious fastener on his new Martagamod sandals. It’s pretty hard to go past the oversized buckle on these new white textured leather 4 inch heels, and it seems not many have. The shoes have sold out in moments at Sak’s in almost all sizes, but you can add yourself to the wait list while saving up the retail price of $1,015.

Jaspa King ankle strap stilettos

If you love the big buckle look but can’t lay your hands on a pair of the Martagamods  then there are alternatives. One we like very much is the Ohio from Australian label Jaspa King. We’ll be featuring this new label in an in-depth profile on shortly, but for now let’s focus on the Ohio.

This pointy 5 inch heel combines the oversized buckle shoe trend with the ankle cuff trend, contrasting the white of the feature strap with the black of the pump. Ohio retails from Jaspa King’s website for A$349 (about US$320).

The look for less: Manolo Blahnik’s “something blue” pumps

Manolo Blahnik something blue shoes sex and the city

Chosen by Carrie Bradsaw as her “something blue” for her wedding in the Sex and the City movie, Manolo Blahnik’s “Hangisi” satin pumps are one of the most famous – and coveted – shoes of recent years. However they are not cheap. In the 2008 movie Carrie stated they cost $525 per pair. The current day price for a pair of these heels (which are pictured above) is $965 via Neiman Marcus.

The good news is that a new “the look for less” option is now available in the form of these new $99 blue satin pumps called Bonique by Nina. Unfortunately there’s sometimes a fine line between using a famous pump as inspiration, and coming out with a straight out knockoff and these pumps do push that line.

Blue pumps inspired by something blue by manolo blahnik

Bonique by Nina (pictured above) is new to and costs only $99. The version of the shoe we’ve pictured here is a much lighter shade of blue than the cobalt blue of the Blahnik shoe. I think that creates little risk of confusion: you can definitely see the similarities, but there is no risk of mistaking the two either.

Unfortunately the designers have also produced the shoe in a colour that is very similar to the Blahnik shoe. We’re not going to feature that shade here because I think that crosses the line into ripoff territory. Although there are subtle differences between the shoes, both are a very similarly shaped classical pump and the colour was one of the unique identifying features of the famous designer heel. It was Carrie’s “something blue,” after all.

Going back to the comparison, both shoes also have a square-shaped ornament at their toe, but the layouts are quite different. The ornament on the Manolo Blahnik version is made of crystals, and the Nina version is made of cheaper rhinestones. Finally, the Bonique by Nina has a higher heel: around 4 inches verses 3 1/4 inches on the Manolo Blahnik Hangisi.

On balance, and providing you select the lighter blue colour, we think that for just $99 this is a great way of getting the look that Manolo Blahnik inspired all those years ago without ripping off the designer’s actual shoe. But if you want a shoe in a cobalt blue colour similar to the Blahnik pump, then do what is right and shell out the money for the real thing.

Bonique by Nina inspired by Manolo Blahnik

In you’re now in the mood for more Blahnik action, you can see the scene from the Sex and the City movie in which Carrie wears her blue Manolo Blahniks for her wedding in the video clip below.

Nina Women’s Bonique Shoes (Tiff Blue Satin)

First glimpse at Manolo Blahnik for AW 2013

Manolo Blahnik pump

Manolo Blahnik has published a sneak peak at his Autumn / Winter 2013 range on his Facebook page. The high heels are not yet available in stores or even on the internet so its a case of look but don’t touch at this stage.

One standout piece are the Solola pumps, seen above. This pump has formed part of Manolo Blahnik collection before (featuring black suede and lace detailing) but it appears to have been reinterpreted for AW 2013. The Solola has a pointed toe, a black  toe cap and counter. Quite how it differs from earlier versions will surely come out in the details that will be released later but it appears that the embroidered mesh look is definitely back in AW 2013.

The Manolo BB pump (named after Brigitte Bardot) is also part of the AW 2013 range. The colour-blocked pump was reintroduced by Blahnik in 2009, and the range of new colours introduced just continues to grow. Check out a few of the new colours from the Autumn / Winter 2013 / 14 collection below.

Manolo FW 2013

Manolo Blahnik AW 2013


Manolo Blahnik high heel pumps

Manolo BB

Manolo AW 2013

The Manolo Blahnik Fall / Winter 2013 collection also features some cute boots, such as the Involida:

INVOLIDA Manolo Blahnik boots

And, also with a very neat and practical look, the Litias boot:

LITIAS Manolo Blahnik boots

Go to for stockist details for the Manolo Blahnik Autumn Winter collection for 2013 and 2014.

What’s new in blue high heels from Manolo Blahnik

ManolosBeautiful, classical and sexy and never crass or slutty. That’s the magic Manolo Blahnik formula and it works year after year.

Today’s post covers two new blue four inch high heels that exemplify this approach: the time honoured BB pump above, and the classic Blahnik d’Orsay heel below.

We’ve written about the versatility of the BB pump before, and Manolo continues to roll out new colours and styles of the shoe named after Brigitte Bardot. The latest is this blue pony hair version which is now available for pre-order from Sak’s Fifth Avenue for $895.

Manolo Blahnik

Also now available for pre-order is the Tayler d’Orsay pump in high-shine patent leather. Like the BB it has a work-appropriate 4 inch heel and, just as the 4 inch standard pump is a wardrobe staple, the d’Orsay will also be a fine addition to shoe closets.

This blue, pointed toe heel from Manolo Blahnik’s fall 2013 collection can now be pre-ordered from Neiman Marcus for $695.

Carrie and Manolo Finally Join Forces

It is a match made in shoe heaven, and our hearts are all a flutter at the sheer romance of it all; Sarah-Jessica Parker, famed for her role as fashionista Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, has teamed up with George Malkemus, the CEO of her character’s favourite shoe house, Manolo Blahnik, to create a line of shoes, bags and trench coats.

Manolo Blahnik Hangisi jewelled pump

Known for her alter-ego and her love of eclectic fashion choices, SJP’s collection is said to features a dramatic range of colors, and with price tags between $200 and $300 dollars, everyone can add a touch of Carrie to their wardrobe.

There is a little hint of Carrie Bradshaw in all of us. Her collection of shoes in the Sex and the City and the subsequent movies sent fashion pulses racing, and her love of Manolo Blahnik is credited with catapulting the designer into the shoe stratosphere.

Manolo Blahnik’s Sedaraby in Silver

The range will be exclusive sold at Nordstrom department stores across the country. We’re joining the line already!


Green Manolo Blahnik high heels for St Patrick’s Day

Manolo Blahnik green high heels

It’s St Patrick’s Day today, and time to celebrate by wearing 40 shades of green. You’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve shown some restraint and picked out a just a single shade for today however. Voting for style and simplicity, our St Paddy’s Day choice is these color-blocked BB pumps in green suede by Manolo Blahnik.

This is the Blahnik BB pump, one of the most famous shoes in the world. The shoe is named BB after Brigitte Bardot, and it is inspired by the fashions of the 1950s when Bardot’s popularity as a sex symbol was at its peak.

BB pumps by Manolo Blahnik

The elegant BB court shoe was reintroduced by Blahnik in 2009, and has been selling like hotcakes ever since. In 2012 Blahnik said it was his best-selling shoe ever produced, and an absolute favorite all over the world: “totally timeless and very chic and flattering,” he confessed.

Never one to rest on his laurels however, on Thursday Blahnik presented an exclusive collection of 50 variations on the BB, in collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman. The range includes such delights as the BB in holographic blue snakeskin (below, BG, $895). However, when pressed for his favorite variation by, Blahnik said “I love it in beautiful silk ottoman, in the brightest Spanish yellow.”

Manolo snakeThe BB has a 4 1/4″ covered heel and is made in Italy. If the green suede BB’s take your fancy this St Patrick’s Day, they’re available from Bergdorf Goodman for $595.

And don’t be afraid that your new green pumps will be a once-a-year shoe: as Manolo Blahnik himself has said, “the beauty of the BB is that it can be worn at any time, anywhere, in any color and any material.  It is so versatile!” Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Free shoe exhibition for the high heel obsessed

Manolo Blahnik d'Orsay

Over the past decade, stiletto heels have soared to new heights —and so have their prices. High-heeled shoes—the fashion shoes of the 21st century—have become so tall that even a 4-inch heel is considered “low.” Neither height nor price seems to deter consumers, and today the average American woman has approximately 20 pairs of shoes – nearly double what she owned in the 1990s.

Using these bare facts as its inspiration, the Museum at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) is currently presenting Shoe Obsession, an exhibition that examines our culture’s ever-growing fascination with extravagant and fashionable shoes.

Amongst the very famous designer shoes in the exhibition you will find Manolo Blahnik’s classic buckled peeptoe d’Orsay (top). This shoe was the “extravagant” high heel that saw Carrie Bradshaw “shoe shamed” over in the Sex and the City episode “A Woman’s Right to Shoes.” Believe it or not that episode first aired in August 2003, nearly 10 years ago.

Also featuring in Shoe Obsession will be Christian Louboutin’s signature Pigalle pump (pictured below), the Eyelash Heel feathered pump from the limited-edition Rendez-Vous line designed by Bruno Frisoni for Roger Vivier, plus high heels from Charlotte Olympia, Pierre Hardy, Nicholas Kirkwood, Gucci, Alessandra Lanvin, Alexandre Birman and many more designers.

Christian Louboutin PigalleThe exhibition will also include some remarkable high heels such as these 18 inch monster Lady Pointe shoes designed by Noritaka Takehana and recently worn by Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga high heels

Shoe Obsession is on at the Special Exhibitions Gallery at MFIT  from February 8 through April 13, 2013. The museum is located on Seventh Avenue at 27 Street,  New York City 10001-5992. The exhibition is open on Tuesdays to Fridays from noon – 8pm and Saturdays from 10am – 5pm, closed Sundays, Mondays and legal holidays. Admission is free.