Wednesday, April 27, 2011
HOW TO PICK A SHOE
by Manolo Blahnik
A good heel picks you. Don't follow trends - follow yourself, you have to stand tall and proud. Always go with your first choice, your gut reaction. This is what your soul says. You have to pick something that will make you look even more exciting, and feel even more adventurous than you did before.
My shoes are not fashion - they are moods and moments that want to come out and play. Every shoe must excite me, which is why I see every pair, every last, so if it doesn't delight me, it doesn't go through. I spend most of my time in the factory; working. Don't let yourself get distracted by fashion; if you did you would have to change your wardrobe every four months and where's the sense in that? It would make you a style schizophrenic. Be original, look at vintage but do not copy for the sake of copying, have some of your own ideas. Right now, good lord, every day, everywhere I look I am blown away by something inspiring. I always have had an incredible appetite for luxury, and Russia. At the moment I am so excited by Russia, and have just been to Moscow. I had never been, apart from in books, through Tolstoy and the Three Sisters. I say always go to the source always travel to find your inspiration, that's what all the great artists and romantics do.
I was always making shoes... even when it was subconscious. I know that sounds like a cliché but it's true, even the lizards and dogs in the garden didn't escape when I was a child - I would take the Cadbury's chocolate bonbon wrappers and make them little shoes. I was always twisting and shaping forms for the feet. I suppose the moment I really knew shoes were my destiny was when I moved to London. Of course there is the fairy tale about how I went to New York and met Mrs. Vreeland, you know all of that, but it was when I hit London that I think I decided in my heart I would make a go of this.
I think you must always show some toe cleavage. Toe cleavage is very important as it gives sexuality to the shoe. But careful you only show the first two cracks, you don't want to give too much away, you're not that type of girl... As for the heel, honey, it's got to be high. The transformation is INSTANT. It's a coup de théatrè. The height of a heel should depend on how dangerous you are feeling. High high high higher, I say! I am into comfort now: wear nothing less than 90mm. For me, the ultimate shoe would be a wonderful high court, in Spanish Red patent. Something dangerous and provocative.
When you have heels you only need to pack two black dresses, and fill the cases with twenty pairs of shoes. Let the heels do the talking, and you'll be ready for anything.
I hope my shoes are comfortable. I have been working with craftsmen who have been studying traditions that go back for two hundred or so year and after all the time I have been doing it I have learnt a few tricks, too. I don't wear them myself, I am not so into cross-men-dressing - no that is not for me - but I like to work on each creation so it is as comfortable as can be. My shoes are for dancing, for living, for moving; you can't wear things that make you feel crippled, get them off! I don't think you have to be perfect when you are walking in your heels, there is something charming about it being chaotic and precarious. I remember when I first noticed the blonde with big eyes, who I later came to know was Camilla [Morton]. I loved the way she walked in heels. I loved it when she tumbled and wobbled and tried to climb up ladders and over the bad streets in her heels. But now she is quite good, she doesn't really wobble so. She has character, and I think that is what you have to aim for. You can't just be a conveyor belt, you have to be individual.
Now, I am going all bourgeois: crocodile, luxury, expensive. But still the girls and even the granddaughters come - can you imagine? So cute, I love that the little children want to wear my shoes, as I love what I do, I don't change, and I don't look back and neither should you. Be fearless and always put your best foot forward.
Hard to argue with an icon. Go forth people!
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