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Manolo Blahnik

Back in London for fashion week, the footwear designer tells Emily Norval why now is the time to raise his UK profile.

What inspired your imagery for London Fashion Week this season?

I always liked to do cartoon drawings. So I drew a few London fashion women [pictured right] who I admire and also myself, plus a few other fun things. LFW is so creative and there’s such a great vibe in the city at that time, that I think it was a good idea to create a fun, light-hearted visual to celebrate that. I hope people enjoyed it!

How does London stand out for you compared with other fashion weeks?

I’m not here much anymore during fashion weeks, as I spend so much time in Italy in the factories, but I’m excited to be here this year and see how it’s changed since I used to go many years ago. London is always full of energy and creativity, and like my great friend [fashion writer] Anna Piaggi once said, ‘The best ideas always come from London’, and I very much agree.

Last May, Manolo Blahnik went into Harrods and Liberty. Why did you choose to expand your UK presence?

I’ve been asked for many years now, so I finally decided to stock in more places in London as there seems to be a big demand for my shoes.

Why expand into department stores, rather than opening more of your own stores?

I think it’s easier for people to shop in a large department store where they have all the brands and different items in one place, rather than running all over town to do their shopping.

Will you do another men’s collection any time soon?

I always have a few styles for men in my collection. This summer we have suede Oxfords in pastel colours as well as the men’s version of the monochrome monk shoes which we did for Victoria Beckham.

Allegedly you hate platforms - can you tell us why?

Platforms destroy the proportions and volume of the legs. They’re very unflattering. I just don’t understand
how women can think they look elegant wearing them.

Do you have any other pet hates when it comes to footwear design?

Copycats - people who don’t have their own ideas. Also, cheaply made shoes.

What other footwear designers do you admire?

Always and forever André Perugia. He was the first creative and innovative shoe designer. Very modern for his time. I also admire Pierre Hardy and Benoît Méléard.

What’s been the highlight of your career?

I’m still waiting for it, but the highlight for me definitely was receiving the CBE. I feel very privileged to hold that title, especially as I’m a foreigner.

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