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We hope our Smile initiative spreads positivity and much needed enjoyment during this time of isolation. Drawing is an activity close to Manolo’s heart and to the house and one we believe can bring a sense of calm and encourage mindfulness.
A selection of Manolo’s original sketches stripped back to outlines have been designed to be coloured in at home. Below in the gallery are twenty sketches available to download and we invite you to share your creation on Instagram using #ManoloBlahnikSmiles so we may share it with the community.
The initiative is made in support of our partnership with the Mental Health Foundation which has provided an incredible resource for looking after mental health with management tips, working methods, acts of kindness and more which can be found here.
Manolo often returns to the culture of Babylon and Ancient Egypt for inspiration. Drawing on the splendour of the bright enamel and gold Babylonian reliefs, the KAKONA sandal features ruched raw silk in Egyptian-blue with gold leather detailing.
The CAPUCCIA sandal was inspired by the colourful dress code and footwear of the Etruscan people. Cleverly adapted in a modern way, Manolo’s design from 2010 includes a detachable linen flap to give the option of a simple T-bar style.
The history and culture of Greece has provided Manolo with countless ideas for his creations over the years. Designed with a wide cutout, scalloped borders and swinging pom poms, the dramatic KADAM mules are drawn from modern Greek costumes.
Manolo has returned to theatrical bottine designs throughout the years, some of the most memorable being his designs for John Galliano’s 1997 circus collection. A later offering, the CARYATHIS boots were created in a rich palette of blue tones using lustrous silk, velvet and satin.
The Nerina pump combines two recurring sources of inspiration for Manolo
Blahnik – 18th century fashion and art and African culture. The pump’s dramatic
form and delicate lace details are drawn from the former while the cheetah-spotted
pony collar pays homage to the latter.
Dance is frequently referenced in many of Manolo’s collections over the past five
decades. The bold Linus ankle boot with its graphic monochrome pattern and dash
of intense orange is evocative of the striking avant-garde costumes of Sergei
Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe.
Inspired by much-loved summer escapes in Sicily and Capri, Blahnik created the
ornate Tumusa pumps. Crafted from black linen with coral detailing, the style
represents holiday dressing – chic, all black clothing with pops of color by way of
bold, statement jewellery.
The minimal Bohu sandal pays tribute to another of Manolo’s favourite artists, Henri
Matisse. Focusing on Matisse’s characters in movement, Manolo created a series
of delicate figures dancing around the ankle strap and vamp.
The Toubid sandals pay homage to the wildly intricate illustrations of Ernst Haeckel, a 19th century philosopher, professor, physician, biologist and artist. Haeckel published hundreds of drawings of flora and fauna, and Manolo looked to those of seaweed and algae to create the graduated curved shapes running along the straps.
Designed and worn daily by Manolo Blahnik himself, particularly during the 1980s and still on occasion to this day, the Manolo is a longstanding house favourite. It was also the first of Manolo’s men’s designs that he translated into a women’s style. He ‘shrunk the shoe’ especially for the Isaac Mizrahi, Spring Summer ‘93 runway show in New York.
To honour the English countryside and all its beauty, Manolo created the Lyonnia sandals adorned with pink garden roses, a favourite of Blahnik’s and his friend, photographer Cecil Beaton. Beaton had a shared passion for gardens, seen particularly in his later portraits, where he cut flowers in bloom from his own garden and use them to create wonderful still life settings.
Often inspired by fellow artists, Manolo was moved by the colour palette used by British figurative painter Francis Bacon for the aptly named Bacon pumps. His dark colours are represented in the graphic polka dots and favourite Phoenician Red appears on the sculpted edge of this elegant style.
The regal Lentiga pumps are a tribute to romanticism painter and printmaker, Francisco Goya. Appointed Court Painter in the 1770s to the Spanish Royal Court, Goya was commissioned for endless portraits of nobility in his time. The artist was well known for paying special attention to faces and footwear in his works, always fully expressive and detailed.
For the Margolina slingbacks, Manolo looked to the June 1962 edition of British Vogue which was Jean Shrimpton’s first cover for the magazine. It was photographed by David Bailey and showed only a glimpse of the model’s eye beneath an extravagant daisy-covered hat.
The sculptural Odalisca sandals tap into Manolo’s passion for ancient Greek culture in the time of Alexander the Great. This bold style is drawn from the distinctive forms and recognisable terracotta and black colour palette of the painted ceramic vases signature to this time.
Wholecut Oxford shoe, Henley is inspired by Manolo’s love of Africa. This began with the classic Moroccan music he would listen to as a child and is translated here in the fine zebra print calf hair material.
The Tortura style is Manolo’s love letter to Sicily, a constant source of inspiration and one of his favourite places to visit time and time again. The magnificent combination of coral and vibrant colours sums up his passion for the island.
Botanicals are a constant focus for Manolo. Acanthus is inspired by the plant of the same name, native to his childhood home in the Canary Islands, another recurring reference point. The impressive spread of leaves and towering spire of its flowers were used to create this whimsical silhouette including the heel.