Travel-induced illness bogs me down again and NYFW now quickly turns to LFW. But, first a bit of fashion week respite with a unique collaboration from a veritable legend. Manolo Blahnik's entry into 21st century cultural lexicon is such that it's often quite difficult to focus on what are still meticulously crafted and ultimately beautiful shoes without thinking of Carrie "I couldn't help but wonder" Bradshaw and her affectation for her Manolos. I can't even say Manolos without doing a really lame neck roll movement. Kind of like when I say "OH no you DID'NT!" and then people give me a strange look because of my mild-mannered British accent. However, I can't deny that the shoe collaborations that stood out at NYFW include Sophie Theallet's rich tri-coloured heeled oxfords and Dean Quinn's elegant ankle strap flats - both were less about angular or architectural shapes but more about a distinctive artistic take on recognisable classics.
Lane Crawford quite rightly fetes the shoe designer's 40th anniversary, with a series of celebratory events, collaborations and product revivals. The department store's ifc store in Hong Kong has been transformed into a Manolo shrine with sketches, personal artefacts and archive collections. If only I was there to show everyone my head wiggling skills. To illustrate the savour faire displayed by, Blahnik's shoes, various motifs, sketches and even food handpicked by Blahnik himself have made their way into collaborated products. The stripe from an archive shoe has been transplanted onto some beautiful Causse Gantier gloves as well as Globetrotter luggage. Globetrotter's collaborated luggage has always made me quiver a bit. They are wholly unpractical and their carry-on-only capability is probably precisely what I love about them (apparently they get really fucked up if you check them in).
The stationer Connor have done a range of note cards and pads engraved with a shoe sketch and Olmetto have done a collection of silk scarves printed with shoe sketches. I gussied up this airport food court chair with the scarf and stationery whilst munching on a McDonalds hash brown. Classy.
What's more exciting are the reissued archive shoes that span Blahnik's storied career. More recognisable styles include the J-Lo endorsed caterpillar boot which spawned a million copies. More pleasingly obscure styles include the Christopher Kane S/S 08 collaboration, where denim meets silver toe caps in an ankle boot, that suddenly feels current again. The combination of a then-up-and-coming designer with bravado and Blahnik's dedication to craftsmanship is a winning one. Then there are older archive pieces such as a pair of pumps inspired by Piet Mondrian and a pair of striped sandals inspired by Anna Piaggi, which doesn't even look like it belongs to its 70s origins. I've personally not yet got on board the Manolo train but these revived classics may well be an apt starting point.