Monday, 6 November 2017

High on heels

Can I start another blog post with 'if you know me'? Oh the rebel inside me...

If you know me, you know that I wear heels. Every day. Preferably all day. I simply love the idea of being elevated off the ground by an inch or two. Yet today I wore flats and tracksuit bottoms to a late night showing of 'Manolo. The boy who made shoes for lizards'. I felt like i was disrespecting Manolo a bit. Sorry Manolo, I hope you will not mind.

As a girl who grew up with SATC (Sex and the City for the less enlightened) I remember vividly the scene where Carrie is robbed of her bag as well as her Manolos. Now, if you are less enlightened again, Manolos are shoes. Not just any shoes though. They are truly iconic and have been so for the consequent 45 years so far. From a shop in London to runways, to film, to SATC (yes, that is a separate category) Manolos have travelled together with times but, surprisingly, have stayed consistent and somehow immune to the changes that came with passing decades. A bit like Manolo himself.

Manolo lives in a century that has happened already or not just yet. Everything about him screams sophistication mixed with humility and eccentrism with a pinch of selfishness. Now this selfishness is not a negative thing. It has become a bit of a trade mark. Manolo cannot possibly imagine sharing his house, designs, life with anyone. Quite possibly because his life is filled with colour, extraordinary friends and memories of growing up in Gran Canaria. Manolo settled in the UK in the 70s and became a British icon but is also listed next to Picasso and Almodovar with regards to being a Spanish XX century wonder. Quite rightly so!

They way he looks at women... From Bianca Jagger and Rihanna to a secretary-looking stranger spotted at a London station wearing his pumps. He looks at women as if they were magic. As if he was permanently in love. The way he speaks about the icons that inspired him: Anna Piaggi, Isabella Blow, Tina Chow - with such passion yet respect at the same time. I was lucky enough to see Manolo at Vogue Festival a few years ago. The warmth mixed with wit and high-pitched comments to express the ridiculousness of a situation are simply theatrical.

Manolo's most iconic shoe is undoubtedly a pump (preferably in blue satin with a sparkly buckle). However, the most influential shoe would be the mule. I cannot even begin to describe how much he changed my attitude towards mules. Manolo said that for him it was all about how they sounded when a woman walked in them. Don't you think that its quite extraordinary for a shoe designer to think of how his shoes not only look but also sound?

Manolo (also Carrie Bradshaw) and I have a few things in common. One of them is sacrificing any pocket money to buy fashion magazines (although he did so in Paris, Carrie did so in NYC and I did so in Northampton...). Imagine that Manolo was the first man on the cover of British Vogue! David Bailey supposedly reported the shoot to be a complete disaster due to Manolo's lack of intent to cooperate. However, his style has remained impeccable. The colourful socks peaking out of his shoes, the imperfectly tailored suits made from most surprising of fabrics, the small round glasses. Oh, there is one more thing we have in common - don't you dare crucifying our chips with vinegar! I guess apart from being an icon, Manolo is just a boy inside. A boy who wanted to make shoes for lizards.

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