These are Manolo Blahnik's 5 favorite shoes from his illustrious career

Even as a child growing up in the Canary Islands, Manolo Blahnik had a soft spot for fashion. "My mother dressed elegantly and designed and made her own shoes. We depended on the world to tell us about fashion, and every month a delivery of magazines arrived for her [at our home in Santa Cruz de la Palma], which I devoured," he tells Vogue Today. "My father was generous and gave us huge boxes of chocolates, of which I was only allowed to choose one or two. They were covered in beautiful aluminum foil, which I enjoyed and used to make the tiniest shoes for the lizards in our garden."

But it wasn't until many years later, after a fateful encounter with Diana Vreeland, that Blahnik decided to become a shoemaker. "My interest in fashion and shoes was sparked early on, but it was Mrs. Vreeland who advised me to make shoes - so I did," he says. The rest is history: Blahnik's creations have been worn by everyone from Diana, Princess of Wales, to Sarah Jessica Parker (as Carrie Bradshaw and in private). When asked about his indelible influence on fashion, he just laughs: "It's nice to see people wearing my shoes, but I'm just a shoe designer, not a brand. I do what I love and will continue to do so."

To mark the launch of The Craft Room in the label's virtual archives, which offers an unprecedented insight into the craftsmanship behind Manolo Blahnik's creations, Vogue spoke to the fashion legend about his favorite shoe designs.

1/5 The Antonietta "I'm very proud of the shoes I designed for the movie Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola. It was a lot of fun working with her and the costume designer Milena Canonero. The design is based on a historical court shoe, but with an extended heel and tongue to make it modern. I think Marie Antoinette would wear it if she were alive today. She is said to have owned over 3,000 pairs of shoes."

2/5 The BB pump "I named this shoe after Brigitte Bardot. I knew that this model would appear in several collections, so it made sense to name it after someone I admire. Brigitte has always been a source of inspiration for me. Natural, feminine and beautiful."

3/5 The Campari "In the 90s, I designed many baroque shoes, including the Campari, which is one of my favorites. I was inspired by a photo Corinne Day took of Kate Moss in 1990, which embodies the girlish, natural beauty of the time. I'm still fascinated by her freckles in that picture. I took the classic Mary Janes and made them sexy: pointy toe, high heel, black patent with grosgrain ribbon. It's so funny that Kate ended up wearing the shoes in British Vogue when she was the inspiration for them."

4/5 The Maysale "This shoe was originally called the Salem because it was inspired by the collars and cuffs worn by the Pilgrims who traveled to America on the Mayflower. I designed it for Isaac Mizrahi's spring/summer 1991 collection, and in the same year Madonna wore a pair at the Cannes Film Festival. After that, they became all the rage - suddenly everyone wanted a pair. Linda Evangelista ordered them in a range of colors. Mules are my favorite shoes to design. I just love the sound they make when you walk."

5/5 The Carolyne "I designed this model in 1986. It was inspired by the artist Carolyne Roehm, who was very elegant and chic and was worn by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, who spent a day in the store and talked endlessly! It's a comfortable shoe, a shoe that doesn't belong to any era - it's what I call an eternal shoe. Always modern. It looks perfect everywhere, and you can put it on in the morning and forget about it."
April 25, 2024