It’s natural that the world’s most famous shoe designer believes in the importance of feet: “The first thing you do when you wake up is look down,” explains Manolo Blahnik. Born to cultured parents in Spain’s Canary Islands, Blahnik, a passionate reader and cinephile, has made footwear inspired by Alexander the Great, "War and Peace" and Guggenheim Museum.
His long career — from his revival of the stiletto heel in the 1970s to last year’s collaborations with museum retrospective as well as a new book, "The Art of Shoes" (Skira Rizzoli). “The foot is the most expressive part of the body,” says Blahnik. “When I was young, I would caress the feet of statues to see how wonderfully they were made.
I get my drawing pads and pens at this London shop. I keep them everywhere — they come in handy if I can’t sleep, which is when a lot of my ideas come to me.
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My favorite. It’s trimmed with coral, inspired by the coral divers of Sicily.
The last time I was there, I lost track of time and nearly missed my plane. I saw amazing 17th-century still lifes by Clara Peeters and a fantastic Zurbarán Christ.
I’ve been wearing it since I was a boy, and my father and grandfather wore it too. It always smells fresh and clean.
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I think of the staff as part of my extended family. They know my likes and dislikes and are very patient with me.
This Savile Row tailor has made my suits for years. They last forever, and each detail is beautifully done.
A Milan institution. I was so upset when the shop on Via Montenapoleone closed. Now they are in the basement of the Larusmiani store, so I can still pop in and buy manicure sets and brushes.
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Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s great novel is my favorite book. When it was published in 1958, my mother, who was a wonderful reader, used to read it to me and my sister. I was at university when Luchino Visconti’s movie came out, and I went to see it every afternoon for a week.
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I have one that belonged to my father. It’s not fancy, but I never go out without it.
I own several pairs, without which I am nothing. I tend to stick to the same styles.
I visit as often as I can. The island is shaken from time to time by earthquakes, but the magnificent ancient temples are still there. The one I like best is Segesta — it’s rough but beautiful.