What the Dickens?

Designer Manolo Blahnik looks over his shoe collection during Fashion Week
Designer Manolo Blahnik looks over his shoe collection during Fashion Week
Share this article
Have your say

Karishma Patel looks at Manolo Blahnik’s feathered shoes, which the designer claims were inspired by Victorian Britain and Charles Dickens, whose Hard Times was set in Coketown – widely understood to be based on 19th century Preston.

Imagine walking down the streets of Preston on a cold and drab February morning, in a pair of pink, tasseled, Manolo Blahniks.

The Manolo Blahnik shoe collection is displayed

The Manolo Blahnik shoe collection is displayed

If you manage to get to your bus stop without stepping in a puddle, or getting splashed by muddy rainwater, you are very lucky.

If not, your triple figured investment is well and truly ruined, never to get another outing on the streets of 
Coketown again.

Manolo Blahnik says his new footwear collection was inspired by Dickens and 19th century England.

But looking at the opulent, costly shoes it is tempting to wonder what links them to Dickens’ famous depictions of hardship and desperation in Victorian England.

In Dickens’ novel Hard Times - set in Preston - one character, Josiah Bounderby, talks about his shoes... as in a lack of them!

“I hadn’t a shoe to my foot. As to a stocking, I didn’t know such a thing by name.”

But back in the world of fashion, whenis the right time to wear these beauties?

The Spanish designer Blahnik recently told Glamour magazine said: “Honey, you can wear high heels all the time!

“Don’t walk in snow or ice, but otherwise, you can wear anything.”

It is probably not a good idea to swap the wellies for Manolos this season, so keep them safely in the cupboard, until England is clear of snow and ice warnings!

That is, of course, if you can justify the hefty price tag associated with the designer creations,

The Manolo masterpieces may not have ‘practical’ written in their description, but beautifully crafted pieces of art don’t have to.

I think everyone can appreciate their innovative designs, whether they are tasselled, bejewelled or made from the highest quality Monoglian fur.

Despite the shoes being impractical for British wearers this February, the fact is Mr Blahnik should always be hailed on his ability to make shoes beautiful.

For more than 30 years, Blahnik has designed and created shoes from which fairytales are made.

Shoes embellished with rhinestones, feathers, buttons, bows, sequins, brocade, fur... the list is endless!

It was, however, only in the 90s that Manolo’s shoes became a world-wide phenomenon, following an appearance in Absolutely Fabulous, and later in the shoe-idolising American sitcom Sex and the City.

The show’s main 
character Carrie Bradshaw, played by actress Sarah 
Jessica Parker, suffers from a serious shoe-addiction and spends thousands of dollars throughout the series on 
designer shoes.

One of the show’s most memorable moments, came when Carrie was mugged in an alley downtown.

The mugger demands “Your watch and your ring – quick,” and then holds a gun to her shoes as he adds, “and your Manolo Blahniks.”

Carrie’s face now changes to a look of sheer shock, as she begs: “Please, sir, they’re my favourite pair.”

Carrie had no problem parting with her ring and her watch, but when it came to her Manolos she wasn’t willing to give them up without a fight – even with a gun pointed at her!

Sarah Jessica Parker 
later collaborated with George Malkemus, CEO of Manolo Blahnik, to design her very own collection.

Manolos have since become the pinnacle of women’s luxury footwear, being a cut above the rest and the ultimate icon of shoe-luxury.

That all important saying ‘a girl can never have too many pairs of shoes’ is a mantra most girls and women can relate to.

How can you resist wanting to covet your very own pair, when you know they are the ultimate icon of pure luxury and decadence?

Doesn’t every girl imagine herself to be a modern-day Cinderella?

But in this fairytale, 
Cinderella buys her own shoes!