Spanish fashion designer and founder of the eponymous high-end shoe brand
Manuel "Manolo" Blahnik Rodríguez CBE (born 27 November 1942) is a Spanish fashion designer and founder of the eponymous high-end shoe brand.
FashionPassionThe only people that come to my mind in the last years are Lee McQueen and John Galliano. Truly, truly . . . How do I say? Full of ideas. Full of the smell. They just had this incredible passion for what they did.
PassionAlas, passion is conducive to certain other things because when you have too much passion and you have too much work, you possibly end up having black holes. The danger is too much passion.
PassionPassion is passion. It's a sort of madness and possession of what you do or what you think. This is the difference of life: passion and commerce, which most of the people know as "P.C." But people have just got "C" now instead of "P."
MarriageMen tell me that I've saved their marriages. It costs them a fortune in shoes, but it's cheaper than a divorce. So I'm still useful, you see.
I don't like very young women very much. Never did.
I couldn't care less about business.
I don't belong to anyone.
I really connect with Victoria Beckham's desire to do something that she wants to do. Of the girls we've been talking about, she's one of the few that has this incredible sort of "I want to do it, and I want to do it well."
I only saw one collection of Victoria Beckham, and I thought it was very much like Pierre Cardin or Marcel Rochas dresses. She's thought about it, and she knows what she wants. And people buy it, so that means she works. She has this incredible will power to do something that she likes to do. And I love that. I respect that.
I never watched those Spice Girls. I didn't enjoy that at all. So I didn't know Victoria Beckham well. But she came out with this pretty boy, got married, and the boy got more tattoos and more tattoos. And then I met her a few times, and we started work, and something happened. You know, she wanted it. She loves what she's doing.
I thought Victoria Beckham was going to be one of those pop girls, but she's absolutely the complete opposite. She's a working girl. She knows what she wants. And when she doesn't know, she really prepares herself. I love this working type of women. And she's a girl from - I don't even know where she's from.
I think Lucy Ferry, now Birley, is absolutely beautiful. She's a modern girl, but she moves beautifully. Amanda [Harlech] moves beautifully when she's not working. All those English leftover society girls.
I don't consider myself a fashion designer.
I am not a movie star or a football player, I just do my thing.
I'm a great observer of delicate situations and women. I really like that bygone type of movement, and for a long time I had been looking for it.
I wish I was making shoes instead of reading or watching movies, which is what I do in my free time.
Trends don't interest me.
I'm an old bag - I like old things.
When I was a boy I remember the women, how they dressed, how they behaved, what was important to them at the time. Like Lee Marvin and Gloria Grahame in The Big Heat.
I eat a lot of chocolate.
It's the only thing I really enjoy - so fresh, even now that I'm doing the new sampling. I'm dying to go to the factory, which is like nobody's idea of fun. But it's mine.
I don't think about myself very much.
Peter Hinwood found all these old pictures - Polaroids - and when I saw them, I just didn't believe that the person in them was connected with me. I was in a hotel room with one of those front-and-back mirrors, and I thought, Who the hell is that? I used to be thin as a rake. I used to have the nice-shaped pecs. It's sad. No, it's not sad, it's the reality, and I've accepted this now.
You realize how much fun we did have, with no money at all. We'd stay in peoples' homes in Tangiers. When you're young, you invite yourself.
I forget about the diseases that I have. I don't want to know.
David Lynch is démodé now, if you look at his films. I looked at them the other weekend.
I watched L'eclisse  with Alain Delon and Monica Vitti. Changed my world. What a glamorous and modern film. This is what a genius is - the thing of a genius. The dresses, the tiny heels, the Cardin look, the boys dressed up as Italian gigolos - it was divine, very modern. [Michelangelo] Antonioni, I loved and I realized: how modern.
The most tragic moment of my life was the first show I ever designed for. I had been asked to make shoes for Ossie Clark's show in the early '70s. I was so inexperienced that I didn't put the steel in the heels of the shoes, which is required to support the shoe and the wearer. So the girls came out walking very strangely in these rubber, bendy high-heeled shoes I had made. I thought 'Oh dear god! This is the end of me.' But after the show, even David Hockney and Cecil Beaton said to me 'It was so interesting that the girls were moving in such a different way.'
I saw these girls like Sherilyn Fenn and Lara Flynn Boyle that should be working now instead of these anonymous girls. They're all the same.
I adore Jean-Louis Trintignant - even at 100 years old he's fabulous.
I get more tired by travelling than anything.
Really, the '70s and '80s were a blur.
You'd see extraordinary-looking people around in the '70s. It was so exciting! You'd have mad people, like Gerlinde Kostiff riding around on her bicycle with a huge hat. Everybody was doing things. I don't have any bad memories of that period.
It was a different social structure. I'd go to [David] Bailey's for dinner at 10:30. There were always girls there and a house full of . . . I don't know, anybody. Cecil Beaton, Diana Cooper . . . And there I am sitting down with these creatures of the 20th century, and it was normal to us.
If I look back I feel frightened, not happy, because my life is a bit of a mystery to me.
Maintenance is terribly important.
Women are wearing tight and sexy clothes again. It is the body-conscious mentality, and women are revealing every bulge.
These are very dainty and superrefined, but really vile.
The only way I can cope with me and my environment is to have this kind of wall around me. I'm exhausting myself.
I always love China, especially the old China.
I am insecure. Everyone's insecure.
I don't even know Amanda Seyfried or whatever - they're all the same!
I like the new shoe designers. Not all of them - there are really bad ones too. But I go to the colleges with these kids for lectures, as an honorary professor or whatever, and this Chinese girl I like very much who I give the award to says to me, "You don't know how much you inspired me to do shoes." And I'm glad that I convey that kind of desire to people when they see my bloody shoes.
I'm always kind of contradictory to what people want and what's selling. But maybe I should care now because I have two or three more outlets. I have to be more adaptable color-wise to what people want. It's usually just black and pink, and that's it.
A lot of things trigger my inspiration. It can be the most banal things.
That kind of woman who used to be there at the time is not here any longer. In 10 years, people disappear. But I fantasize still about those kinds of women, and that kind of life that doesn't really exist any longer.
I'm loyal to my thoughts, to my friends. This is what I really like the best. Loyalty. Sounds goody-goody. Maybe that's not the one you wanted.
I'm not very nostalgic, you see. I just don't think anybody has that kind of thing anymore. By culture, by breeding, by whatever, it's not there. The kids today-what the hell are they going to be? I like young people - yes, I do. But when I talk to people at the schools, and they say, "I saw you on the Twit," I don't even know what they are talking about.
But it is hard to resist the feeling that 70th was some kind of golden age.
I was a young man, and this is the kind of London it was, but so many people are just not here anymore. Not even Tina [Chow], who was to me absolutely the most important girl of the time. Tina was absolutely the chicest thing, the way she kept herself, the way she moved. You're born like that - you cannot acquire it. All those upper-class girls, people like Catherine Tennant, they used to be there in Chelsea, sitting on the couch. Now Chelsea is full of Russians.
I don't know why my shoes are so popular - I am always surprised and mystified by it.
My most treasured clothing item is first suit that I made - acid green. It was disgusting, but I love it. It's been mended a million times, but I still wear it.
I think I make shoes quite okay.
When I was out of favor and people didn't want that type of boot, flats, or high heels with the elegant, dainty things, it gave me much more energy.
It was so interesting that the girls were moving in such a different way.
I do think one should have clean feet.
I'm totally twisted. Instead of, "Oh god, I don't have platforms - they won't like me," I was much more, "I'm doing what I'm doing, and if you don't want to buy it, then don't buy, but that's just what I'm gonna do." It gave me strength. It worked for me.
I'd been to Saint Petersburg before, but there's been a change in people's minds. Maybe it's a fashionable thing, but people have returned to the churches. I went to a Russian Orthodox and a Catholic church - both of the queues, enormous!
I hate these platforms that are all over the place today; they are all about grabbing attention. They are suburban! I never do a platform. Well, I did, in the 1970s, but that was a bad experience.
You get two weeks after you do a shoe where you can test whether it's good or not - if you're going to like it in 20 years. Then I know that it's going to be my shoe for a long time. That doesn't happen very often, but it happens.
I'm a doodler. It was my first job as a boy, and I still do it. At night I keep a block of paper and a pencil with a huge piece of string next to me. When I have an idea, I grab the string and just doodle.
I saw this vision with a beautiful plastic bag in Kensington High Street, ... and then you didn't see the face because he had this blond thing [indicating a sweeping fringe across his face] that was, you know, too much!
I'm loyal to my friends, but I have so few now.I force myself to see people when they're here. Or when I'm here. I don't live in England that much now in the sense that I spend time in factories. I'm such a factory man now. This is really what I enjoy doing.
I didn't need it [formal training], because I've got the best taste in the world.
When somebody wants to work and believes in something, it doesn't matter if you're well known or rich or whatever it is.
The imprint of Miss Hepburn is absolutely, totally present. Like it or not, she will be the most important look of the twentieth century.
I don't even think about the word. But I do have certain things where I just go, "Aaaaahhh," irritatingly boring and insistent because I want it to look that way and I can do it - I don't even know if you'd call it passion or obsession. Obsession, possibly, but I really love what I do.
If I was a woman, I would be dressed in the same thing for a month and just change my hat and gloves. Maybe my shoes too; yes, I see what you mean but, really, it's jewels that change an outfit.
I never wanted to be the most famous, the most beautiful, the most extravagant.
I've never been tempted to do these hideous furniture shoes.
Everything is global now. It's not London, it's not Spain, it's not Italy - everything is everywhere. So you have to be everywhere, I guess.
Some people just use beautiful things to just shop or to have a tribal feeling - 'Oh, blah, blah, blah, I'm wearing Hermes; blah, blah, blah, I'm wearing Saint Laurent; blah-blah blah' - because it's like a need, a tribe, recognition: 'Ahh, my Rolex.' But I run away from anything which is too recognizable - it's my nature.
I do enjoy my own company. I cannot imagine anybody entertaining me more than I do. If it sounds selfish, I don't care. I made it a religion almost.
I'm relating to a period that doesn't exist anymore.