Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

October 30, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS | 1 Comment |

(Directed by Michael Roberts) (2017)

Do you know the name of that adorable green shoe in the poster for this film?  Do you know where its creator Manolo Blahnik finds inspiration?  Or what sort of outfits he anticipates his shoes will be styled with?  Or why they are as comfortable (relatively speaking, of course) as they are?  Or which are his most popular designs and why?  Nor do we, and this film did nothing to enlighten us.

We at TVC (one of whom is an adorer of the great man) went to see this film expecting to learn something about the issues raised above and to see the iconic styles, the sourcing of their materials, their production, their outlets and their wearers.  Instead we saw Rhianna stomping about in some Blahniks, scowling at people as is her wont, and Anna Wintour, sitting in a shoe shop (as if). Rupert Everett mentions that his friend Manolo makes men’s shoes.  John Galliano sits on the couch with the Spanish shoe chap. All of them like his shoes. Lots of people like his shoes.  Blahnik is a genius shoe designer. Yup. Got that. Now show us some of the shoes themselves and let Mr B tell us about them, we beg.  It doesn’t happen.

There are lots of lovely shots of Bath, where Blahnik now lives.  But why?  No-one seems to think to ask him.

We had expected Blahnik to be an intimidating, unsmiling cross between Karl Lagerfeld and Pablo Picasso; rather he is a genial, likeable, Dickensian sort of man, in elegant linen and round glasses. Roberts has obviously shot lots and lots of footage of him talking to everyone and anyone about everything and anything, except the one thing the audience wants to know about – SHOES! The shoes are barely included as afterthoughts or background props, until the final third of the film which becomes more interesting.  We see the man himself filing a wooden heel mould and see him drawing some sketches and that’s about it for his method. We barely glimpse the famous Hangisi style of Sex and the City fame – just a tantalising moment of shelves of them in different colours.  What? They come in other colours?  I wonder how Mr Blahnik chooses the colours?







1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Janelle McCulloch

    November 1, 2017

    What a fantastic summary of a beautiful but clearly unfinished film. I, too, would have liked to see the production processes, particularly the steps from the drawings to the finished product. (Does he actually 'shape' the pieces -- such as the intricate green shoe in the poster -- with the leather and other materials, as Dior used to do? Or does he leave the construction to a proper pattern maker?) Mr Blahnik alone could carry a film, with his charm and witty one-liners, but it would be nice to see behind the scenes... (Just a tour of the factory would have been wonderful.) I noticed the various fashion monographs are just as light on detail. Hopefully there will be more books and bios in the future. I don't think the international interest in this remarkable designer will go away any time soon.

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