One of the things I really like about SCAD is that they offer a lot of free events for the average resident (like myself) who doesn’t attend SCAD. And although the Fashion show was sold out last Saturday, I was able to watch a live broadcast on my iPad for free. You can also download the lookbook here . Sometimes I feel like I’m in school again without having to pay the tuition. I walked over to the Lucas Theatre last Saturday to see Manolo Blahnik, famed shoe designer and André Leon Talley, contributing editor of Vogue, interviewed by fashion reporter, Eric Wilson, of the New York Times. Again, for free. See what I mean? Not too shabby.
Mr. Manolo Blahnik with Mr. André Leon Talley
First off, Mr. Manolo Blahnik can really work a bow-tie. And it’s just especially charming on him. Like most Europeans, there was a lot of energetic gesticulating involved in his storytelling and some of his pearls were lost since the microphone kept dancing away from his face, but eventually his hands quieted down a bit and we all leaned in.
André Leon Talley described his first meeting with Mr. Blahnik as impressive: He was in a Cerulean blue Rive Gauche suit from YSL. I could barely afford one, and he had about five. He was impeccably dressed – a true gentleman, a true artist. It was fun to imagine these two meeting for the first time, completely overdressed but fabulous on Fire Island. With parasols.
But now about the shoes…
“Even if it’s very high it has to feel secure, Mr. Blahnik said, “and that’s a question of balance. The shoes have to be comfortable of course. Of course.” This is so true, you can wear a very high heel comfortably if the heel is placed in just the right place – squarely under the heel, not too far forward or back. I wish more designers would take responsibility for this and not have this Marie Antoinette viewpoint of “let them eat cake” / “let them suffer” when it comes to wearing a great shoe and walking successfully. He bemoaned that the trend for shoes these days had footware looking more like furniture than functional adornement/jewelry for the feet.
He likes to keep a small scale production, and likes to be involved with the factories –its about community he says. Community is important. Mr. Blahnik remarked that “a conglomerate is a kind of hell.” Large organizations seem to be the bane of creative thinkers everywhere, there’s a real need to keep it on the small side. I think even Charles Shultz groaned about “the big eastern syndicate” from time to time.
Mr. Blahnik summed up his life and work like this: “It’s my joy – this is what I wasn’t to do, the way I want to do it.” And had this to impart as well. “if you believe in what your doing, you’ll get anywhere.”
Mr. Blahnik signing his work
Check out the Gutstein Gallery to see his shoes and sketches firsthand. (201 E. Broughton)