Exclusive: Kristina Blahnik on Manolo Blahnik’s The Craft and what to expect
The art of shoemaking
Manolo Blahnik’s digital archives have expanded with the launch of The Craft. This marks the fourth instalment of the renowned virtual experience that first made its debut in 2021 to celebrate the Spanish fashion house’s 50th anniversary and delivers an astounding depth of the House’s archives with constant innovation.
Inside, you will find the space decorated with the House’s distinctive polka dot pattern and the designer’s desk that serves as a guide to the other rooms in the Manolo universe. The latest addition features eight vignettes, which illustrate the development of ideas from design to production while showcasing the imaginative minds driving the men’s and women’s collections.
The Design segment offers an inside look at the classic silhouettes designed since the inception of the brand. Following that, viewers get to explore the Construction space, which reveals the components of Blahnik’s iconic styles, and the Typologies part that goes into further detail on the history of the shoes. Meanwhile, the Techniques area delves deeply into the ornamental and decorative elements—like embroidery and broguing—that cemented Blahnik’s expertise in ornamentation, while the Accessories portion focuses on the brand’s signature accessories.
Subsequently, you can learn more about the material used to construct the shoes in the Materials section before continuing to The Making, where you’ll be transported to the Manolo Blahnik atelier and discover over sixty steps in making the iconic footwear. The Men’s segment concludes the experience by presenting the different stitching and construction methods used to create the Men’s collection.
Ahead, we speak to CEO Kristina Blahnik to understand more about what inspired her to build The Craft and the obstacles that she encountered.
Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik
Can you tell us what is the main inspiration behind The Craft?
“It was my dream to protect the brand’s legacy, and with the Manolo Blahnik archives, I can share what I captured 22 years ago while also showcasing the expertise of our incredible staff who assisted in digitising Manolo’s work. The Craft celebrates our artisans and their amazing work. Our decades-long and multigenerational personal relationships with our artisans are the heart and soul of every shoe. I have been passionate about developing this digital space for years, and I am proud of the work we have accomplished.”
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered when building The Craft?
“Manolo Blahnik has so much history and craftsmanship that it was hard to choose what gets into The Craft room. Craftsmanship is at the heart of everything we do, and with this space, I wanted to make the most of our time selecting and creating the right type of content to better communicate our story. I want people to learn about the art of shoemaking from this room.”
Which of the eight essential areas shown is your favourite, and why?
“My favourite parts are probably the videos of the artisans making the shoes. You can feel their passion through the screen. We have been working with the same artisans for over 35 years. Craftsmanship is in their blood and has been passed down through generations. I hope it shows that we would be nowhere without their magic hands. You can have an amazing sketch, but it takes a magician to turn it into shoes.”
What are the highlights that should not be missed?
“A behind-the-scenes look at Manolo’s design process is available to viewers, something he has never done before. Everything always starts with a sketch, and anything can happen from there. I think people will be surprised by his sources of inspiration because he can draw ideas from anything. He will come up with the initial concepts and designs, and then I will feed in and ask questions. We will have conversations where I will add more layers to his interpretations to ensure that the product is globally relevant. What is demanded and needed in one territory is not required in another.”
What can viewers look forward to from the new room?
“I hope that people find a deeper connection to our shoes. Manolo Blahnik is a family-run business that aspires to make beautiful things that bring joy to people. My uncle isn’t just a shoe designer; he is a creative and expresses himself through shoes. Our shoes transcend fashion, and they are magnificent objects that the brand has always kept front and centre. The essence of Manolo Blahnik—beauty, comfort, artistry, and quality—has likewise never been compromised. Rather than being influenced by the happenings around him, Manolo finds inspiration in traditions, cultures, and his intellect. His references lend the shoes a timeless appeal.”
Three words to describe ‘The Craft’?
“Enriching, inspirational, and educational.”
Is there any plan to bring virtual experiences into actual spaces?
“I believe that the opportunities for our virtual archives are endless, and more rooms will be added soon. The virtual archives are available online so that anybody can experience them and become a part of Manolo Blahnik from anywhere in the world. More dimensions of Manolo’s work are highlighted in The Craft, and I am excited for people to explore it and be inspired to create.”
Check out The Manolo Blahnik Archives, The Craft here.
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