Pam and I arrived early to check out the scene and admire the shoes. We were greeted with male models holding divine booties on trays and female models standing on platforms like living mannequins.
There were servers with wine and gourmet finger foods and lots of impeccably dressed members of Houston society who had come to worship their guru. There seemed to be nearly one sales person per shopper in the shoe salon as women tried on pair after pair, searching for just the right shoe for Mr. Blahnik to autograph. And sign them he did, along with copies of his new book of shoe sketches.
Manolo Blahnik is an amazing story of hard work, creativity and great branding. He grew up on a banana plantation in the Canary Islands of Spain, totally isolated from the rest of the world with the exception of occasional trips to Italy and France where his mother would visit her favorite couturiers. He studied carefully how to make shoes and cuts and crafts every design himself. Now at 67 years old his name is symbolic of luxury, fantasy and wearable art. He is absolutely charming and Pam was able to asked him a few questions about style, but you'll have to skip over to her blog to read his answers.
For me the event was also a bit of a glimpse into Houston society life. I learned some interesting things about the very wealthy in this city, which are very different from where I come from in the northeast. As with so many things in Houston, the luxury market seems to swing with the price of oil. But some things are not so different when lots of money is involved, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
Admirers of Manolo's shoes come in all shapes and sizes. There were even some mothers who brought their very little girls to meet the man of the hour. Four year old Sinclair Schiller had the most fantastic purple Dolce and Gabanna wellies on before she took them off to try on these red Manolos.
She really was just too cute for words. Seeing Mr. Blahnik in action was fascinating, but for me it still just comes down to his amazing shoes.
So do you "get it" or are you among those left wondering what all the fuss is about?