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The Telegraph recently interviewed Manolo Blahnik in his natural environment—in Bath, England, at a hotel on the Royal Crescent—and used the better part of the article to recap how he went from law school to 40 years of international shoe iconhood. The piece is peppered with a few choice quotes from the man behind the brand, so read on as Blahnik reveals his thoughts on designing 350 perfect shoes in a matter of days, fake shoes, and Americans who can't say his name right no matter how many times they've see Carrie Bradshaw's tongue loll over his heels in Sex and the City seasons one through ten.
1. On retirement: "In a year's time I'll be 70. And it makes me happy that Armani is 80 because I'm not going to be retiring!"
2. On growing into perfectionism: "I do and re-do things that I used to do in a flash, because I want to be more perfectionist about these things. Maybe it sounds pompous and pretentious, but that's the way I feel." (Note: "Doing and re-doing things" like a perfectionist means banging out 350 shoe designs over a few days. We have a feeling "in a flash" doesn't mean to him what it means to other people.)
3. On holding an audience with Diana Vreeland: "Terrifying!"
4. On mastering the art of shoe-making under Henry Rayne: "The greatest shoemaker in England for many, many decades; he used to be the royal shoe-maker for the Queen Mother. This is where I learnt my trade."
5. On spotting knock-offs in Milan: The shoes were "in a wonderful colour I had never seen before. So I asked: 'Where did you get your shoes?' 'Manolo Blahnik.' I said: 'No, my dear: these are not Manolo, these are plastic! With a horrid little plastic buckle!'"
6. On a twentysomething fashion editor who had heard of neither La Dolce Vita nor Marcello Mastroianni: "I said: 'Fellini?' and she said: 'No idea.' Oh, the poor things. I mean, they're young, but the reason they don't know is all this nonsense about technology."
7. On dunderheaded Americans who call him "Manilla": "Oh! I hate that! Call me Magnolia, anything—but not Manilla!"
· Bath Time With Blahnik [Telegraph]
· Manolo Blahnik "Had No Idea" About That J.Crew Collab [Racked]
· All Manolo Blahnik Coverage [Racked]