In May 2018, Manolo Blahnik opened its doors to the public at the triple tower complex Marina Sands Bay in Singapore, strengthening its presence in Asia with Bluebell Group. In January 2019, Manolo Blahnik continues its expansion into Asia with the opening of its first flagship store in Taiwan. The brand is known for its original and creative flair as well as timeless classic styles, which loyal customers from film stars to leading editors, to women who just trust his perfectionism, come back to again and again.
The newly opened Manolo Blahnik store, a 65 square metre space with a privileged location within the Nanshan Plaza shopping centre, showcases the world-renowned shoes on the first floor of the new upscale retail destination.
Nick Leith-Smith, the brand’s long-serving architect, said: “Taipei flagship celebrates a material play on Taiwan’s deep cultural and historical connection to bamboo – with a rotating bamboo forest as a central motif. At first, orderly, and geometric, yet with the dynamic movement introducing a curious playfulness to entice and enchant.”
The new store is another step forward for the company in its expansion across important markets; and another milestone achieved in the history of the family-owned business that has prevailed in the luxury shoe industry for nearly fifty years.
The creative soul of the brand is still Mr. Blahnik who, with a career spanning over 40 years, has become one of the world’s most influential footwear designers. His shoes have spellbound an international set of adoring and loyal devotees across the globe.
He was born in the Canary Islands to a Spanish mother and a Czech father, he studied languages and art in Geneva before moving to Paris in 1965 where he decided to become a set designer.
On a visit to New York in 1970, he showed his theatre designs to Diana Vreeland, then editor-in-chief of American Vogue, who honed in on his shoes and encouraged him to concentrate on them. Blahnik learnt the art of making shoes by visiting factories, where he talked to machine operators, pattern cutters and technicians. By 1970, he was in London making shoes.
A year later, Ossie Clark, then the most famous designer in London, used his shoes and from there his career blossomed.
Manolo Blahnik was established in 1970 with the opening of the first boutique
in Chelsea, London. It is still a privately owned and family run business with Mr. Blahnik as Creative Director and his sister Evangelina Blahnik led by the enthusiasm of Kristina Blahnik.
Kristina, CEO of the company since 2009, is in charge of brand expansion and optimization of the business worldwide, and in Asia, their transformation is the the result of a long-term partnership with Bluebell Group, which stated in Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore, and Taiwan.
Kristina, the walking embodiment of the woman her uncle, Manolo designs for, before the latest opening said: “I am thrilled at our new venture with the Bluebell group, they have already demonstrated to be an excellent partner in launching beautiful spaces in prestigious locations”.