bal harbour blog

All About the Shoes

Manolo Blahnik President George Malkemus.

There’s nothing like a power couple, and nowhere is this more apparent than in fashion. Manolo Blahnik may be one man’s name, but insiders know the brand is the dream of two men: Mr. Blahnik and his President, George Malkemus.

We caught up with the charming Malkemus at a recent appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour where he was presenting the Spring collection. (Check out our exlusive photos from the event here).

Q: You're in town to launch the new spring collection at Saks.  Do you have any favorite looks from the collection?
A: For me it’s all about the simplest sexiest pump—the BB in bright suede.

Q: Manolo Blahnik manages to live in a space outside of trends—yet is always in style. What's the secret to maintaining that balance?
A: Never losing sight of the women you design for—elegant, beautifully groomed and meticulous.

Q: What has been the How and when did you and Manolo Blahnik first meet?
A: We met in London 30 years ago. I was in advertising with Bergdorf Goodman and just fell in love with his shoes—we signed the contracts after discovering we had the same breed of dog, Scottish Terriers.

Q: You became business partners nearly 30 years ago. Do you have something special planned to celebrate this major anniversary?
A: We kind of think it’s bad luck to celebrate such a mile stone—maybe at 50.

Q: What is your working relationship like; How often are the two of you in the same room?
A: First of all we’re dear, dear friends—we spend about four months together in our factories. We often vacation together as well.

Q: It's hard to imagine a time when Manolo Blahnik wasn't a household name. Can you take us back and share something from those very early years.
A: That’s kind of you to say—but 30 years ago no one could even pronounce it—we got a lot of “Menolo Blacknicks”.

Q: In an interview that ran in WWD a couple of years ago, you said that your business plan was to grow slowly. Do you think too many brands these days are growing too quickly?
A: It’s often the demise of great talents—so much too fast too soon

Q: With the US accounting for 85 percent of your business, where do you see the most growth in the future?
A: We see both coasts, New York and Beverly Hills, growing the most.

Q: Are there any plans on the horizon to open any additional freestanding stores?
A: We love our New York boutique and our shop with Steve Wynn—otherwise we concentrate on our retail partners

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