My Favorite Mistake

Article excerpt

Manolo Blahnik on the shoe that almost ended his career.

My whole life has been a huge mistake, but what a divine mistake--doing something that I adore. I never planned on doing this as my career. I've made so many mistakes, it's difficult to pinpoint one.

The first time I had a major mistake was due to my inexperience. In 1972 I was invited by Ossie Clark, one of the biggest designers on earth, to do this collection at the Royal Court Theatre in London. I made these divine, fabulous heels. I think it was my first shoe, actually. They were royal-blue suede with acid green inside, and a sole made of crepe rubber, which is beautifully white. It's like walking on snow, but in rubber.

For the heels not to bend, they needed a steel spine inside. I didn't realize that. So here we are. The fashion show started. Everybody in London was there. It was extraordinary to see all these models coming down the runway. I looked down and saw all the shoes going--boom, boom boom! The heels were moving around and bending. The models were moving in such a strange way. It was movements you've never seen before, even in the sirens of Hollywood in the '40s. I thought, "Oh, my God, this is the end of my career definitely. …