Manolo Blahnik: 6 films to watch according to the designer

Manolo Blahnik is a great lover of cinema: here is a selection of his favorite films

A passion that lasts from childhood, and which over time has turned into true love. Manolo Blahnik he always looked at the big screen as an inspiration to create his shoes, and his admiration for Hollywood led him to collaborate with the director Sofia Coppola making all the shoes of the film Marie Antoinette (2006). In the biographical documentary Manolo: the Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards (2017) of Michael Roberts, we explore the imaginative universe of the designer, a mixture of the Baroque opulence of The Leopard of Giuseppe Tomasi of Lampedusa (his favorite novel), and the glamor of Hollywood 1940s and 1950s. Today, the designer reveals which films are most closely related to him and which best express the aesthetics of the genius of footwear. To spend evenings in the company of a great cinema, here are the film recommendations of Manolo Blahnik.


Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck ne The Flame of Sin by Billy Wilder

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There Flame of Sin (Double Indemnity in the original version) is a film by Billy Wilder of 1944, listed by the BBC as one of the best American films of all time. Protagonist is one of Manolo Blahnik’s most loved actresses, Barbara Stanwyck, who in the film plays a devious wife with a Machiavellian personality, intent on planning the murder of her husband (played by Fred MacMurray) to collect its substantial life insurance. According to the designer, it would be one of the most charismatic and complex roles of Stanwyck, and the splendid photography of John Seitz, seven-time Oscar nominee for Best Photography.


Joan Crawford and Van Heflin in a scene from Souls in Delirium

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For the direction of Curtis Bernhardt, Souls in Delirium (Possessed, 1947) features an extraordinary Joan Crawford in the shoes of a woman who, due to unrequited love and abandonment by her lover, falls prey to mental illness, managing to heal only thanks to the help of the loving Dr. Ames (Moroni Olsen). Loaded with pathos and with masterful interpretations, it is one of the most loved films by the designer.


From left, Anne Baxter, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe and George Sanders in Eva Against Eva

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Eva Against Eva (All About Eve, 1950) of Joseph L. Mankiewicz, represents the pinnacle of a spectacular Bette Davis, who in the film plays Margo Channing, a Broadway diva whose career is threatened by the arrival on the scene of new and young promises. During production, Bette Davis admitted to feel a remarkable empathy with his character – both were two women with a glorious past, whose career was, however, coming to an end. With Anne Baxter is Marilyn Monroe, the film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 6 of them including theOscar for Best Film.


James Dean and Natalie Wood on the set of Wasted Youth by Nicholas Ray

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The figure of James Dean she has become legendary, despite her short career consisting of only three films (Dean died in fact very young, in 1955, following a car accident). Of his three roles, that of Jim Stark in Wasted Youth (Rebel Without a Cause, 1955) of Nicholas Ray it remains the most famous and unforgettable. A story of high school love and youth rebellion in the era preceding the rock’n’roll boom, Wasted Youth sees as a female co-star Natalie Wood, candidate for the Oscar Award for Best Supporting Actress. Of the film, Manolo Blahnik loves James Dean’s iconic style and his ability to nonchalantly and naturally represent the carefree spirit of rockabilly years.


Brigitte Bardot in a Pierre Balmain dress

© Courtesy IMDB

Too many like it (Et Dieu Créa la Femme, 1956) of Roger Vadim is the film that has consecrated the career of a beautiful one Brigitte Bardot, which alongside Jean-Louis Trintignant recites a sweet love story under the sun of the French Riviera. After leaving the orphanage, the young Juliette settles in a small fishing village (then semi-unknown Saint Tropez), upsetting the peaceful life of the inhabitants with its beauty and panache. Dressed by the couturier Pierre Balmain, who for her created clothes with tight silhouettes at the waist and soft on the hips, Brigitte Bardot is among Manolo Blahnik’s favorite actresses, who loves her famous beauty, elegance, and femininity.


Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon in a scene from The Leopard by Luchino Visconti

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Masterpiece of Italian neorealism, The Leopard (1963) by Luchino Visconti is based on the novel of the same name Giuseppe Tomasi of Lampedusa published in 1958, which tells the story of a nineteenth-century Sicily, distorted by the uprisings of the Risorgimento that would overturn the Bourbon domain favoring the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. With Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale is Alain Delon, the film is a daydream with the dry and harsh panoramas of the Sicilian hinterland, opposed by the baroque splendor of the Salina family estates, narrative fulcrum of the story. With the magnificent costumes of Piero Tosi, The Leopard has conquered Manolo Blahnik also in the film version, thus being able to admire, also visually, the splendor of European culture and art.

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