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Catching up with Manolo Blahnik

After more than 30 years in the biz, Manolo Blahnik has accumulated a pop culture status and fan base unmatched by most designers. His devoted clients have been rumored to go to extremes to pay homage to their Manolo collections—from designating entire rooms in their homes for Blahnik shoe storage to ordering his spendy heels by the dozens. So it was no surprise that the shoe guru’s recent visit to San Francisco attracted a swarm of Blahnik groupies for a mid-day appearance and signing of their coffee table tomes Blahnik by Boman [$55, Chronicle Books] at Neiman Marcus.

Taking a few moments to sit down with the legend before the eager masses descended, what did 7x7 learn about the man behind the luxurious shoes? He attributes his undying excitement towards design to his passion and curiosity of others. “I love people,” said Blahnik warmly. “I love to see what moves people.”  When asked which shoe he deems essential to every woman’s wardrobe, he waxed philosophic. “A pump. You can wear [them with] whatever. Without it you cannot be.” What type of shoe would he design to encapsulate San Francisco style? “I think I would do something with the shape of the Coit Tower,” he responded without skipping a beat.  “A boot covered with Muir Woods; little [leaves] up to here!” he exclaimed, pointing to his thigh. But don’t ever expect to see a Manolo platform. “I don’t like them,” he said. “It’s something I really find offensive.”