Shoe god Manolo Blahnik is descending to Earth, specifically the style isle of Palm Beach.
The high-heel-hero will be at Neiman Marcus Palm Beach, at 151 Worth Avenue Friday, March 22 from 2 to 4 p.m., signing his shoes for customers and introducing a foot-fashion design he chose specifically for the resortey clientele.
On Tuesday, March 19, Neiman Marcus Palm Beach will have a "Pre-Sale & Pedicures" event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Wednesday, March 20 there will be a "Bites & Blahniks" lunch-by-the-bite from noon to 2 p.m. And on Thursday, March 21 the store is hosting "Cupcakes & Couture...Shoes" from 2 to 5 p.m. All of the events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 561-805-6149.
Before he mixes with moda-mortals, I caught up with Blahnik while he was hanging out in a pseudo-Olympus, in this case a suite at the St. Regis in New York, for a quick Q&A:
Everyone is so excited about your visit. When exactly are you arriving?
"Late Wednesday night. And you know the first thing I'm going to do? I'm going to put on my Lilly Pulitzer and go to the pool and relax."
What are you going to wear to the event?
[Laughing] "A pink suit or maybe violet - funny colors like that. Some shocking colors. And a bow tie. I've been wearing bow ties since I was 18 or 17. My father wore them in the '40s but I looked at them and said, 'This is now.' Now I'm an old man, but I still wear them. I travel very light you know: two suits and two pairs of underwear."
And in Florida you don't even need the underwear, right?
[Laughing] "I think that is for another lifestyle that I don't want to do. No, I better not."
Being in the tropics won't be anything new to you since you grew up in the Canary Islands, right?
"Oh yes, it's the same weather, the same palm trees, the same thing. It's very much like being in the Canary Islands. Of course there it is much more African, in the sense that we have storms and the sands blow in from the desert."
I know you've been to Palm Beach before, but have you been to other parts of South Florida?
"Yes, Bal Harbour I like. We've been to the stores there. I don't know Miami too well. I think I've been to Miami three times. It's too much for me. Miami is the kind of place you go to a place you know, where ever, you see it for five seconds and then you get out."
What shoe did you select for the Palm Beachers?
"It's a Daisy. If you think of it, it's kind of like a Lilly Pulitzer thing, like one of her old prints...but it's with cut-outs."
What from your spring/summer line do think the Palm Beach ladies will gravitate toward?
"Oh, things like sandals and open things that are kind of easy. They're going to like the high heel sandals, which are very good. A high heel sandal is one thing that people always need."
I read that you don't think too much of the new crop of Hollywood actresses, that they aren't too memorable. Is that true?
"I have a short list of girls that I like. I really like Nicole Kidman, I love Uma Thurman. I like Amazonian women, tall...beautiful. I saw a movie she was in last year with that vampire boy Robert Pattinson and Thurman was so beautiful. It was not a very good movie, but you can't believe how beautiful she was."
And memorable. Uma Thurman is memorable. I think you were making the point that the newer actresses all seem to have the same features and the same face.
"That's exactly it. No matter how beautiful they are I can't seem to remember them. It's not a matter of having just a pretty face. This crop of modern girls are all blond and small. They all look alike to me. Forgive me, I don't want to be offensive to anyone. But they ask me about this one or that one and I don't remember. I have to think about the last one who won that was memorable. I guess it was Julia Roberts with that smile and that incredible personality. But I don't remember the rest. Maybe I'm too old."
You love Sarah Jessica Parker, don't you?
"She's wonderful. I love her. She responsible, all by herself, she made my life so easy in America. She made me kind of successful here with a different generation of girls. It's incredible the wide influence that show had in every part of the world. They loved it and they still love it."
But she recently said that all of those years of doing "Sex and the City" wearing high heels damaged her feet. Of course, she didn't specifically mention any designers.
"Not mine. Mine are not uncomfortable. Some people are not meant to be in high heels all the time. It is not a normal position for the feet to be in all the time. Sometimes it is not comfortable if you have been in them too long. But then again, some girls cannot walk in flats."
I know some boys who can't
[Laughing] "Exactly. They should wear high heels too."