The Shoemasters!

Manolo Blahnik. I remember in one of SATC episodes Carrie pleaded “You can take my Fendi baguette, you can take my ring and my watch, but don’t take my Manolo Blahniks” when she found herself right in front of a mugger..:D. Of course, the mugger took the shoes. SATC literally popularized the Manolos, they weren’t that mainstream before the show. Now Manolo has designed a pair of shoes and named them “The SJP”

Manolo started his business in London in the early 1970s and had been designing shoes for Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis and Dior. He was born in Santa Crus de la Palma in the Canary island in 1942. He was introduced to Diana Vreeland (the editor of US Vogue at that time) by Picasso (yes, the famous painter) who found his sketches amusing and ask him to make shoes. Oh..he also published a book full of his sketches, I’ve glanced through the book and yes, it’s full of brilliant sketches. The sketches are far more beautiful than the actual shoes.

The price point for a pair of Manolo is around $400. What I like about Manolo shoes are the wide selection that he offers, ranging from the classic mary janes to the sparkling strappy red carpet shoes, all of them are stunning and femine. I love his philosophy too, he doesn’t do a lot of advertising and he doesn’t want to fall into the trap of trends. He once said that it’s not fair to ask someone to pay a lot of money for a pair of shoes and then have them to be ‘out’ next season. He doesn’t venture out to bags and other accessories, and just stick to what he knows best, making pretty shoes. All hail Mr. Blahnik!!. Someday I’ll own the black mary jane and make Carrie Bradhsaw proud of me..:D.

Jimmy Choo. Well, his real name is Jimmy Chow and not too many people know that he was actually born and raised in Penang, Malaysia in 1961. His family were shoemakers..but unlike Manolo who took care of everything himself, Jimmy Choo is more of a shoe firm and he himself is no longer part of the company’s shoe line. But the shoes still bear his name and so does the handbag. Right now, Jimmy Choo firm is headed by PR- Savvy Tamara Mellon in its headquarter in UK. She was an accessories editor in UK Vogue.

I’m not sure if Jimmy Choo has signature model..but most of the shoes are delicate and more suitable for evening wear than day wear. I’ve read a report that Jimmy Choo shoes are still leading the way in sales with Manolo Blahnik comes at a second place. Jimmy Choo shoes also made appearances in SATC show, as well as In Her Shoes movie and so many other TV shows. The Late Princess Diana was a die hard fan.

Christian Louboutin.. Louboutin shoes are very distinctive and easily recognizable, thanks to its red trademark sole that makes women feel sexy instantly when they slide their feet. He has a Tahitian blood in his family and has a penchant for the Middle East. That’s why many of his design and color choice for his shoes and the boutiques interior are exotic looking, very arabesque. His designs have been heavily copied by all of the low and mid-end shoe brands. His shoes, although still feminine, are more chunkier and quirkier. Younger and edgier clientele like Christina Aguilera, Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, Mary Kate & Ashley are all Louboutin devotees. The conservative Martha Stewart is also a fan, but she said she painted the red sole to black because she doesn’t like red. By the way, now there’s also the Louboutin manicure, in glossy nail-varnish red to match the red sole. Louboutin also makes handbag..and the $700 price range makes Manolo’s price look cheap.

So, which one is your favorite shoemaster?