Liberty Opens Manolo Blahnik Shop

In a first for the U.K. market, the designer has inked a distribution deal with the retailer to sell his collection.

LONDON — In a first for the U.K. market, Manolo Blahnik has inked a deal with Liberty to sell his collection. Liberty has created a dedicated space on its second floor for the designer’s footwear, as well as totes, scarves and stationery featuring Blahnik’s watercolor drawings.

This story first appeared in the November 7, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Although the designer has wholesale partners worldwide, he currently sells his collection exclusively in the U.K. through his shop on Old Church Street in London’s Chelsea. In 2010, he opened a pop-up shop at Liberty called “World of Manolo,” which stocked his footwear and accessories.

Liberty’s first season with Blahnik will be spring 2012. Asked why he chose Liberty in particular, the designer said: “I love the store; it’s very English, and has so much character. I go there to shop myself. It is unique.”

Ed Burstell, managing director of Liberty, said Blahnik was a breath of fresh air. “What makes Manolo Blahnik so relevant is his consistent design aesthetic over time — chic, feminine, often playful, and always appropriate. So refreshing after years of heavy-handed over-design in shoe making. He is the true genius and we are proud to be his partner on this historic venture,” he said.

Liberty will also stock a shoe designed by Blahnik and Richard Nicoll for the latter’s spring runway show. Known as Choli, it’s a patent leather pointy court shoe in glossy rose gold, space-age silver, and bold metallic blue.

The retailer will carry Blahnik’s Olympics-inspired designs, which include a court shoe in linen with a three-tiered trim in bronze, silver and gold, and metallic sandals inspired by the footwear worn by ancient Greeks.