Manolo Blahnik really is his own worst critic.
Days away from the New York premiere of the documentary “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards,” the designer gave himself lackluster reviews at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Friday night. He was there to support his old friend and the film’s director Michael Roberts, who was signing copies of “GingerNutz” with Grace Coddington.
WWD: What do you think of your documentary?
Manolo Blahnik: [Sighs.] It was kind of wonderful in the beginning and then somebody took over to edit. But it’s OK, the final product is OK. I don’t like to see myself on film. I asked to be photographed from the back, but no. At the time, I had injured my diaphragm. I was treated with cortisone so I was huuuge (waving a hand over his stomach.) I still have a little bit here, here and in the knees but I’m fine. I’ve never been an exhibitionist person or whatever it is. It’s hard to see yourself there with wrinkles and age. I don’t like it.
WWD: Did you like the essence of it? Was it more a matter that you don’t like to see yourself on film?
M.B.: The essence has something of me there, but I don’t know. For me, it’s torture in fact to see my image on film. Sometimes I would say, “Well, how is this?” and I would turn my head around.
WWD: What did you like about working with Michael?
M.B.: Well, I know Michael. It’s not even working. We did have fun until we started to be pressured by certain distributions and things. I don’t like all this business of film people and things like that. I’m not mad about it but I did it, so it’s finished. Goodbye. Never again. Nevaaahhh-again. No.
WWD: Why did you want to be here tonight?
M.B.: We’re dear friends for 47 years or more, half a century almost.
WWD: How do you define their artistry?
M.B.: Michael is a total Renaissance boy simply because he does everything so beautifully. That’s the reason I did the film and I came.
WWD: What’s next?
M.B.: Oh don’t talk to me about what’s next. I have too many exhibits “Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes.” I’m going to be in Madrid Nov. 27 for the opening. I did one in Prague. It was incredible. The first week there were crowds and I don’t even sell in the country. I was very welcomed there. It was my father’s country, and my father couldn’t go to this country because of the Iron Curtain until the Prague Spring. You can imagine how many years. He was dying to go and he couldn’t. We never talked about Prague.
WWD: Did you enjoy Prague?
M.B.: It was two weeks ago. I was very welcomed there by the wife of the prime minister who had a tree planting in the zoological…the botanical gardens. I should have been in the psychological garden instead of the botanical garden [laughs] with language like that. In a rainstorm, this lady planted a huuuge tree and then we went to the palace to see the first lady – drenched! This wonderful diplomat’s wife took his shoes off. This was the most beautiful thing in the world. We asked, “What are you doing?” And she said, “Well, I used to live here after all.” Because all the diplomats live there [in the palace.] This summer the Hermitage Museum was incredible, too. We had queues of 200,000. But in Russia, we sell. Russia is totally like New York, St. Petersburg is at least. There are all these fashionable people in the streets. People stop you and talk to you. It’s very nice….I will be working again with that wonderful girl Grace Wales Bonner. She does men’s wear. She’s 25 but she excites me.
WWD: What haven’t you done that you want to do?
M.B.: So many things that I don’t have time to tell you. Eventually, when I am a little bit older I want to take a chisel and start to do sculptures. I haven’t got time but I will. I don’t know when because I haven’t got many years left, but who cares.