“Five decades of pure creativity,” said Andrew Wright, president of Manolo Blahnik, proudly. “Manolo is an artist, he’s a creative genius — and I don’t throw that word around lightly.”
It was a message guests took to heart, celebrating the legendary show maker with an intimate high tea at the recently reopened Dowling’s at the Carlyle on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate Blahnik’s 50th anniversary in business.
Sandra Bernhard, Lauren Santo Domingo, Nicky Hilton Rothschild and more snacked on petit sandwiches, gold macaroons and mini scones while mingling and talking about their many Manolo moments.
“After a tumultuous period, it’s so lovely to see all of you in person,” Wright said, as he worked the room of shoe devotees.
In celebration of this milestone, Wright unveiled “Manolo Blahnik: A New Way of Walking,” a digital archive experience. A virtual world themed across five “rooms,” the experience celebrates past and present pivotal moments, with the ability to grow and evolve with the brand in the future. The interactive exhibition reveals, for the first time, the breadth of the house’s archives.
The designer wasn’t able to attend, but as Wright assured the crowd, Blahnik cannot wait to be Stateside soon to continue the celebration.
Of course, there had to be a new shoe collection to mark the occasion — a glistening gold capsule lineup that is quintessentially “Manolo.” The collection is made up of an extensive range of new styles, fused with reimagined classics.
Guests included Lili Buffett, Jordan Roth, Kathryn Gallagher, Veronica Webb, Jihae Kim, Julia Schlaepfer, Erinn Westbrook, Eniko Mahlik and Melodie Monrose who were treated to a surprise performance by Krysta Rodriguez, whom the designer fell in love with when he watched her performance as Liza Minnelli in the Netflix series “Halston.”
Rodriguez kept it light and fun, singing classics like “At Last” and “That’s Life.” She closed by channeling Minnelli with “New York, New York,” to which attendees cheered.
“We may be a small company,” Wright said. “But we are run by a man whose name is literally worth his weight in gold.”