|Los Angeles - Lucy Liu wore her favorite black Manolos, so did Hilary Duff and China Chow, while "Mad Men" star January Jones preened in her Blahnik red pumps. They and other Hollywood fans of the fabulous shoe designer gathered on Thursday night, Sept. 25, in Beverly Hills to celebrate Manolo Blahnik's induction to the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style. It's an honor that only eleven other designers have achieved, with the stylish Spaniard joining names like Armani, Versace, Head, Ford, and Ferragamo in having a permanent plaque displayed in the heart of Rodeo Drive.
"I didn't even have a minimum thought that I would have ended up having this great honor," Blahnik exclaimed. The dapper designer sported his signature bow tie and double-breasted suit, and wore a pair of orange suede loafers as he got past his nervousness and greeted the glittery gals that joined in the celebration.
Jennifer Coolidge came to the party with "Sex and the City" director/writer/producer Michael Patrick King; he represented the film and the show that really made Manolo a household name. New York native Sarah Jessica Parker didn't make the party, but Blahnik made sure to give her the credit for making him a worldwide celebrity.
"Miss Parker has been my great fairy godmother because without her I wouldn't have reached these kinds of women. Her and her stylist, which is Patricia Field, are the people who have helped me most in the world," he reflected. "That show has given another dimension to my name, yes, to my work. Because I have reached, with this exposure, people that I wouldn't have dreamt of touching. I mean, I go to places in, I don't know, in some small village in Sardinia or whatever, and they get excited. They say, 'Where can I get your shoes?' So in that respect, it is so unbelievable."
Just about everyone at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style celebration knew exactly where to get his shoes, including Nicky Hilton and her mom Kathy, and actresses Dania Ramirez, Leonor Varela, and Theresa Randle. They all went for Manolo's trademark stilettos, but the designer insists that women everywhere need to remember that he creates footwear for every taste.
"Oh yes, you can look at my stilettos and go, 'No. This is too much,'" Blahnik smiled. "But some people cannot live without that style. And then some people cannot even think to do wear those. And I love flats. Are you kidding? I cannot live without flats. I cannot do a collection without flats. So many people, they say, 'Flats, flats, flats.' My sister, my mother, they cannot live without flats!"
And for those females who might feel that spending $700 to $1000 for a pair of fabulous Manolo Blahnik shoes is beyond their financial means, the designer has a simple suggestion. Don't try to be Carrie Bradshaw, with hundreds of pairs and no money in the bank.
"This is my philosophy," he said with a wry smile. "It's like funny, it's stupid, but maybe it makes sense. I think women should buy one pair, just one pair, and that will last a long time. Invest in that one pair. This is the one thing people can do."