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ELLE talks to Manolo Blahnik

By Emma Sells

Legendary shoesmith Manolo Blahnik was in London yesterday to unveil his latest designs. Not, in fact, a fantastic pair of shoes for us to covet, but the window displays of the May Fair Hotel.

Manolo was tasked by the British Fashion Council to provide illustrations for the upcoming London Fashion Week. Inspired by some of the most iconic women in fashion, he has drawn cartoons of Grace Coddington, Lady Amanda Harlech, Daphne Guinness and more.
His beautiful sketches will adorn the wristbands, passes and paraphernalia handed out to the press during fashion week, but you can get a better look at them by strolling down to Stratton Street. Life-sized cut-outs of the style setters stand are standing in the windows of the May Fair hotel against a blown-up backdrop of Manolo's illustrated world.

We caught up with the man himself to find out what inspired his drawings.

How did you choose which women to illustrate?
I drew these cartoons because they represent the true, English woman. I could have drawn any of the women in the streets of London but these are a few that came to my mind at the time.
How have Daphne Guinness, Grace Coddington and Lady Amanda Harlech inspired you?
Grace Coddington has been inspiring me for decades! Daphne has a wonderful taste which allows her to put anything together. Wherever she goes, you are just drawn to her. Amanda is just totally English without any effort.

Which young women in the industry do you predict will be the inspiration of the future?
The women who don’t follow the trends, the women that are really true to themselves.

Which British designers do you really admire?
Lately, I’ve seen some good pieces from Erdem. However, I miss designers such as Rifat Ozbek, McQueen and Galliano.

As you’re in town will you be going to any of the London shows?
I would love to, but I am going to the factories in Italy to prepare for the new collection.

From tomorrow you can follow all our London Fashion Week coverage as it happens in our catwalk channel, plus follow us on Twitter @ELLEUK

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