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Manolo Blahnik’s Outstanding Achievement Award

By Tamsin Crimmens

Many congratulations to Manolo Blahnik – the originator, and one of the finest exponents of the statement shoe – who will win the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards on Tuesday November 27th, it has just been announced.

The well-deserved award is in recognition of the Spanish designer’s astonishing four-decade career in fashion.

He’ll be able to add the award to a shelf which already contains his British Fashion Awards Accessory Designer of the Year three times in 1990, 1999 and 2003.

Ever since 1973, when he opened his first shop in Old Church Street in London’s Chelsea, Manolo has transformed the aesthetic of women’s shoes as well as their status in the fashion world – giving them as much, if not more importance than ready-to-wear.

He became a household name thanks to Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex And The City series, who regularly name-checked his glamorous pumps.

Team ELLE describe exactly why Manolo is such a shoe genius and what which pairs they cherish above all . . .

Lorraine Candy, Editor in Chief - 'I sat next to him at a party given by Donatella Versace and he was the loveliest twinkly eyed man you could meet.

'I wore the highest Manolos I could find and told him how comfortable they were despite the heel. Of course, he said, they are also very practical. Which of course they were not!'

Anne-Marie Curtis, Fashion Director - 'I bought my first pair of Manolos for my 25th birthday; silver strappy sandals. I wore them with a Galliano bias cut dress.

'I've had a fair few pairs since then and am currently in love with my patent Mary Janes but my favourite have to be my wedding shoes, again a silver strappy pair. Manolos are never too try-hard and always have an elegant sexiness and beauty that make you feel and look amazing.'

Rebecca Lowthorpe, Fashion Features Director - 'Manolo is the shoe god. He was the first to bring 'designer' shoes to a level of mainstream consciousness - in a way, everyone working as a shoe designer today treads in his giant footsteps.'

Annabel Brog, Editor at Large - ‘Every time I wear them, people comment on them. Every time. They’re a whole outfit in one shoe’

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