Manolo Blahnik Celebrated His New Store With Cabaret at the Carlyle

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It’s been a while since Manhattan has seen anything, well, new, but with restrictions lifting, a new crop of eateries, gallery shows, and shopping destinations have emerged, and with them, a renewed sense of optimism in the Big Apple. It was palpable Tuesday night on Madison Avenue, where hopeful shoppers craned their necks to get a first look at the new Manolo Blahnik boutique, which opens its doors this Saturday.

With its set of vintage Venini Tronchi glass chandeliers and blue lacquered walls adorned with charming shoe designs, the boutique is a glistening new addition to the retail landscape and the largest in the brand’s 50-year history. For those in the know, it will also serve as a clubhouse of sorts thanks to a quaint three-seat bar positioned in the back of the space. “Our boutiques have always had a calm, salon-esque feeling about them, and I encourage our clients to relax and have fun—this is how I started out!” Blahnik told Vogue. “The first store I opened in Chelsea became the hangout for me and my friends, and I want this social feeling to continue. We added the bar simply for this reason, for clients to congregate, to chat and mingle.”

The occasion was celebrated just a few blocks away at The Carlyle hotel’s Café Carlyle, where Isaac Mizrahi—sporting a pair of custom suede boots designed by Blahnik circa 1987 and a diamond ankle—hosted an unforgettable cabaret performance. With his signature razzle-dazzle, he delighted the room, both virtual and in-person, that included the legendary Mr. Blahnik himself, who tuned in from his home in the Canary Islands, along with his niece, CEO Kristina Blahnik in London. “It’s past midnight here, but what an opportunity to put on my glad rags and my favorite Manolos, and dance around my house,” she told viewers as she enjoyed a splash of Champagne. “I couldn’t think of a more divine performer to herald the celebration of our homecoming.” 

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And with that, Mizrahi took the stage, telling the crowd, “Manolo’s opening a shop. Strap on your high heels; let’s go!” Those tuning in from New York City—Veronica Webb, Casey Fremont, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, and Sarah Hoover all hosted viewing parties at their respective homes—were treated to a hamper full of decadent Italian fare, courtesy of Carbone, along with a repertoire of Mizrahi-led show tunes, many of which included some new, more shoe-centric lyrics. “Such a pretty heel, such a pretty strap, such a pretty vamp, such a pretty toe!” he quipped in a rendition of “I Feel Pretty.” He later welcomed surprise guest Sandra Bernhard for a duet of Barbara Streisand’s “Happy Days Are Here Again” and Judy Garland’s “Get Happy” that seemed to encapsulate this new era emerging in New York. “We’ve stripped away all of the artifices, and the phonies have left town in droves, so that’s good news,” Bernhard mused to us following the show. “I think we’re closer than ever to how the city felt in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s.” 

According to the shoe whisperer, Blahnik himself, this should also bring a new wave of higher heels. “People have been in slippers for too long. I think everyone is bored of it,” he told us. “Everyone wants fun and glamour; heels make you feel different, move differently, and make you feel empowered.” 

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