Meet the king of heels

Renowned designer Manolo Blahnik on his own shopping secrets

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Footwear designer Manolo Blahnik talks to Time Out about his shopping secrets ahead of his new season launch.

Manolo Blahnik has the ability to make women go weak at the knees with the mere thought of owning a pair of his much-coveted designer shoes. But where does the man himself like to spend his money? And where does he find bargains? Here, the 70-year-old designer, whose autumn/winter 2013 collection is now available at his store in The Dubai Mall, shares his shopping habits.

What do you spend your cash on?
My biggest extravagances are books and DVDs/Blu-rays. I am an absolute fanatic of old and silent films.

What do you scrimp on?
I try not to scrimp on anything as I believe in buying less, but good quality. It will last you a lot longer than buying loads of cheap things.

Which is the most stylish decade?
The 1960s-70s. I really liked that time. Everything seemed so exotic then. You can see London exactly like that in the movie Performance (1970).

Who do you consider really stylish or beautiful these days?
Kate Moss, Amanda Harlech and Lucy Birley.

What is the best shop in the world?
Most of my favourite shops are gone now. I used to go to HMV a lot to buy films, but that has closed now and I am quite sad about it. I also like Paul Smith. Liberty is good for unusual items and Harrods is good for finding anything. And groceries.

What is good and bad about shopping in your favourite city?
The service is very good in London. You rarely see service like it. The bad thing is often the crowds when you try to go shopping. Also, there are a lot of great bookshops in London.

Of all the places you’ve visited, where would you say marks the best shopping experience?
I really like San Francisco. It is old- fashioned and people are polite. It has a great choice of everything. I especially love the shop selling films and DVDs called Amoeba Music.

What piece of clothing have you had the most wear out of?
My Anderson & Sheppard suits from a shop in London. I have many – one of them I’ve had for 45 years.

Biggest mistake purchase?
I recently bought a gourmet can of anchovies in a fancy shop and when I got home I noticed they were rotten and spoiled. And on top of that I paid around Dhs40 for it!

Where do you shop for shoes?
I have shoes made for me in my factories.

Where do you hunt for bargains?
I never find bargains, but recently I bought a beautiful bedspread from Zara Home, which was quite inexpensive.

Best beauty tip?
After showering in the morning, dust your whole body with lavender talcum powder. It will keep you fresh all day!
Manolo Blahnik, The Dubai Mall (04 339 8122).


Quirky shoes for men

Guiseppe Zanotti
The Italian shoe giant designs unique high-top sneakers for men with chunky chain and metal bar detailing.
Level Shoe District, The Dubai Mall (04 439 0409).

The Cobbler
This DIFC shoe emporium now has a bespoke service, where you can personalise your own slippers.
DIFC (04 386 3490).

Del Toro
The Miami label designs smoking slippers with Arabic flair including a pair featuring a motif of Dubai’s iconic skyline.
Level Shoe District, The Dubai Mall (04 501 6690).

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