One of the most iconic staples in the world of designer shoes is the dazzling jewelled buckle on the Manolo Blahnik Hangisi. A product of the iconic designer Manolo Blahnik, these heels first stepped onto the runway in 2008 in his Spring/Summer Collection. With a legacy spanning over 70 years, the luxury shoemaker has demonstrated what it means to create a long-lasting iconic design and has continued to do so with the Hangisis. Since their release, these shoes have been a prominent image throughout media worldwide as a symbol of luxury and opulence.
The prominence of the Hangisi heels is partially thanks to the notoriety of their designer, Manolo Blahnik, within the luxury fashion industry. With humble beginnings, the Spanish-born designer has had a prowess for creating shoes, starting in his early childhood by fashioning heels out of candy wrappers for lizards he found outside his home in the Canary Islands. Manolo was first recognised for his high-fashion footwear in his early twenties when, after moving to Paris to study art, he met heiress Paloma Picasso and then-director of the MET Costume Institute, Diana Vreeland. Both women saw potential in Manolo’s sketches inspired by ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, highlighting the exquisitely designed heels of the female lead. After studying the art of shoemaking from seasoned Craftsmen at the best factories in Italy, Blahnik settled in London and opened his first boutique in Chelsea in 1970.
The following decade saw the artisan travel to New York, where he became the principal shoe designer for the runway, collaborating with some of the greatest names in fashion at the time. Some of the most defining fashion moments in recent times were fitted in Manolo heels, like Bianca Jagger, who sported a pair when she was captured riding a white horse into Studio 54, or when Princess Diana was seen styling Manolo’s black pumps with her infamous ‘revenge dress’. Transcending passing trends of platforms and block heels, Manolo’s dedication to the glamourous stiletto heel made his designs stand out amongst his competition. As a result, the designer has received a CBE honour in recognition of his contribution to British fashion and several awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and British Fashion. This was also around the time that Manolo would introduce the Hangisi heels to the world.
One of the most prominent luxury heels on the market, Manolo designed the Hangisis after being inspired by portraits of Joséphine Bonaparte, in which the Empress was painted wearing buckle-adorned shoes. Manolo then developed the iconic stiletto heel with an almond-shaped toe, on top of which sat a glittering buckle encrusted with 144 Swarovski crystals and faux pearls. The ornate piece is adhered to a satin backing and is then sewn onto the front using a clear single-fibre thread, allowing it to blend seamlessly into the matching satin fabric that covers the shoe. The brand now provides multiple types of shoes with the signature Hangisi buckle, with mules, flats, d’Orsay and boots joining the classic stiletto heel.
In its original release, the Hangisi was available in three colours: pink, green, and black. However, one of the most popular shades reported by retailers is a vibrant royal blue satin. Originally a custom colour created for the Sex in the City film, the blue heels have become a frequent purchase of brides-to-be looking for a chic pop of something blue. This increase in demand quickly led to more variations of the Hangisis as the brand now offers over 100 satin shades and alternative materials, like denim and red gingham. For the heels’ 10thanniversary, an exclusive print was made featuring a map of Manhattan in tribute to the brand’s New York roots.
With each pair of Manolo Blahnik Hangisis being hand-made in Italy, it is no surprise that these shoes are priced at the higher end of the market. The standard satin stiletto typically retails on Manolo Blahnik’s online domain for around $2,055-$2,144, with different styles varying more in price. Whether heel or flat, red or blue, Manolo Blahnik offers a pair of Hangisis for any occasion to add an element of luxury to your everyday.