Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Than Shoes

What inspires you?

One of my 'every-time and good' readers recently asked me, so often: ''Nihal, cool! So informative. Your posts are always a great inspiration. Where do you get inspiration to write so many different things? Awesome!''

First of all, I am really pleased to see that I have an uplifting effect on some of you:)

To what is right that I always believe it comes firstly inside of 'me'. Of course, skill and will should come together, however 'will' has to be stronger more than your skill. Then, I 'see' things differently than other people. Maybe it's the secret of my artwork(=my writing work). As far as inspiration, it's my nature that I cannot stay fixed only on one thing because of my obvious love of life.

So I just focus on what fascinates me, my mood or whatever. Therefore it's so varied my page:) More than it, if you think where I come from, even the City Istanbul I live in by itself is enough ''good'' reason to get inspired by:)

The era about architecture history,
fantastic mosaics inside,
symbol of tolerance and harmony:

Sunlight dapples the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Istanbul, being a city full of unexpected moments, is a place that you never discover fully. You smell the legacies of the past like St Sophia -see above-, of the different cultures coexisting. Importanly, it feels like it once it was the center of the world in some respects, because of the vast Ottoman Empire. It gives you a feeling it has this decaying grandeur but still has remnants of the past in every corner of the City.

Taking an example, you would be inspired by the original Harem of the 15th century Ottoman sultans, where foreign-born women shared their cultural wisdoms. Harem communities offered women the possibility of power -in the imperial harem, they offered the greatest power available to women in Turkey. These women had the sultan's ear, they were the mothers of sultans. Several harem women shadow-ran the Ottoman Empire, while others co-ruled.

For me, it's full of so many layers, and you can be in so many places at the same time in Istanbul. A place it always surprises you, because you can be in the most European neighborhood, and you can even see a lady washing her carpets like she would in Anatolia in eastern Turkey. There is a weird sort of bridge between provincial life and metropolitan city here. As I always say that Turkey is a country both European and non-European. One thing is about the water, ohh... the best of blue is IstanBlue, if you ask me:) The fact that the water makes the City look very open, and it lightens up like a sun. Being so close to the water, the beauty of the Bosphorus with boats passing by like a never-ending dream...

So, it is a City that most of it has got a western feel. One minute you feel like you're in Paris, the next in Prague. At times it has kind of looks like Moscow, then a bit like Barcelona, then Venice, a little Italy:) I definitely think Istanbul is such a real good mixture, and the most vibrant city:)

From paintings to sculptures, from architecture to music, in many different realms -whoever is s/he-, most is easily inspired by Istanbul, the intriguing city with its distinctive blend of opposites.

Right now I have a question for you:

What does the unique architecture of Istanbul, Marimekko fabrics and one of the most famous designers of our time have in common?

Any guess? I cannot wait for your answer;)

The answer: ''a pair of shoes''

Not only I find Istanbul quite interesting and quite genuine, but Manolo Blahnik also feels the same about it, like many others over the world:) And his resistance began wearing down upon his arrival to Istanbul;)

One of the greatest shoe designers of our time, now universally known as Manolo's, Blahnik produces some of the finest, sexiest footwear in the world to die for, and his shoes are coveted by long list of famous clientele from Hollywood celebrities like Diana Ross, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and many more to royalty! Blahnik says that ''Shoes help transform a woman.''

RĂ©nee Zellweger and Blahnik

Born in 1943 in the Canary Islands to a Spanish mother and Czech father, Manolo raised in a banana plantation. Studied architecture and literature at the University of Geneva but abandoned his studies, and his true destiny was reached when he decided to move to Paris in 1968. Worked as a photographer for the Sunday Times, and immediately fell into the fashion set, making friends with like Paloma Picasso. Began his extraordinary career in the seventies, and beautifully crafted designs which are synonymous with high glamour and full sex-appeal. So he become as famous as the women wear them. Here is one of Blahnik's peculiar sculture-like structures, I LOVED very much. Fantastic!!!

What do you think? Aren't they like jewelry for the feet?!

A wilder Manolo highlights several strategic parts of the foot when designing. ''I had ankles in mind'' says Blahnik. ''So there are a lot of shoes that focus on them.. and backs'' he adds. He paints his designs with a Japanese paint brush before carving them in wood. Once the shoe has taken shape, the wooden model is cast in aluminum that is then used as a mold for the production of the new design. Find here this famed shoe designer's biography from London's Design Museum as well as the illustrations and more sketches from himself. A few of Blahnik's shoe sketchs:

''I wanted the shoes to look as good from the back as they do from the front.'' he says. The result is a collection based on minuscule details that could easily go unnoticed -until one realizes that in fact, it is them that make ankles slimmer, legs longer, and backs a lot sexier.

His Spring/Summer 2008 Women's Collection focuses heavily on these, and the back of the foot. This includes his Spring & Summer 2008 Collection-Istanbul architecture inspired designs, created all of the pairs after his recent trip to Istanbul, related news.

The ceiling figure, Madonna, and windows
-Hagia Sophia-

He says that he was exposed to all its wonderful architecture in Istanbul, used the curves on windows of the Hagia Sophia Mosque/Museum -see above-, which has the unique distinction of being both a mosque and a church in its lifetime, as a starting point of his collection.

Fresh from the wonders of Istanbul, Manolo paid a trip to Bath in Southern England ''and came across some really fantastic Marimekko prints'' says Blahnik. An unusual collaboration between Finnish designer Marimekko and stiletto King Blahnik has produced a collection for Spring/Summer 2008, and Blahnik says ''The two just happened to fall perfectly into place - bizarre as that combination may sound.'' He gave Turkish names for each one of those shoes in his Collection, for example Bogazici (English: Bosphorus), Hande (a Turkish woman name), Kucuk, Sedir, Koyu etc...-see below. Blahnik's shoes are in sale at Harvey Nichols Istanbul, fashion lovers can also find there world-famous labels such as Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs, Fendi. Here are a few shoes from his Spring & Summer 2008 Collection:

Going crazy ever by his shoes all of mylife that I
am, here's another reason to drive me crazy this season, again Manolo, and Big THANKS Manolo:) This foot candy Turkish Delight for Spring & Summer 2008 is one of Blahnik's favorite themes, and if you are interested to take a closer look at this season's creations as anything connected with Istanbul, visit now Manolo's collection. Another two models from his Collection, called Bosphorus (Turkish: Bogazici):

As you see, Manolo likes thing personal. When analysing his shoes, I see that he likes to approve every shoes that is designed.

Isn't it clear that a man who gives his much love to his art? Every detail is given special attention. Additionally, what Manolo does he does with Love and True Dedication. Perhaps that explains the price tag on a pair of his shoes: Is there any kind of shoe truly worth $500? As quality and attention rarely come cheap if it's Manolo's, and the difference in his affluent workmanship is worth to pay:)

The Man Behind the Shoes, Blahnik still sketches and is still at the top of his game creating beautiful shoes with extreme attention to detail, that any woman could relate to.

I think that every women should have a pair of sexy shoes (preferably a pair of Manolo Blahnik's Istanbul creations!:) for the times they really want to create that ''look-at-me, I-am-here!'' effect:) or to really dress up a mini dress:) Choice is yours;)

As for myself, I am profondly influenced by his work, and I can start up my own shoe business soon;)


  1. lovely post Nihal..i think i wont be able to eat or feed the kids a long time if i ever bought one of those manolo shoes, they cost a bomb dont they? and you want to open a shoes shop, really? am sure you can with all those extremeley creative juices you have, happy sunday good friend and big hug to you too:)

  2. celebrating istanbul with a flavor of international fashion... great post, as usual!!!

  3. it is not surprising blahnek is inspired by istanbul and it's magic. many artists have and that new collection looks amazing...
    buying blahnek shoes??? don't think i would ever spent that much money for shoes though not questioning if i could walk on those heels!
    starting you own shoe shop, nihal??
    tell me all about it :)

    wishing you a great week and sending hugs to you across the bosperus! ;))

  4. @ Kate: Buying may change depending on price. Let me say that I'm not 'very rich' to pay a lot for pairs of shoes, but I always pay for quality and lasting longer products in mylife 'without tears':)

    @ Indierocker: The importance of Istanbul getting such an honor by having your 'precious' comments. THANKS for simply being there:)

    @ Marita: Delightful comments and nice wishes again from you:) Yes, my agenda is busy nowadays, I'm into new exciting initiatives... I'll be sending you e-mail. XOXO

  5. Beautiful shoes; I love shoes too. Come to my house in the roses and participate on our "Dessert Carnival".... just send your photograph of your favorite dessert... it's going to be fun!


  6. beautiful Nihal, i am back here again becos i want to give you 2 awards, an E for your excellent blog and a cute bear (supposed to be sparkling..but i cd not load it well or copy it correctly or dont know how to) so it didnt sparkle in my blog, certainly did from my blogger friend's blog who gave it to me from argentina!! take the bear as a virtual bear hug fm me to you. sorry didnt do the link in my blog coz wanted to give everyone and its a long one, plus very busy and will be away for the weekend too :)

  7. @ Cielo: My mission about the participation just completed, you know:) I think it will be in fun and exciting. See you there at your House in the Roses as scheduled next week.

    @ Kate: The pleasure of reading your comments each day is one of my absolute favorite parts of this writing stuff. Having awards from you, ....You made my day! THANKS from the heart for your comments and for spreading the word!

  8. Thanks for the beautiful collection..I will get marry next month and those silver stuff sandal are perfect match for my wedding dress. Nice post :-)

  9. @ Alonna: Welcome to my journal:) Oh very good news indeed! From now on let me wish that I'm very happy that you both plan to honour both your private positions, and may you always be as happy as you are on your wedding day, Alonna:) Be the Fountain of happiness.
    As for the shoes, yes, silver sandal from Blahnik is magnificent! It really matches perfectly a pair of those sandals on a special day like a wedding:)
    Lots of love, and come again to visit me when you can.

  10. hi guys ... I was very pleased to read the information in this article ... was of great interest and would love to get a lot more information about More Than Shoes