August 11, 2016
By Candace Longfellow
HOW TO SPOT REAL MANOLO BLAHNIK SHOES
Though the brand was established in the 1970s, it’s easy to think of Manolo Blahnik as a part of fashion’s old guard. There hasn’t been a parade of creative directors rotating in and out every two or three years, but rather it’s Blahnik himself that sketches new designs and brings them to life season after season. The hands-on designer still personally carves the wooden form for every shoe he designs, ensuring the highest quality, which even the cleverest counterfeiters just can’t replicate. To help us separate real from faux, we’ve enlisted our resident expert, Senior Director of Authentication Graham Wetzbarger, to take us through his process. “When it comes to Manolo Blahnik,” he says, “there’s no date codes or serial number that you can look to as with Louis Vuitton or Chanel. We have to rely on the quality of the construction and the materials, the quality of the interior label and the exterior brand stamps. Nothing should look sloppy or unfinished. Manolo Blahnik takes the utmost care in their work.” Read on for more tips on how to spot real Manolos.
Manolo Blahnik Materials
“When we examine a Manolo pump, we expect to see the most exquisite materials, whether it be velvet, leather or exotics,” says Wetzbarger. “We feel the heel and the shank to make sure it’s very strong and sturdy. They’re very expensive components in shoemaking and a cheap counterfeit is not going to use such high quality materials.”
Manolo Blahnik Interior Label
“The white and black Manolo Blahnik fabric label will be found at the instep of the insole on every shoe,” explains Wetzbarger. “The leather inner will usually be laid on top of the label and stitched all the way around, though on some flats the fabric label is sewn on top of the liner. No matter what, the color of the thread should match the color of the leather inner.” On the early versions of the Carolyne, the ‘Manolo’ is blue and ‘Blahnik’ is in black. “Some people will see that and think the shoe is counterfeit,” says Wetzbarger, “but it’s just a sign the shoe is older. However, this two-tone logo should not appear on other Manolo styles, just the Carolyne.”
Manolo Blahnik Outsole Stamp
“The outsole is a beige-colored leather which will be stamped ‘MANOLO BLAHNIK’ in all-caps, and depending on the material, most Manolos will also have ‘VERO CUOIO’ stamped on the outsole, which is an Italian leather guild. Only if the leather used comes from that particular guild will the outsole have that stamp, so that’s not a clear sign of authenticity. They should, however, be stamped “hand made in Italy,” unless they are espadrilles, which are made in Spain, like Christian Louboutin’s.”
Authenticating the Manolo Blahnik Hangisi
Sex and the City’s fab four spent six seasons name-checking Manolo Blahnik, so it came as no surprise when Mr. Big proposed to Carrie not with a ring, but with the opulent Hangisi pump. The franchise helped make Manolos a household name, and when the first film was released, fans went wild for the blue satin pump now often referred to as “the Sex and the City shoe.” The Hangisi became so coveted that it’s now the most commonly counterfeited Blahnik, closely followed by the BB and the Carolyne, but the trained eye can always spot an imposter. “The brooch is made from Swarovski crystals and is bound to a satin backing, sewn in place with monofilament,” explains Wetzbarger. “If you see the ornament glued onto the satin, or if you see it attached with metal brads, that would be a sign it is inauthentic.”
Ready to upgrade your shoe closet with a legend? Shop our selection of authentic Manolo Blahnik shoes here.