Born to a Czech father and a Spanish mother and born and raised in the Canary Islands (Spain), Blahnik graduated from the University of Geneva in 1965 and studied art in Paris. He moved to London in 1968 to work at fashion boutique "Zapata" and write for Vogue Italia. After showing his portfolio of fashions and set designs to Diana Vreeland, she told him that he should design only footwear. In 1972, Ossie Clark invited him to create shoes for his runway show. With a loan of £2,000, Blahnik bought Zapata from its owner and opened his own boutique.
Way back in the 1970s, when chunky platform shoes and boots were the mainstream footwear styling of the day, Manolo Blahnik turned back his attention to the stiletto heel, which has remained the brand's mainstay to this day. Manolo Blahnik shoes have rapidly become a symbol of pure classical style for the 21st century.
Manolo Blahnik's flagship store remains to date in Old Church Street, Chelsea London.
Blahnik's boutiques are located in London, New York, Las Vegas, Dublin, Athens, Madrid, Istanbul, Dubai, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore. Bloomingdales (for which he created his first American collection), Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue carry his line in the United States and newly opened in Dubai Mall.
The staff of the TV show, Angel, asked Manolo Blahnik for permission to use their company name onscreen. The company then provided footwear for the episode and insisted that characters wear the products even if the shoes were not shown on camera. The company was mentioned in the line: Cordelia: [to Eve] "Get out of that chair, and I will feed you those Manolo Blahniks - which are stunning, by the way."
They are referenced multiple times in Duck Dodgers whenever any sort of footwear defect occurs, typically with the grumbled phrase "Cheap counterfeit Manolo Blahniks".