The “Sex and the City” star, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, did more than anyone to put Spanish designer Manuel “Manolo” Blahnik Rodríguez on the map.
Rodriguez’s self-named shoes were regularly featured on the show and Carrie, a self-confessed shoe whore, worshiped them as the ultimate in sexy footwear. But that was then.
The show aired from 1998 until 2004 and was followed by two feature-length films in 2008 and 2010. After that, Manolo Blahnik lost its widely watched showcase and faded to merely blah.
Enter Rihanna. Of course, her injection of “street attitude” is fashion code for African-American rap culture.
With the “Sex and the City” generation pushing 50, the brand is obviously attempting to reach a younger, more urban-influenced audience, even if Rihanna grew up in Barbados, not the streets of New York, L.A or elsewhere.
The brand went public with the relationship in the latest issue of British Vogue. The singer announced she would be collaborating with the “king of heels” himself on his spring/summer 2016 collection.
The collection will hit Manolo stores, May 5, but only in the exclusive warrens of New York, London and Hong Kong. The will be crazy expensive. Prices will start at around $1,200 a pair for her designs.
Rihanna’s signature addition to the collection is a “really exclusive,” thigh-high, stiletto-heeled denim boot called “9 to 5.” It’s garnished with elaborate crystal trim and rise all the way to her waist. They may be the only boots that come with a belt.
“We only made 45 pairs because they’re really expensive to make,” Rihanna told the magazine.
Or maybe it’s because only 45 people in the world who would deign to wear them, and even fewer who would look good in them. They sell for $4,000.
Nonetheless, Rihanna is making major inroads in fashion.
She started modeling for such brands as Dior and Armani jeans. Then she marketed her own perfume. Now she’s crafting her own fashion lines.
In 2013, She debuted her first collection for River Island at London Fashion Week. It was the pop singer’s first foray into high fashion.
Her fashion cred got a huge boost in 2014 when she was featured (for the third time) in Vogue magazine. The fashion bible called her signature style the “Rihanna effect.”
The article noted that she got heaps of praise from big-name designers who admitted drawing inspiration from her varied looks. There’s been no stopping her since.
Last month she showed off her biggest collaboration yet with Puma at New York Fashion Week, Fenty Puma by Rihanna.
Oddly, the collection borrowed heavily from Japanese street style, with a Gothic twist. The autumn-winter collection included a full range of footwear, apparel and accessories for both women and men.
But her Manolo Blahnik collaboration raises the bar on her influence to the pinnacle of high fashion.
While the stuffy brand could use a fresh injection of style, Rihanna flies totally be the seat of her pants. Like Kanye West, her taste tends toward 8th Avenue hooker style.
One thing is certain, her boots are made for walkin’.
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