Steppin' out from 'the City'

BY AMANDA R. SHAPIN
For the Daily
Published March 4, 2004

Manolo Blahnik shoes become mainstream with help from HBO and
Sarah Jessica Parker.

Julie Pannuto
This shoe enthusiast rests in shoe paradise, surrounded by Jimmy Choo sandals. (FOREST CASEY/Daily)

Five hundred dollars may seem unreasonable for a pair of shoes,
but due to numerous appearances on the HBO hit show “Sex and
the City,” Manolo Blahniks have grown immensely popular. In
the fashion section of The Washington Post, staff writer Robin
Givhan explains, “Thanks to ‘Sex and the City,’ a
lot of people without the wherewithal to spend $450 on a pair of
impractical shoes now know the name Manolo Blahnik.”

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker has helped to promote the shoes
since season one when she first introduced the audience to her shoe
fetish. Whether Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw was
blowing off steam at the Blahnik store in New York City, was being
robbed at gun point for her shoes on the city streets or was
registering for the shoes when they were stolen at a dinner party,
the name Manolo Blahnik has become synonymous with Parker’s
innovative fashion style, one of the focal points of “Sex and
the City.”

The most popular style is the black Mary Janes, of which
Parker’s character exclaims, “I thought those were a
shoe urban myth.” Luckily, they aren’t a myth, and for
only $485 you can have your own pair.

Not only have Manolo Blahniks shaped aspects of “Sex and
the City” but in turn Parker has had a big impact on the
shoes. Blahnik has even created “the SJP,” a stiletto
to honor Parker. As far as Parker’s personal style goes, she
told Time Magazine, “I am guilty of purchasing many more
(Manolos) than Carrie. Nothing can compete with the embarrassing
amount of money I spend on shoes.” Considering that
Parker’s character once mentioned she owned more than 40
pairs of Blahniks, that is quite a collection.

Even though “Sex and the City” has bid its final
farewell after six years, the shoes will march on. To many, it may
be debatable whether the shoes are worth so much money.

LSA freshman Julia Kraft says, “I love ‘Sex and the
City’ and I love shoes and wish I could afford Manolo
Blahniks but for now they are way out of my price range. Eventually
I hope to own a pair though.” Kraft is not alone in her love
for the shoes and her lack of funds.

Since they have become so popular, it seems many would buy them
for the brand name and not necessarily the shoe because it is
possible to find good imitations. However, the shoes are
beautifully crafted with tremendous detail and creativity. At the
store, you can find anything from traditional pumps to beach
sandals to jeweled heels. Many fans of “Sex and the
City” have lusted after these shoes, and if they are good
enough for Sarah Jessica Parker many admirers are likely to
follow.

While a few students at the University have been spotted with
Manolos, the frigid Michigan weather usually keeps them hidden. LSA
freshman Nhu Tround owns five pairs, all given to her as gifts from
her brother and other family members. When asked if she would have
purchased them herself, had they not been gifts, Tround answered,
“I think I would; it is not like you are buying shoes, but
rather a piece of art work.” Tround also remarked on how
comfortable the shoes are. “If you only invest 50 or 60
dollars in a pair of shoes, you are not spending a lot and they
will probably be uncomfortable, but Manolo’s have a very
comfortable arch.”

If you are looking to purchase a pair of your own Manolo Blahnik
beauties, there are a few places to go. There is an intimate
boutique in New York City and another in London. Other than that,
upscale department stores carry select styles. If you are bargain
hunting, eBay is a good place to search although they still tend to
cost more than $300. The most inexpensive style of Blahniks are the
thong sandals, which come in a variety of colors for about $350.
However, if you are looking to go all out, most shoes are priced at
around $445.

Regardless of which style you are interested in, your best bet
is to take a trip to the actual store. Not only is there a huge
selection of styles and sizes, there is a helpful and friendly
staff to assist you.