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In 1968, when he was just 21 years old, Blahnik moved to London and began working at the Zapata fashion boutique. He then worked briefly as a photographer for The Sunday Times newspaper as well as a writer for the Italian edition of the leading fashion magazine Vogue and, in the early 1970s, became a jeans buyer for the Feathers boutique.

But it wasn't until 1970 that things really got interesting: That's when he was introduced to Diana Vreeland—then editor in chief of American Vogue—who encouraged him to pursue shoe design. The following year he began designing shoes for Zapata, and in 1972 he designed his first collection: It featured innovative designs such as the “Cherry Shoe” (a stiletto heel with imitation cherries dangling from green straps that tied around the ankle). The collection was modeled to critical acclaim by some of the era's top models, including Twiggy, and gained the attention of the fashion elite.