Born in 1943 in the Canary Islands to a Spanish mother and Czech father and raised on a banana plantation, he moved to Paris in 1968 to become a set designer
A chance introduction to Diana Vreeland, then editor-in-chief of American Vogue, set him off on shoes design
His first collection was designed for Ossie Clark in 1972, one of his friends - as were Paloma Picasso, David Hockney and Eric Boman
In 1973, he opened Zapata, a boutique on Old Church Street in London which was regularly frequented by Bianca Jagger.
Bianca wore Manolo Blahniks to make her famous Studio 54 entrance on a white horse in 1977
Manolo Blahnik inspires huge loyalty and devotion and was named Accessory Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council in 1990 and in 1999. He also has honorary doctorates from the Royal London College of Art and the Royal Society of Arts of Britain.