Spanish shoe designer Manolo Blahnik suddenly shuttered his only free-standing boutique in the US, a small shop on West 54th St., where the “Sex and the City” protagonist claimed to have had “a religious experience” shopping for stilettos.
This past week, the luxury shop’s windows were covered with brown paper and a sign in the window noted that the boutique was “permanently” shuttered. Inside, store workers packed hundreds of boxes of shoes, which retail between $500 and $1,300 a pair.
“Thanks so much for being such great customers for the past 38 years,” the sign said.
Manolo Blahnik’s exquisitely crafted heels and flats, some embellished with crystals and pearls, shot to international fame after the premiere of HBO’s “Sex and the City” in 1998. Bradshaw, a freelance columnist played by Sarah Jessica Parker, once confessed to spending $40,000 on shoes and created a wedding registry at the store.
The West 54th St. boutique has been a regular fixture on “Sex and the City” bus tours of New York.
In the first “Sex and the City Movie,” Big proposed to Carrie with a pair of Manolos — the bright blue Hangisi pumps, embellished with a crystal buckle. Ten years later, in 2018, the designer launched a 12-piece collection based on that moment in the film. “[Carrie Bradshaw] has had such a role in my career,” Blahnik told British Vogue in 2009.
t’s not immediately clear what prompted the abrupt closure, although Manolos, as they’re known, are still available at high-end stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
In April, Blahnik broke with his longtime financial partners George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, who jointly own the West 54th St. building through a limited liability company, public records show.
Malkemus has been president of Manolo Blahnik USA, the American arm of the British-based company, since 1982, and abruptly ended his partnership with the designer in April. He cited “unacceptable terms” offered by Blahnik’s niece and CEO, Kristina Hulsebus, according to an April press release.
“Ideas have not always been in sync and [the relationship] sort of came to a conclusion,” Malkemus told Women’s Wear Daily in April. Their business agreement ends this December, according to WWD.
A man who answered Makelmus’s cell phone would not answer The Post’s questions Friday. Manolo Blahnik’s CMO Carla Filmer told The Post, “we are looking at new retail opportunities across North America and we look forward to announcing an exciting new standalone location soon.”
Manolos have long been a favorite of celebrities, including Rihanna, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, former First Lady Michelle Obama and women from the “Real Housewives” franchise. Jennifer Aniston wore a pair when she wed Brad Pitt.
Award-winning costume designer Patricia Field, who created the iconic looks on “Sex and the City,” told The Post she was shocked by the store’s closing. “I’m going to miss it,” she said. “It was a great small store experience.”