From Spindly To Orthopaedic

Blahnik meets Birkenstock

From this to that: Manolo Blahnik ‘Hangisi’ pumps and Manolo Blahnik X Birkenstock Boston clog

When it comes to footwear, the fashion-mad Carrie Bradshaw is rather a traditionalist. She wears court shoes with spiked heels. One that is synonymous with her—and her obsession with expensive footwear—is the pair of blue satin Manolo Blahnik ‘Hangisi’ pumps, with the sexy 11-cm heel and the blinked-out crystal buckle evocative of a fancy belt clasp. It first appeared in Sex and the City, the 2008 film (not the TV series that preceded it), in which Mr Big, circumscribed by a walk-in wardrobe, proposed to Carrie Bradshaw, not with a ring on which a massive stone sits, but a pair of high heels, with a crystal buckle. That shoe would have millions of women around the world yearn—deeply and desperately—for a similarly romantic, on bended-knee proposal. The blue ‘Hangisi’ pumps’ now-iconic status would be further enhanced when they returned in the SATC sequel, And Just Like That. Mr Big and Carrie Bradshaw are married—happily it appears—and the Hangisi is the shoe that keeps them together.

Carrie Bradshaw’s love of the shoe is key to the Hangisi’s staggering success, according to the designer Manolo Blahnik, who told Footwear News recently that “it just goes on and on”. By that, Mr Blahnik was saying that that one shoe has enjoyed many spinoffs: there are Hangisi booties, mules, slingbacks, flats, d’Orsays (pumps with inside half of both sides cut away), and believe it or not, belts (to match the shoes?)! And all in that blue Carrie Bradshaw adores too. There are, of course, other colours and fabrics—not just satin—but despite the chromatic and textural variations, there is a certain uniformity about them. Every Hangisi footwear (and that belt) is delicate prettiness through and through.

But now there’s a deviant iteration. Manolo Blahnik has collaborated with Birkenstock, the 248-year-old German sandal brand that was snapped up by Bernard Arnaud last year through the LVMH-associated private equity firm L Catterton. And one of the Birkenstocks given a foxy Hangisi makeover is the Boston—the flat, round-toed mules that would delight your podiatrist. A complete opposite to the typical Blahnik heel, this collaborative output proves once again that high and low do meet, even if it is not clear on which rung of the fashion ladder it sits. Birkenstock describes the Boston as one that “represents pure comfort”. It says nothing about style. Perhaps, this is where Manolo Blahnik comes in, although a clunky crystal buckle hardly changes the clog’s geeky profile. It is hard to imagine Carrie Bradshaw obsessing over it.

Manolo Blahnik X Birkenstock with be available at on 24 March 2022. Illustration: Just So