Manolo Blahnik can’t put a foot wrong with Dubai girls
When Mr Big handed over a rhinestone-encrusted blue Manolo Blahnik shoe rather than a proposal ring and uttered the words: “Carrie Bradshaw, the love of my life, will you marry me?”, female hearts around the world swooned.
And gals in Dubai grabbed the credit card and rushed on down to Dubai Mall.
Four years after Big made an honest woman of the famous Sex and the City singleton, the blue Hangisi stiletto is still the number one seller at Manolo Blahnik’s flagship Middle Eastern store at the Downtown Dubai shopping centre.
Regional director Samara Punjabi shifts 800 pairs a year of the Dhs3,650 slip-on heel. She says: “It’s very glamorous, it’s very Dubai. We have a waiting list.”
It’s often said that if a man’s best friend is his dog, then a women’s best friends are her shoes. That’s something Punjabi “definitely” agrees with.
“More so in Dubai, because not many people walk here much,” she says.
“Manolo Blahnik is the perfect ‘car to bar’ shoe,” she adds. “It’s a no-brainer, it does really well here.”
So well in fact, that on three separate occasions Punjabi has had mothers come directly from the hospital to Manolo Blahnik to get their newborn babes kitted out in a customised pair.
Heels or flats, I ask? “Flats!” she laughs, “Come on, they can’t even walk!
“Really cute ones with bows and ribbons,” gushes the pregnant mother of one 15-month-old child.
Every pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes is handmade.
“He loves what he does and it shows through his work,” says the Parsons art school graduate about the gifted 69-year-old Spanish shoemaker.
“He’s passionate, an artist, a true craftsmen - so bubbly and energetic.”
Punjabi’s most loyal customer once came in and bought 12 pairs in one go – a shopping spree which catapulted around Dhs40,000 from her bank account.
“And she keeps coming back,” smiles the regional director, who oversaw the opening of a Manolo Blahnik store in Abu Dhabi at the end of last month.
Another well-heeled woman even went as far as requesting gold-plated buckles on her customised Manolos. Whether that would’ve cost five, six or even seven figures – we’ll never know.
“No idea,” Punjabi smiles, “ridiculously expensive.”
She adds: “We also had an inquiry for a diamond on top but it didn’t happen.”
One of Punjabi’s biggest thrills is seeing a young teenager who’s saved up all her pocket money in order to bag her first ever pair of heels.
“Oh, it’s great,” she says.
Punjabi, who admits to owning “around 150” pairs of shoes herself, always has some sound advice to any daring male brave enough to venture into the female sanctuary of Manolo Blahnik and, gulp, try and pull-off the purchase of a flash pair for his spouse.
“Whenever we have guy customers we say please keep the receipt. Always - please keep the receipt!” she stresses. Wise words indeed, boys.