Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards

According to this frothy but entertaining documentary, high-end shoe designer Manolo Blahnik began his life’s work as child in the Canary Islands, turning candy wrappers into shoes for the lizards in his family’s garden. The director, fashion journalist Michael Roberts, includes many anecdotes from Blahnik and others in his orbit, but he seems more interested in gushing testimonials from the designer’s famous friends (Anna Wintour, Rihanna, and Naomi Campbell, to name a few) than in his interior life or the details of his craftsmanship. A couple scenes of him sketching designs and sculpting a shoe in one of his factories offer tantalizing glimpses into his creative process, but for the most part Roberts keeps an incurious distance from his subject, who in turn employs wry, self-deprecating humor to deflect attention. When a photographer asks Blahnik to give him a “secret smile,” the designer deadpans, “I don’t have secrets anymore.” But by the film’s end, I felt as if he still had plenty.