Britain, Spain Bestow Top Fashion Honors Upon Blahnik

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London—Madonna once said his shoes were “better than sex” (and last longer too).  Carrie Bradshaw (played by actress Sarah Jessica Parker) once begged a robber to take her handbag and jewelry but “not my Manolos” on an episode of “Sex and the City.”

For four decades, Spanish footwear designer Manolo Blahnik has amassed a legion of shoe fans who have elevated his heels to an art form. He’s been credited with creating some 20,000 pairs.

Recently, the 70-year-old designer received accolades from his home country of Spain and his adopted home of Great Britain.

Blahnik, who was born in Spain’s Canary islands,  also received the National Design Award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture along with 30,000 euros in recognition to his contribution to fashion.

“I am very grateful, very happy,” said Blahnik.  “And I want to donate this prize money to the Canary Islands, to a charity of La Palma, my island. At times like this, it seems absurd to keep it.”

Blahnik, whose career began with the opening of his first shop in London in 1973, has also just received the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Award 2012, from the British Fashion Council (BFC).

“It is a great honor to be receiving this award from the British Fashion Council,” said Blahnik, who now lives in Bath, England. “To be recognized for doing something I love is really wonderful.”

The award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion was voted for by a panel of leading internationally acclaimed journalists and retailers to pay tribute to Manolo’s career and contribution to the British and global fashion industry.

Manolo Blahnik has his own shops in Madrid, London, New York and Moscow. His coveted “manolos” are also on sale at select department stores and multi-brand boutiques in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Canada, Latin America and the United States.