The Mule Manolo Blahnik Created for John Galliano S/S93

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Photography by Tim Elkaïm, Styling by Chloe Grace Press

As the Agatha mule returns, footwear designer Manolo Blahnik recalls heady days creating shoes for John Galliano’s first Paris show

Agatha mule, Manolo Blahnik

100% leather, heel measures 105 mm

Starting two hours late, at 11pm on October 14 1992, in the historical auditorium of Salle Wagram, was John Galliano’s first Paris show. Imagine a half-drowned debutante ball circa 1700s: attendants were shipwrecked aristocracy, their crinolines and jacquard gowns sliced to negligees. Hair was sculpted into alien bouffants, both bedraggled with cobwebs and festooned with lacquered bows and metallic ringlets. “The models love all this stuff and they act like crazy for him,” Bernadine Morris wrote at the time. “They swaggered so... they didn’t notice when their tits were hanging out. They took off their shoes when they felt like it, feigned malaria when called for, asked, ‘Did I bat my eyelashes enough?’ when they played the down-and-out girls still trying to keep up appearances with their fans and pearls.” 

Said shoes were provided by none other than maestro Manolo Blahnik – in glossy satin incarnations, the pointed Agatha mule accentuated the overzealous elegance of Galliano’s collection, a shoe for a heroine such as those to whom Galliano’s shows were always dedicated. “I first met John Galliano not long after he graduated from Saint Martins,” Mr Blahnik tells AnOther in the A/W17 issue. “We both mingled in the same circles and went to the same parties. We started working together for the S/S93 show in October 1992, which was John’s first show in Paris. He has the most innate ability to make anything and everything exquisite; he tells a story throughout his designs that speaks to people, which for me is completely fascinating. That collection was just madness! It was sheer brilliance and a fashion show I will never ever forget.” Named Agatha after the inimitable prowess of author Agatha Christie and her mysterious Miss Marple, these mules bring a much needed moment of fin de siècle glamour back to the present. 

Hair: Yumi Nakada-Dingle at Home Agency using Aveda. Make-up: Fir Wang at Atomo Management using Nars. Models: Franziska Bachoven; Sofia Fanego at Silent Models; Dustin Muchuvitz; and Camille Rochand at Girl Management. Casting: TM Casting. Manicure: Beatrice Eni at ASG Paris. Set design: Sophear at Swan Management. Digital tech: Florian Massal at D-Factory. Photographic assistant: Yves Mourtada. Styling assistant: Grisel Clémence. Hair assistant: Fabio Petri. Set assistant: Céline Corbineau. Production: The Collective Shift. Post-production: D-Factory. Special thanks to Upper East Studio and Codimat

This image originally appeared in Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of AnOther Magazine is on sale now.