It all started with J. Crew’s fabulous Fall 2012 collection, the presentation made memorable by the addition of sweet Manolo stilettos in J. Crew exclusive colors and fabrics. (Cue infinite blogger buzz.) In February, post New York Fashion Week, J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons announced the collaboration of dreams, only to be met with a shocking response from Blahnik himself. “I was recently contacted by J Crew to do something with them, so I sent them over 45 pairs of shoes, and they announced we were doing a collaboration. I had no idea about it," the designer told British Vogue. In a quick recovery, Lyons, and undoubtedly the entire public relations crew, reconciled the misunderstanding stating to The Daily, “We are in a good place with [Manolo Blahnik] now. Everything's okay.” It was decided—41 styles priced from $595 to $645, slated to debut this fall. (Cue additional blogger buzz.)
Whew! Okay, so we can count on consumer-conscious designs for the masses...or so we thought. Reports and statements from both beloved brands confirm the joint collection, which would have been Manolo’s first with a large retailer, is a no-go. The disappointing decision was credited to “wholesale production restraints” (read: it would be impossible to supply the necessary amount of merch to J.Crew in time) for the luxury brand.
“We were looking forward to the potential collaboration between our two brands, we both came to the conclusion that fall wasn’t the right time,” Manolo Blahnik’s president George Malkemus told Fashionista.com. “We hope to do something together in the future.” Rest assured, there’s no bad blood between the two. A Manolo rep called the J. Crew team “a joy to work with” and Lyons confirms likewise adding, “We have a mutual admiration for each other and while we couldn’t do this for fall, we hope to collaborate in the future.”
In an attempt to justify the unfortunate turn of events, we uncovered this eerie foreshadowing via a Wall Street Journal interview with Blahnik in January. “I find the idea of the super rich quite disgusting. I recently turned down a lot of money to create a mass-market type product. I don't want to make that sort of money if I am polluting my brand,” he told WSJ’s Tina Gaudoin. While we’re not ones to cling to false hopes, all this mention of “future” between both parties (plus the surrounding mega-hype) has us hopeful for a Blahnik change of heart and anticipating a sell-out collection down the line.