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The Walpole Power List

The Heroes: Kristina Blahnik, CEO, Manolo Blahnik

We begin 2021 with a focus on the Heroes of British luxury: the inspiring individuals who are steering their organisations through the crisis, and who supported the wider community, front-line workers and the NHS during the early stages of the pandemic. Our first profile of the year features the visionary Kristina Blahnik - CEO of family firm Manolo Blahnik - who introduced the House's Smile campaign during 2020: an initiative intended to spread positivity and much-needed enjoyment during times of isolation, and created in support of Manolo Blahnik's partnership with the Mental Health Foundation.
4th Jan 2021
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The Walpole Power List  The Heroes: Kristina Blahnik, CEO, Manolo Blahnik

Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik Limited, is both a businesswoman and a creative, a rare fusion who has steered the family run business forward since joining in 2003. With a wealth of experience as a chartered architect, Blahnik has an exceptional eye for detail which is why, unlike many CEO’s, she plays a pivotal role in the creative process and development of each collection. Alongside her uncle Manolo Blahnik, she visits the factories in Milan and with an inherent understanding of proportion, structure and detailing – she helps make the vision become a reality. Understanding the core foundations of the brand and with a long-term goal in mind, Blahnik can nurture the values and the philosophy; ultimately cementing the future.

What does it mean to you to be named a Walpole Power List winner?

I am completely overjoyed; it feels very unexpected! 2020 was certainly a challenge so to win this accolade is a true honour.

Why do you think you were named on the List this year?

I have made every effort to steer our teams through these difficult times with a dynamic, agile and positive mindset. What we have achieved is nothing short of outstanding and I could not be prouder of the Manolo Blahnik family – I am sharing this award with them!

A real high for me was launching our Smile initiative: The Art of Colouring (more information below). Drawing and sketching is an activity close to Manolo’s, mine and our House’s heart and one which we believe can bring a sense of calmness when we all needed it most. It was incredible to be able to provide a sense of escapism to both our internal and external community.

The Art of Colouring

"We hope our Smile initiative spreads positivity and much needed enjoyment during this time of isolation. Drawing is an activity close to Manolo’s heart and to the house and one we believe can bring a sense of calm and encourage mindfulness.

"A selection of Manolo’s original sketches stripped back to outlines have been designed to be coloured in at home. Below in the gallery are twenty sketches available to download and we invite you to share your creation on Instagram using #ManoloBlahnikSmiles so we may share it with the community.

"The initiative is made in support of our partnership with the Mental Health Foundation which has provided an incredible resource for looking after mental health with management tips, working methods, acts of kindness and more which can be found here."