With its interesting boutiques and vintage shops coupled with the polished high street stores on George Street, as well as luxury boutique Jane Davidson on Thistle Street, Edinburgh is a fabulous city for shopping. The city is home to what might just be the best designer shopping spot in Scotland: Multrees Walk. It's here that you'll find high end labels such as Louis Vuitton and Mulberry (now housed over two-stories), as well as much-coveted and slightly more accessible labels including Kurt Geiger and Michael Kors. Multrees Walk proudly boasts some of the biggest names in the fashion business, with new additions popping up continuously; Burberry opens soon and Tommy Hilfiger will open this summer in association with Edinburgh International Fashion Festival. Of course, every luxury shopping destination needs a luxury department store, and Harvey Nichols - one of my favourites, alongside Liberty - is a firm fixture having been on Multrees Walk for over ten years. It's here that you'll find a wealth of high fashion, from Alexander McQueen to Diane von Furstenburg and Mary Katrantzou. There's something for everyone, whether accessories, jewellery or beauty take your fancy.
For me, it's shoes. High heels that are precious to me, sartorially speaking. They are so special; they make you feel different! Beautiful heels are fun and exciting and romantic - it's the Cinderella effect, I suppose. So, as a self-confessed shoe girl, I was beyond excited when I received my invitation to the launch of Manolo Blahnik (yes, MANOLO BLAHNIK) at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh.
On Wednesday I attended the launch along with a select group of lovely guests: a delicious cocktail of Scottish press and loyal Harvey Nichols' customers. We were treated to champagne and canapes, a live jazz band and, of course, an exhibition of the shoes. Manolo's niece, Kristina Blahnik, made the trip to Edinburgh for the launch, which included an intimate viewing of the short film "Jealousy", starring Rupert Everett, before a thoroughly enjoyable Q&A with Kristina (hosted by the delightful Elizabeth McMeekin). Kristina works with her uncle and mother across the Blahnik brand; despite the economy and the tendency for brands to sell out to luxury conglomerates, they still own the label - with no other investors - after 40 years in the industry. No mean feat for a fashion designer of any background, and a fact of which they are very proud.
During the Q&A Kristina was relaxed and passionate and it felt as though we were all old friends; everyone in the room shared the same passion for Manolo Blahnik (both the shoes and the designer). Kristina told us how the shoes are created (Manolo leads every step of the process) and funny tales of her youth spent in the shop playing dress up. She confessed that Manolo talks to the shoes when he's working in the factory. She said: "They're not products, they're characters. He talks to the shoes! That's how he sees them; as little people in his story. Watching him in the factory is part of the poetry."
The event was wonderfully executed and was most enjoyable - it completely lived up to my expectations. One might think that Manolo Blahnik coming to Edinburgh is pretty standard fashion news. A new label at a designer department store? Whoopdeedoo. But, actually, Manolo Blahnik at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh is big news: HN Edinburgh is the first stockist in the UK outside London. Harvey Nichols was hand-picked by Manolo himself (with the support of his team) and they chose Edinburgh - Scotland - because they love the city so much. Kristina said of Edinburgh: "We did a tour last summer and came to Edinburgh. The city immediately resonated with the brand; it's incredibly chic! Harvey Nichols is somewhere we wanted to be and Edinburgh felt right. Manolo loves Edinburgh! For him, heritage and integrity is important and Edinburgh has both - it's clear about what it is as a city."
Well, a fabulous city should sell fabulous shoes. No?