Manolo Blahnik Files Bankruptcy Case Against Former US Partner

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Famed shoe brand Manolo Blahnik has filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against its U.S. partner over $600,000 in unpaid merchandise, Commercial Observer has learned.

Calzaturificio Re Marcello, an Italian shoemaker owned by Blahnik, filed the involuntary Chapter 7 petition against Manolo Blahnik USA, which is owned by the retailer’s longtime partner, George Malkemus III. The filing was made on May 4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. 

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Manolo Blahnik USA is not paying its debts as they come due, and owes $601,744 to Calzaturificio for “goods sold,” the filing said. 

Manolo Blahnik and Malkemus split last year after close to 40 years of partnership, and the shoe designer, known for its stilettos popularized by “Sex and the City,” brought its U.S. operations in-house. Malkemus shifted full-time to SJP, the designer shoe brand he launched with Sarah Jessica Parker, who played the stiletto-obsessed Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City.

A few months after the split, Manolo Blahnik shuttered its iconic store on West 54th Street, with little warning. The property, at 31 West 54th Street, is owned by Malkemus, and he quickly replaced Manolo with Parker’s SJP. 

The 1,300-square-foot space will house SJP’s flagship boutique, while the building next door, also owned by Malkemus, will house its corporate office and a showroom, according to Architectural Digest. The store was scheduled to open in April but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Manolo Blahnik has plans to open up its own U.S. flagship at 717 Madison Avenue, as CO reported.

Malkemus registered Manolo Blahnik USA in 1983, and purchased the five-story 31 West 54th Street in 1997. He and Parker began collaborating in 2014, and they launched SJP Collection. The brand now has locations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Las Vegas, and two in New York, including a pop-up on West 52nd Street and a permanent shop in the South Street Seaport.