What I Wear to Work: Kristina Blahnik

The Manolo Blahnik CEO's polished aesthetic never wavers.

Kristina Blahnik CEO of Manolo Blahnik
(Image credit: Manolo Blahnik)

A footwear career wasn't always guaranteed for Kristina Blahnik—despite the fact that her uncle, Manolo, began the iconic Manolo Blahnik shoe brand in London 50 years ago. But after a decade spent studying and practicing architecture, Kristina felt a pull toward the family business. Her early involvement with the company was initially a six-month consulting stint. Since that first whirlwind day in 2009—during which Blahnik recalls hopping on a plane, design sketches in hand, to Italy to help develop the Spring 2010 collection—she's never looked back. 

Thirteen years later, now the CEO of the Manolo Blahnik brand, Kristina splits her time between the bustling streets of London and her grounding country home. Her signature style is also an extension of her family, with her mother and uncle the source of inspiration for her timeless workwear aesthetic that focuses on polished investment pieces.

Ahead, we spoke with the leader about her thoughtful approach to footwear and how a trip to New York City can be an endless source of inspiration.

Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik

Regular morning walks in the countryside are one of Blahnik's tools for keeping her grounded.

(Image credit: Manolo Blahnik)

On Her Morning Routine:

If I'm working from home in the countryside, I start my day by walking the dog. It grounds me and helps me connect with nature. If I'm in London, I love going to these crazy climbing classes or getting in a Peloton ride—high cardiovascular exercise. That's my perfect start before getting to the office; I've done my training, hydrated well, and I'm ready to go.

Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik

A lover of classics, Blahnik wears a perfectly tailored turtleneck and blazer. "I feel incomplete without my hoop earrings," she says of her everyday uniform.

(Image credit: Manolo Blahnik)

On Her Approach to Dressing:

My work and life wardrobe are inextricably linked. I don't have a different persona outside of work. The only time I have a slightly different aesthetic is in the countryside because the mud is never-ending. In England, the weather can do anything from one day to the next, but I always have a considered approach toward my footwear. If it's raining, I'll choose a more practical footwear option so that I don't destroy my delicate shoes, and I'll work my way up from there; if it's sunny, I'll work my way down from the outfit to the shoes. 

If I don't want to overthink my outfit, I'll put on a dress—you can conquer the world in a good dress. You'll see me in red, black, or white 80 percent of the time—that's a pretty predominant portion of my wardrobe. I'll add in splashes of color. 

My wardrobe is about longevity, quality, and timelessness. My style has a classic look; I don't tend to follow the fashion trend path. I've had pieces I've made deep connections with and still wear all of the time—I love Valentino, and I have a lot of amazing McQueen pieces from many years ago. I add to my wardrobe on a need-basis rather than seasonally.

Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik

"I tend to gravitate towards black, white, and red pieces," says Blahnik. "Those three colors are about 80 percent of my wardrobe."

(Image credit: Manolo Blahnik)

On Her Style Inspirations:

There's an element of elegance and tradition in how my mother and uncle dress. My uncle will never leave the house without a suit, and my mother will never go out without being completely put together. I've adopted that same approach for myself. I love that concept. 

I think that mindset also inspires. When you see somebody who's polished and ready to take on the day, you rethink your style philosophy.  It makes me so happy to walk down the street and see someone whose made a beautiful effort. New York is also a great source of inspiration—especially the Upper East Side. It's like a mood board. There's so much inspiration from the people just going about their daily lives.

Shop Kristina's Favorites:

Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.