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Birkenstock

Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock, the collaboration that Highsnobiety's Alex Pauly deemed "Fashion's funniest inside joke," is back for round two. First seen in March 2022, the Blah-kenstocks (Blahnik-stocks?) aren't returning so much as they're being reborn for this second drop.

While the first Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock collaboration focused on lush velvet and bejeweled buckles, the second release explores two other Blahnik signatures: black-on-white polka dots ($510-$540) and see-through PVC ($470).

The Arizona and Boston sandals are once again at the core of the partnership, reimagined by Blahnik with printed calf hair and translucent plastic uppers indicative of the cues that've informed his own signature shoes since Blahnik got his start in 1970.

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There's even a brand new silhouette in the mix, a cross-strapped style designed by Blahnik called the Rodra that's a slimmed-down cousin to Birkenstock's own Siena sandal.

Blahnik knows a good shoe when he sees one. He's a longtime Birkenstock wearer himself, having showcased a personal pair of oiled leather Bostons that he's worn since 2010 in a Birkenstock Personality Campaign from a few years back.

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His own footwear line does include sandals but usually of the heeled variety, indicative of the sophistication that comes to mind when one calls up the name "Manolo Blahnik."

Therein lies the delicious high-low mix that makes this collaboration so tantalizing.

Blahnik's glamorous edge is undercut by the utilitarianism of Birkenstock's backless essentials, so when he puts an opulent spin on the deceivingly simple sandals, the resulting contrast is especially satisfying.

Simultaneously, these are not high-falutin' transformations of Birkenstock's classics and that's the point.

The pleasure of a Birkenstock is in its sheer unassuming wearability, so when Blahnik glitzes it up with opulent cowhide and PVC straps that only partially obscure the Arizona's shape, it's a tribute rather than a revision.

Available Birkenstock 1774's website and Manolo Blahnik's web store (and retail outposts) on June 23, the Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock collection won't be for the faint of wallet: prices haven't been confirmed but the first collection weighed in at $750 to $810, which didn't stop it from selling out with the quickness.

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