CASE STUDY: The Manolo Blahnik Hengisi Pumps

After: Manolo Blahnik Hengisi pump

Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pumps are what many women consider the ultimate stiletto. Feminine, refined and ever so elegant, it’s no wonder that we find ourselves together with many of our clients in love with this timeless classic. A great shoe all year round but these frequent our atelier even more regularly during the spring/summer months, when wedding fever runs high.

Silk satin Hangisi pumps are often the footwear of choice for brides wanting to celebrate in style on that special day. But drinks spill and quelle horreur, someone accidentally treads on your toes! All that fun and dancing on your big day comes at a price: you’re left with stained, discoloured heels form wine spills, stepping on confetti and possibly even cake. And when the magic of that day passes you find yourself wondering how you can turn back the time on your once pristine Manolos. Or all these thoughts are running through your head right now when you’re left to choose the perfect heels to match that dream dress. Thinking you’ll ruin any chance of wearing them again and that they’ll have to live permanently in their shoebox, out of sight forever. Wouldn’t that be a shame?

Don’t be dismayed! That’s where The Restory comes in. We can save your beloved heels and give them a second life with our seamless dyeing techniques. And that’s exactly what we did for a client’s smudged ivory Hangisi pumps. As we always consult the client’s wishes, initially, it was decided to have the heels dyed all the way to black – which is usually the fool proof option.* However, during the dyeing process our colour specialists created a beautiful gunmetal grey tone that perfectly complimented the embellishment on the front of the shoe. The atelier team was completely smitten with the new colour and we conferred once again with the client to see if she preferred this unique gunmetal shade to her previous choice of black. She agreed and a new case study was born.

Before: stained silk satin Hengisi pumps


To create a ‘blank canvas’ to work with, we clean the silk satin to get rid of any surface dirt and superficial spots. And because the material is fabric and not leather, this is achieved by special dry cleaning techniques. Once completed, any part of the shoe that does not require dyeing- like the inner lining and the embellishment- is covered to reduce the risk of colour transfer.

Silk fact – Silk is a natural protein or animal fibre that can be dyed with an acid dye. The mild acid in the dye lowers the pH level that causes the dye to bond and absorb into the protein fibre, leaving a lustrous and rich colour tone. Acid dye is well suited for natural fibres compared to other types of dye as the protein fibre reacts better to mildly acidic properties than to alkali. The silk tends to stay softer and maintains the luxurious appearance of the fabric due to the acidic element. This is why it’s important to use a dye specifically designed for silk so the fabric can be recoloured without altering the original look of the shoe.

After the right colour is selected, a brush is used to apply the dye to the shoes. We must work with quick brush strokes to ensure there is an even dispersion of colour.  Each layer of dye needs to dry completely before another coating is applied. The length of the process depends on the desired depth of the colour and in this case, it took 2-3 coats of dye before the true shade of gunmetal grey was achieved. This is a precise procedure completed by a colour technician, as the paint tends to look much darker before it dries and ‘settles’ into the perfect colour as seen below.

Process: dyeing the silk satin

Result: after the colour has set


The revival of these Manolo Blahnik pumps is nothing short of spectacular, even if we say so ourselves. It’s a great example of how artisan skill can breathe new life into an otherwise lost cause and with a bit of serendipity, turns out even better than imagined. So go ahead, buy those dream shoes and dance the night away…we’ve got you covered! Please schedule your collection at the bottom of this page or email for more information. 

Result: Manolo Blahnik Hengisi pumps in Gunmetal Grey

* Please note that the removal of some stains is beyond the bounds of possibility without weakening the original fabric/material. This is especially the case with lighter colours such as nudes, pinks and beige tones. Due to factors outside our control, we advise clients to consider black as a final option.