George Malkemus, 67, has lost his battle with cancer. In the early 1980s, the Bergdorf Goodman copywriter traded his stylus for the world of satin and stilt-like heels and launched Manolo Blahnik in the United States. Malkemus was responsible for guiding the brand’s exponential growth, so it came as a surprise when in 2019 Malkemus opted out of renewing his license with the designer.
By that time though the amiable and ever smiling CEO was five years into a new venture, having created SJP shoes with Sarah Jessica Parker, who as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex & the City had made Blahniks a wardrobe staple and a household name.
Malkemus became as familiar with ice cream and cattle as champagne and stilettos after he and his husband Tony Yurgaitis, wanting to save local farmland, and the view, across from their house in Litchfield, Connecticut, bought Arethusa Farm, which grew to encompass a dairy, restaurant, and bakery.
“I am gutted at the loss of my friend and business partner. I intended to work alongside George for as long as women wear shoes,” said Sarah Jessica Parker in a statement. “I feel profoundly honored by the years we spent in business, but more so the years we spent as friends. He was both inspired and inspiring. He was grace, exquisite taste, principled, and unabashedly in love with his work, his life in the shoe business, and all things beautiful. He brought passion and knowledge and delight to the office every day and we were all better for being in his company. My heart goes out to his beloved husband, Tony. The gentleman that was George Malkemus III will be deeply missed by all those he loved and all those who had the great privilege to call him friend and partner.”