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F is for fashion week, which started off with the click-click of Manolo heels as worn by everyone from Anne Bass to Behnaz Sarafpour at a party celebrating the opening of “Manolo Blahnik…The Shoe: A Celebration of Design,” an exhibit at Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg curated by’s Candy Pratts Price. The show, which closes Friday, features more than 170 styles of Manolos, memorabilia and an A to Z guide to everything Blahnik: “X is for sneakers?…As in, Manolo Blahnik is not going there.”

“I thought these shoes were going to be for sale,” said a disappointed Adelina Wong Ettelson.

This story first appeared in the September 15, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But Divina Evidente and her brother, Ben, extremely successful sales associates at the Blahnik store, didn’t exactly have the night off. “I have 150 customers to see here tonight,” Evidente said.

One of Divina’s favorites, Muffie Potter Aston, once bought 17 pairs in an afternoon and carried them out in unmarked bags. “Choosing a favorite would be like choosing a favorite child,” Aston said.

For his part, the designer was thrilled — sort of. “I’m happy. I’m exhausted,” said Manolo Blahnik in typically rapid-fire style. “I’m exhausted of being so happy.”

The fever continued the following day at Bergdorf Goodman, where the second-floor shoe salon filled with frenzied fanatics on hand to greet the man himself. “One woman told me her heart has never beaten so fast,” said Bergdorf’s Ron Frasch.

Earlier in the week, a crowd that included Olivia Chantecaille, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Serena Boardman and Rena Sindi gathered at the Valentino boutique to peruse the spring couture collection. In between fittings, they marveled at centerpieces by Carlos Mota featuring butterflies that looked plastic, until they escaped. It’s dangerous enough to let a few fashion savvy women near a rack of clothes, but a swarm of monarch butterflies?

Tory Burch joined a very pregnant Marisa Noel Brown (“Six weeks to go,” she said, still in heels), Phoebe Gubelmann, Bettina Zilkha and Susan Fales-Hill at a party to benefit the Museum of the City of New York sponsored by Celine. A popcorn machine and hot dog stand served as hors d’ouevres. “I was going to say let’s get a drink,” said Amanda Hearst. “But that’s an ice cream cart.”

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