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The well-heeled set was getting into the holiday spirit Wednesday night at Manolo Blahnik’s 54th Street boutique, or at least the purchasing mood.
“I finally got some Christmas shopping done,” Amanda Brooks, yellow shopping bag in tow, told a fellow partygoer. Rather than stocking up on footwear, guests were nabbing copies of “Manolo Blahnik and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker” (HarperCollins), the latest tome from fashion writer Camilla Morton.
The book, Morton’s second of the designer-biography-turned-fairy tale variety (her first outing was a Christian Lacroix and “Sleeping Beauty” hybrid), weaves Blahnik’s anecdotes with the classic Brothers Grimm tale, resulting in a whimsical take on the shoe magnate’s life story. Diane von Furstenberg is slated for the third installment in the series, which are all penned by Morton and illustrated by the designer.
Guests nibbled on burrata crostinis and veal-infused rice balls while on line to have their copies signed by Blahnik and Morton.
“My feet are on fire,” one stiletto-clad attendee whispered between sips of her Vermentino. “But it’s worth the wait.”
Morton and Blahnik’s relationship didn’t exactly start out on the right foot (pun intended). At the beginning of Morton’s career, she was introduced to the shoe designer at a fashion show after corresponding via fax. (“This was how long ago it was,” she pointed out.)
“I remember as he was walking towards me and you know how you have those rare, hideous, slow motion moments?” she explained. “I suddenly realized I was wearing these awful boots so I tried to tuck my feet underneath the bench where I was sitting so as to not offend him. Of course, I lost my balance and fell on top of him, quite literally.”
Blahnik avoided injury and, over the years, the two grew close. Still, Morton learned something new about Blahnik in the process of writing the book.
“I had no idea that as a kid, he was this cheeky little redhead,” she said. “I always imagined him with his hair slicked back and clean, not with this crazy red spiky mop.”
For the designer’s part, the book was a surprise.
“I didn’t expect my life to be reflected in a book for children,” he said. “It really made me nostalgic and I’m not a nostalgic person at all. Sometimes I would think, God, I was so stupid back then.”
Oh, to be young.