An image from Manolo Blahnik’s book 'Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions'

MILAN — Spanish footwear designer Manolo Blahnik was in Milan on Tuesday to present his new book “Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions” to the public at Rizzoli’s store in the luxury shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where he also signed copies and was interviewed by Italian journalist Natalia Aspesi.

“Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions” features illustrations with more than 500 pairs of shoes, retracing more than 40 years of design history, from the moment Blahnik was discovered by Diana Vreeland in 1971. “It’s funny, because in my life I got carried away by the coincidences and circumstances,” reflected Blahnik, adding: “Initially I dreamed of becoming a mason or sculptor and I never imagined that I would become this today.”

“This book is the outcome of a desperate way of looking at beauty, understood as a way of looking at a woman, as her way of moving and walking,” said the designer. “Every woman is unique and for that every shoe is an object with a different shape, with a different inspiration, each different from the other one,” he added.

Blahnik, who was sporting a lilac bow tie — a staple of his — paired with a suit of the same color at the presentation, emphasized the importance of Italian style, which is a big source of inspiration for the designer. “The peculiarities of Italian style is its uniqueness, its sensuality, its ability to always tell a story,” he said on the sidelines of the event, adding that he also draws ideas from movies, art, architecture and literature. “I’d be lying if I said that a page of Tomasi di Lampedusa has inspired me to do a collection,” he said, laughing. “But I can say that when I see Palermo, when I see the Sicilian women, I try to make a transposition of the wealth that I see,” Blahnik noted.

When someone asked him if he expected such a success, Blahnik said: “I don’t do anything fancy, I’m lucky because I do what I love most. The success of the book has perhaps the same cause of success of Italian style: it simply tells a real story,” he added.

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