There was a double cause for celebration at Liberty London last night. Manolo Blahnik invited customers to a signing of his new book, “Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions,” at the Liberty shoe hall.
Coinciding with the iconic British department store’s 140th anniversary, the evening also unveiled an exclusive collaboration between Blahnik and Liberty.
The designer reworked his iconic Swarovski crystal-embellished Nadira pump and Nadi clutch bag using one of the most recognized Liberty Art Nouveau prints, the Hesketh, which dates back to 1896. “I love the Hesketh print in black and white. It reminds me of Aubrey Beardsley’s drawings, which I’ve always loved,” said the designer, who has had a connection with the department store since his teenage years.
“One of the earliest memories I have from Liberty is going there when I first visited London as a teenager. I fell in love with it right away. It’s a traditional English place, with a lot of history and soul. The beautiful architecture, the wooden interiors and the tranquil atmosphere inside really spoke to me. It doesn’t feel like a big department store — it’s more cozy, and I really like that.”
The limited-edition Nadira shoe is priced at 750 pounds, or $1,139 at current exchange, while the Nadi handbag costs 1,550 pounds, or $2,354.
VIP customers were treated to an intimate cocktail gathering prior to the signing, where they had the chance to meet the designer, take pictures with him and get their books and shoes signed. (This was Blahnik’s only London appearance.)
In addition to never-before-seen photos from Blahnik’s extensive 40-year archive, the book includes contributions from Pedro Almodovar, Sofia Coppola and Cambridge classicist Mary Beard, among others, providing insight into the varied set of sources that spark Blahnik’s creativity.
“The new book is a collection of people and places I adore and are a constant source of inspiration to me. I wanted to share my passions with people, and that is why I gathered all of them together in one tome. It was a very long process, and it took a lot of my time and effort. But I very much enjoyed traveling and talking to people.”