Monday, October 26, 2015

Best New Style Book, Just Published by Rizzoli: ‘Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions’ by Manolo Blahnik

It’s my new favorite book, a fantastic trip into the fetish and frivolity and the fabulous style of Manolo Blahnik.

Every fall I gather and select my favorite newly published style and design and interiors books.

This week, I’m revealing my favorite. It’s a superb production, with fantastic natural linen binding with the title blind-embossed in black. That’s a thrill before even opening the book.

It’s full of lavish and luscious and very fetishy photos of his shoe collection and prototypes. Exquisite. The great Mr. Blahnik has also edited and selected favorite photography of beautiful women and his favorite models, as well as art that has inspired him and so many original interviews (Anna Piaggi) and insights and inspirations. Yikes…so original and beautiful.

I wear Blahniks…black silk, black suede, black snakeskin, black goatskin, lambskin (I wear only black shoes) and mostly Blahniks (some Chanel, some London Sole, some Prada). But Blahniks are the most elegant, classic, chic shoes, by far. They never date. He has superb taste and fantastic style and his shoes are always in style, always delicate and light and wonderful to wear.

The book shows lots of shoes—Tina Chow’s shoes, designs for movies.

And then…surprise and delight…there is a fantastic interview/visit to a palace in Palermo. There's an interview with the cousin of Giusseppe di Lampedusa, the great author of ‘The Leopard’ (Il Gattopardo) on which the great film, starring Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale and the magnificent Alain Delon was based).

That interview and report and images are a reason, alone, to acquire the book.

But there are also an essay on Visconti, paintings by Goya, enough jeweled shoes to send a shoe lover into a faint. I admire his selections of personalities and profiles of people like Horst and Beaton and images of Balenciaga’s best.

Why I love the Bahnik book:
Included in the superbly designed book are: Italian palaces, fur-lined slippers (thirty years before Gucci), along with ‘Myra Breckinridge’ (with costumes designed by my great friend Theadora van Runkle), and Milena Canonero, Irving Penn, Diana Vreeland, and Tina Chow.

Turn the pages to find walk-on appearances by Greek statuary (the sandals), and a tour of the Prado, ‘Death in Venice’, Maria Callas, Pauline de Rothschild, Africa, Cuba, Marie Antoinette and David Bailey and his wives (he was once married to Catherine Deneuve).

Featuring more than forty years of shoe design, ‘MANOLO BLAHNIK: Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions’ is a highly collectible monograph of the work of Manolo Blahnik, one of the greats of contemporary fashion. Mr. Blahnik draws inspiration from the worlds of architecture, art,film, and literature.

My shoes are black, but his exciting use of color, enbroideries, lace, trim and maribou and unprecedented designs, and exquisitely sculpted heels make his shoes some of the most coveted in the world.

With Michael Roberts’ 250 iconic designs from his archive, the book also reveals the inspirations behind his artistic vision. Think Velasquez.

I love the dramatic and beautiful photography and thoughtful essays by fashion writers, curators, and colleagues offering insight into Mr. Blahnik’s vivid and creative world.

Manolo Blahnik is the most influential and admired shoe designer and is the founder of his eponymous shoe company.

Pedro Almodóvar is a film director.

Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge.

Sofia Coppola is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and actress.

Rafael Moneo is a Spanish architect.

André Leon Talley is the former American editor-at-large for Vogue magazine.

Michael Roberts is a British fashion journalist, illustrator, photographer, and film director.

All images here used with permission from Rizzoli.

Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions
By Manolo Blahnik

Photography and notes by Michael Roberts, with contributions by Pedro Almodóvar, Mary Beard, Eric Boman, Sofia Coppola, and Andre Leon Talley

Hardcover w/slipcase / 488 pages / 9⅞” x 13” / 400 color photographs / $150


ArchitectDesign™ said...

they really are works of art!

Karena said...

True Diane, an artist's dream come true! Fabulous and elegant always!

The Arts by Karena

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


I loved hearing from you--and have had a fantastic response to this post on Blahnik.

It is truly a very collectible book and will be no to keep and enjoy for a lifetime of reading.

It is so original--and personal--quite remarkably unique.

The graphic design and printing are also exquisite. I know you will enjoy it and find it pure discovery.

keep me posted--happy days, DIANE