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I'm going to let you in on a little secret: last year, I went through a period of emptiness, something that really put me on edge. Between a mid-life crisis and the need to hold on to something concrete and give meaning to my life, I really wondered whether I was on the right track. But I had to move on, so I decided to postpone my questioning.

Every time I prepare a collection, I go off to an unfamiliar place in search of new inspiration and vibrations. Last year, at the end of July, I decided to hit the road alone, heading down south. It was as hot as it is now. I had no air-conditioning in my car, so I was sweating profusely. So much so that the sweat blocked my vision and caused me to do a barrel roll as I drove through a forest in the Loir-et-Cher region.

I was taken in by a portly, bearded man. He put me up on the first floor of his house, lost in the middle of nowhere, in a cosy room. He took care of my broken arm and ribs. He made me delicious broths and juices from exotic fruits I'd never tasted. He took care of me like no man had before. He put on my favorite TV shows. He listened to me complain and tell my heart and sex stories. He laughed at my unfunny jokes, and I often made them. Sometimes he'd go away all day and leave me alone, only to come back in the evening with his arms full of clothes that he'd give me. And he didn't want sex, in return, he assured me. He was only interested in my well-being, and that I would soon recover from the nasty wounds inflicted by my run-off the road. I asked him to inform my family of my sudden disappearance, but all the lines were cut and the signal was non-existent due to the excessive heat that had melted all the relay antennas. Nothing worked, no internet, no radio, no CB radio.

Fortunately, he lived in a remote corner of central France, in the middle of a forest, on the ubac of a small mountain, which was relatively cool given the apocalyptic climate. I was really worried that my family would be worried to death, and at the same time I felt guilty for being so comfortable with this complicated-looking stranger. His name was Casimir and he was a nurse, so he helped me with my arm rehabilitation. As our sessions progressed, I explained to him who I was and what I was doing. I was surprised when he cut me off and took me up to his room. There, he opened his dressing room to reveal a whole bunch of crazy, colorful, sparkling shoes - mine: Patricia. This guy, whom I didn't know, had absolutely every shoe I'd designed since the brand's beginnings, which was phenomenal and very surprising at the same time. So I asked him where his wife was, or at least the woman to whom all these pairs belonged. He stared at me, then let out a sardonic laugh. They were all his, and he'd bought them all methodically, making sure none went under his nose. He had a passion for heels.

Time went by and the weather situation didn't seem to be improving. So I began to tell him about my desire to give up shoes, to leave France and settle on Prime Seal Island in Tasmania for an eternal spiritual retreat. From that moment on, my benefactor's attitude changed completely. The broths he served me were vacuum-sealed, the cocktails he prepared for me were mixed with second-rate tequila. He started playing Alf and Derrick on VHS instead of Breaking Bad. He no longer wanted to help me with my arm. He became aggressive and never again brought me a single item of clothing. When I felt sufficiently revitalized enough to leave the no-longer-cozy nest, my host stood in the doorway, pulled me by the hair and forced me to a desk with large sheets of drawing paper, pencils and crayons. He handcuffed me to the chair, then demanded that I invent a collection all his own. This was the condition for my getting out of his house alive. As he became very threatening, my imagination became all the more fertile. When my drawings were finished, I ordered all the materials I needed to make a shoe. He made some for me by going hunting in the forest, using mushroom skin, fireflies (as glitter) and carving in wood. I had enough to make a dozen pairs.

When this was done, I invited him to join me in my styling office to present him with what I had imagined especially for him. He was amazed at what I'd managed to come up with with the means at hand, so he took me in his arms and twirled me in the air, calling me his queen of shoes and crying his eyes out. It was at that moment that I grabbed a shoe and gave him a good hard heel to the head, knocking him out. A year later, I still remember with undisguised pleasure that visit to Casimir, the hardcore fan who forced me to design an exclusive collection just for him. A generous man, totally crazy about me and ready to make me happy if I gave him a shoe in exchange. It's not out of the question that, once again this year, I'm going to lose myself in the Loir-et-Cher region and do a few barrel rolls...
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