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Beautiful but Expensive | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Beautiful but Expensive

Yambamod Strappy Sandal by Manolo Blahnik    Manolo Adores!  Click!

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has just asked the Manolo the question about these most beautiful shoes of the Maestro Manolo Blahnik.

Hi! I’ve just come across these beautiful sandals at Neiman Marcus, but the price is extremely harsh. The color’s awesome, so are the braiding details – I love them. Do you happen to have any recommendations about where to find similarly gorgeous sandals for under $100?


38 Responses to “Beautiful but Expensive”

  1. *Laughing*

    Succinctly said!

  2. Din July 13, 2007 at 3:29 pm #

    How rude! Even if the Manolo’s correspondant was asking an unrealistic question, was it really necessary for you to be so superior in your answer? Is it so unrealistic that lovely colors and details should be affordable? Shame on the Manolo!

  3. lisa July 13, 2007 at 3:52 pm #

    Perhaps the Super Fantastic Manolo was not being rude, but simply attempting to educate the uninitiated with the simple lesson, much like the Zen master strikes the unenlightened novice with a stick to get the attention.

    Or maybe not. But it sounds good, doesn’t it?

  4. Rob D. July 13, 2007 at 4:00 pm #


    Quite often, there is no acceptable substitute to something that is clearly superior. As Manolo has often stated, cheap shoes are one thing that nobody should desire. Even if the reader were to find a similar looking shoe at Payless, it would be cheap, ill fitting, badly assembled and nowhere near as much fun as these shoes are.

    Finally, I don’t know how you can read ‘superiority’ of tone in a written answer consisting of only one word. You’re obviously reading too much into his answer, and should, in the future, always assume the best of possible meanings when reading something that you might find disagreeable.

  5. dangster July 13, 2007 at 4:13 pm #

    I agree, Rob, I dislike people who try too hard to “read between the lines”, hoping to find fault.

    And yes, there is a reason why fantastic shoes cost so much. I thought Manolo’s response was most excellent :)

  6. Anonymous July 13, 2007 at 4:28 pm #

    Ah, yes, but “You’re obviously reading too much into his answer, and should, in the future, always assume the best of possible meanings when reading something that you might find disagreeable” is extremely condescending.

  7. Atomic Bombshell July 13, 2007 at 4:39 pm #

    HAHAHAHAHAHA… You are the BEST. Good answer!

  8. Sue F. July 13, 2007 at 4:59 pm #

    If there were such sandals available the Manolo would have been the one to know of them. It was a simple quest for knowledge, and you can dream, can’t you?

  9. gemdiva July 13, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    I have noticed recently an unfortunate trend among the readers of the Manolo to take everything far too seriously. I myself fell into this groove on the subject of Ron Paul’s shoes. While it may be far too simplistic and also unrealistic to suggest that everyone “lighten up”. I do feel that we should recognize the true nature of this marvelous oasis from the mundane and behave accordingly. We do not come to the site of the Manolo to find tales of “moderately priced”, designer knock off shoes. There are discount stores aplenty clogging the airwaves with their wares.

    No. We come to visit the Manolo to be educated and entertained on the subject of fashion. While it is true that fashion (particularly when it comes to shoes) is the most intimate form of self expression available to mere mortals, fashion is not rocket surgery. So let’s try to keep things in their proper perspective and celebrate the Manolo for his humor and his impeccable good taste and for the escape he gives us from the harsh reality that awaits us outside the borders of his webdom.


  10. sue July 13, 2007 at 5:18 pm #

    Oh for f—‘s sakes, some people have no sense of humour. I laughed hard, Manolo, I loved your response.

  11. Lori July 13, 2007 at 5:43 pm #

    Consignment store, anyone?

  12. Style Bard July 13, 2007 at 6:40 pm #

    The humbling fact is that if you don’t have enough money for the nicest of things, you don’t get the nicest of things. You can’t get Blahniks without the lump of change. And perhaps we shouldn’t wear shoes that will deform our feet and fall apart. But even for those of us who splurge here and there for ‘expensive’ shoes, upwards of $645 is a pipe dream to most, even if they saved for a good long time, regardless of the fact that the shoes would probably not be available then. This is probably because we have other constrictive priorities for our hard-won cash. This is probably a good thing. Women should wear lovely shoes; women should not break the bank on lovely shoes. Women should never wear cheap crappy shoes merely because they are cheaper – ever.


    Sometimes you want (and deserve) a new pair of shoes. Sometimes you want something pretty. Sometimes you fall in love at Neiman Marcus and that love is unrequited – but you move on, and you still need/want/deserve new shoes, right? So can we really not find this woman anything similarly gorgeous in all of the internet? She likes the color and/or the unique detailing. For below $100 she will have to accept what she gets in terms of quality and comfort and style, but I do believe there are similarly colored, similarly unique, and similarly gorgeous shoes that would make this woman happy out there. I do.

    We can’t always be upheld to the standards of being/having the best of all that there is, but we can always be and have the best that WE can.

    I suggest Zappos -> Search -> Sandals -> Blue -> Price Range. There are some loveable non-Blahnik shoes. I mean, you can’t really beg comparison from The Incomparible Manolo Blahnik, but these are nice, too.

    For the record, I also burst out laughing, thank you for making my day Manolo. I love you for all that you are.

  13. K July 13, 2007 at 6:55 pm #

    Truth! Yet did the Manolo have to be quite so heartless about it?

  14. Anonymous July 13, 2007 at 7:49 pm #

    After reading this entry, I have decided to delete this shoe blog from my bookmarks and Myspace. The overall condescension from the author and the responders is almost laughable. It is great that some of you out there are weathy enough to afford $600 shoes whenever you wish, but the majority of us can not. This woman was asking an honest question, and even if “Manolo” did not mean to sound so rude, those who responded to this post most definitely were. Money obviously can’t buy class.

  15. Noga July 13, 2007 at 8:11 pm #

    THese shoes, sandals, are like a prime number.

    A prime number is a positive integer that has no positive integer divisors other than 1 and itself. In other words, its usefulness is quite limited. What colour dress will go with these sandals? The same colour as the sandals, white or black. Any other combination will risk hurting the eye of the beholder. So why invest so much money in such a choice that offers such a poor range of returns on the rather mordant capital?

  16. Lori C. July 13, 2007 at 8:43 pm #

    7:49 needs to lighten up. Now, these shoes are a pipedream for a student such as myself. However, I can recognize and appreciate the beauty and quality of craftsmanship and know the difference between what i can get for $100 and what these beauties from the maestro would include. Manolo is not rude. He is simply giving the clearest response possible to a ridiculous question. If you are reading this blog you will have gained some of the bare facts of the relativity of shoe price to quality. How long does one have to read the shoe blog before one learns just how inconceivable the notion of finding something comparable to Manolo Blahniks for under $100, even at a sale, really is? Have some common sense. And a sense of humor.

  17. Poochie July 13, 2007 at 9:09 pm #

    I would say the complete opposite of your post. I like my high-end shoe purchases to be a striking and unique as possible. This color would be amazing with coral or red or emerald green, with jeans and khaki. Not “safe” combinations but eye-catching! I wear beautiful shoes because they get me noticed. I would invest in this color before black. Black shoes are a dime a dozen.

    Don’t play it safe!

  18. Noga July 13, 2007 at 10:04 pm #

    Good for you, poochie. I admire the audacity of women who colour their hair bright red and paint their toe nails emerald green. There must be some dividends reaped from such extravagant combinations. As you say, they get you noticed, if that’s what you want, fine.

    Here is what I would put my money in, if I had any to spare:


  19. dani July 13, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    It’s not clear to me how the Manolo’s response could have been construed as rude or condescending. It doesn’t appear that the woman who posed the question is as obsessed with shoes as the rest of us. She innocently asked a question to which the Manolo applied amazing restraint in answering, since we all know how he hates the cheap shoes.

    It’s a bit like asking Lorin Maazel if he’d book the New York Philharmonic for a birthday party.

    A simple “No” is both necessary and sufficient.

  20. Cat July 13, 2007 at 10:52 pm #

    For those who are complaining that the Manolo’s answer was rude, I have just searched several shoe sites online and did not see one single pair of sandals that looked remotely like the ones pictured for less than $100 — I mean, it would appear that not even a cheap knock-off exists.

    For that matter, I didn’t see any that looked remotely like the pair in question for over $100, either. Manolo’s internet friend specifically mentioned that she loved both the color and the braiding detail on these Blahniks, and I’m sorry, but there simply isn’t anything else like that out there, at any price, as far as I could tell. The Manolo’s answer was simply short and to the point.

  21. Nadia July 14, 2007 at 1:01 am #

    I was JUST admiring these on the Neimans site last night and I think they’re amazing. I have never seen anything even coming close by any designer, let alone an inexpensive designer. Thus that is why we (well I anyway, when I ogle Manolos in the store or online) bow down to the master that is Manolo Blahnik.

  22. Anon July 14, 2007 at 1:21 am #

    Some of you need to grow some skin, if you get offended by such an honest answer.

  23. Nancy Liedel July 14, 2007 at 8:35 am #

    The answer is no. You can put a dress on a pig, but it’s still a pig. No matter how pretty and sugar coated the answer to this question is dressed up, it would still be no.

  24. Noga July 14, 2007 at 8:39 am #

    In my humble opinion, Manolo’s terse “No” should be read as a direct admonition to those who sell shoes at such steep prices, not towards those who can’t buy them. Really, Manolo must know full well that it’s not the rich socialites who read and enjoy his blog, but a more average type of woman, for whom spending $100 on a pair of shoes seems extravagant and calls for invented special justification…

  25. Karen Loxton July 14, 2007 at 9:01 am #

    In response to Noga… I once had a this gorgeous pair of shoes from Steve Madden in this colour and they went with everything! I wore them to death and I still miss them… anyway. Surprisingly, it’s a beautifully useful colour!

    For Manolo’s internet friend who asked the question, sorry hun, I’ve been checking everywhere online and I can’t find anything! However, I have a feeling if you wait a couple of months, this simply stunning creation by Manolo will inspire other shoe creators. Needs must!

    For Manolo’s answer, well, it’s true: no, if you look really really hard, the answer would still have to be… a sad, no.


  26. Karen Loxton July 14, 2007 at 9:03 am #

    PS: I was just on the Steve Madden website & saw this ccool thing where you can design your own shoes!

  27. Katherine July 14, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    My question is this. So the shoes above cost a lot of money. Why? Okay, obviously the name. The design. Maybe the exclusivity? But do they really cost a lot because they’re good quality? Okay so maybe they are made by hand (I don’t know, how do you make shoes), or something, but am I really going to be able to wear them upwards of 20 times? I will pay a lot of money for shoes I can get a lot of wear out of, and I don’t buy cheap shoes because they’re bad for my feet, and they fall apart. So I might spend a lot of money for some boots, or something similar. I want to be able to get my cost per wear quite low, which is also why I might buy classic shoes and not fashionable shoes, because I want to wear them for more than one season.

    After much rambling my question is this – what makes the above shoes worth so much money?

  28. Poochie July 14, 2007 at 10:32 am #


    I would say that these shoes could totally fulfill your cost per wear needs. These are a perfect example of shoes that will be worth the money. They are beautiful – so they will make you look great. They are not a trendy design – so you could wear them for years and they will not go out of style. They are well made – so they will last for years. Their color is unique – so you will feel special, get compliments and you will find reasons to wear them. And having such a strong color acutally makes them versatile – you could wear them with jeans or to dress up a LBD or pair them with another strong colored formal gown.

    These are the shoes you keep forever and love them every time you wear them.


  29. Style Spy July 14, 2007 at 10:43 am #

    On a practical note, I would suggest that the person in love with the beautiful turquoise sandals make friends with a friendly SA at her local NM store, and they will perhaps be able to give you some notice on when the shoes are going on sale. This will give you time to save up the money for them, if you really want to invest. (And I think they would be worth investing in — the value of a great pair of shoes is not only to be found in the dollars-per-wear equation, but also in the inexplicable way they lift the spirit whenever you put them on.) I keep what I call a Luxury Tithe — I skim off 10% of all the money I make and sock it away and that is what I allow myself to use — guilt-free — on extravagant purchases. But I do think that if the reader just holds out for a bit she will be able to find some similar styles at lower price points — this season’s Blahniks are just now reaching the stores, so other companies should be… *echoing* them soon.

  30. Obis Sister July 14, 2007 at 11:39 am #

    Frankly, the color belongs in outer space – no matter how much they cost!


  31. la petite chou chou July 14, 2007 at 12:35 pm #

    Exactly what are some of you so upset about?

    You didn’t like the Manolo’s response? Was it that he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) locate some crummy knock-off? Because that’s what you would have to find to meet the questioner’s requirements. Bah. Or maybe that isn’t it and you simply don’t like the way he answered? Perhaps then, you might examine yourself to figure out why you are so easily offended by hearing the word “no.” In what world are we living in that a) we want crappy substitutes for proven quality, and b) require everything to be sugar-coated so we don’t feel “offended”?

    Everyone who faithfully reads this blog knows that the Manolo has a beautiful personality. I found his answer to be perfect—to the point with humor.

  32. Tracy July 14, 2007 at 1:21 pm #

    Have you tried shoefly or endless.com or one of those sites that discounts designer shoes?

  33. Renee July 14, 2007 at 2:47 pm #

    … oh please. I am a mom who usually wears Tsubo’s with capri’s and I drive a mini van. But, I can dream can’t I? Those azure blue Blahniks are the stuff of dreams and the Manolo makes me laugh every day as I peruse the lives of the glamorous fashionistas with much amusement on his shoeblog.No means No.It was not meant to be construed as NO! or Nooooo!!!! Stop reading so much into a one word answer and have fun!

  34. GrammaK July 15, 2007 at 10:14 am #

    I am going to blaspheme for a moment- I am indifferent to shoes. They do not excite or interest me beyond the utilitarian considerations of fit and cost and marginal attractiveness. But I read Manolo’s blog regularly because he writes wittily and well about his obsession, and I find the writings to be interesting and enjoyable even though I don’t share his fascination with foot coverings.

    Manolo, in his writings, is often gently (or not so gently) pointed in his commentary about celebrities and designers. But until this entry, I had never seen Manolo be anything but courteous to his readers. I suspect that his terse reply to the substitute shoe questiont made the reader feel that not only was her question stupid, but that she was stupid for asking. I felt uncomfortable for the reader, and for Manolo as well. “No” may well have been the correct answer, but it wasn’t the right one.

  35. Benvenuta July 15, 2007 at 11:43 am #

    I would expect the Manolo we know and love to say “The Manolo is sorry, no.” or something along these lines.

  36. megaera July 16, 2007 at 1:41 am #

    In response to Katherine’s comment, part of the reason these shoes are so expensive is that, in many ways, Manolo Blahnik is not just a designer but an artist. He has no interest in building a brand that will outlast him. When he dies (and he has stated this many times), his shoes die. (This hikes up your aformentioned exculsivity by automatically making sure everyone knows that the supply of these shoes will be finite. And we all are aware of how rarity affects supply and demand) Every shoe is designed by him, personally, not by the vice president of heel design. In this, I feel somewhat of a Kantian aesthetic toward Sr. Blahnik’s shoes. Put under glass these shoes would be just as useful as art as they are as shoes on one’s feet. People buy paintings for $600 and reckon them cheap. These shoes give me pleasure (and obviously not just me) just for existing and bringing that much more beauty to the world. So, joy for $600? A bargain at twice the price.

  37. Ryno July 16, 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    I love all the interpretations of the Manolo’s “terse” answer. The thing is, it was a yes-or-no question. Many is the time I have asked a yes-or-no question and received neither a “yes” nor a “no” as an answer, although I have received something I can only interpret as somebody’s need to be heard talking about something. Not useful. I then have to ask “So… was that a yes or a no?”

    Thank you, Manolo, for setting a shining example of responsiveness.