Beautiful but Expensive, Part 2

Manolo says, while the Manolo was away from his computer enjoying his Friday night, many of the Manolo’s internet friends were debating what the Manolo meant by his terse reply to the question about the Manolo Blahnik sandals.

Some peoples have interpreted the simple “no” as the rude and condescending rebuke to the questioner. Some have compared it to the reply of the zen master.

In the fact, it was the direct, if somewhat brusque admission that it would be impossible for the humble shoeblogger to find the shoe for any price that closely approximated the color, shape, and detail of these magnificent and unusual Blahnik sandals, much less for under $100 of the American dollars.

The Manolo is only the simple man who loves the shoes, not the magician.

Why, you may ask, can the Manolo not find the bargain basement knockoff of these shoes?

The reasons are legion. First, the teal-turquoise color of the Blahniks is unusual.

Currently, by the Manolo’s count, there are 227 “blue” high-heeled sandals at the Zappos. Now, please go look at these 227 shoes and note how many of them are close in color to this Blahnik teal.

How many did you find? One dozen?

Here is the closest match in terms of the color.

Yambamod Strappy Sandal by Manolo Blahnik    Manolo Adores!  Click!Constance by Nine West.   Manolo does not recommend.

On the right is the Constance by Nine West, the shoe that costs the mere $63.

Yes, it appears to be the same color as the Blahnik, but this is only because of the infidelity of reproduction of the computer display. The Manolo guarantees that if this shoe were put next to the teal Blahnik in real life, you would be ashamed to have thought it was the same color.

It is made of some synthentic man-made plastic, and so how could it possibly have the richness and depth of color achieved only in the finest of satins?

However, even if we do find the color match, we must then address the braiding of the back strap. This detail is not just pretty, but it is also very rare.

There are approximately 7,200 high heeled dress sandals in the inventory at the Zappos. The Manolo has not looked at all of them, but he can tell you that in the 2,000 he has looked at there is no braided back strap.

Combine the teal color with the braided back strap, two details which the Manolo’s internet friend particularly praised, and you see that it is impossible to find something similar for any price.

In truth, truly beautiful shoes are inimitable.

It is not just the color, or the materials, or even the individual details, but the totality that produces this beauty. And this is ultimately what justifies the high price.

Look again at the Manolo’s discussion of the Prada which seemed to imitate the Louboutin

Even the untrained eye can clearly see how the Prada looks common next to the exalted Louboutin. Both use the best Italian leather, and are assembled by the best Italian craftsmen, but one is so very much better than the other.

This difference is the hand and soul of the designer.

And it is why sometimes the best answer is the simple “no”.

14 Responses to “Beautiful but Expensive, Part 2”

  1. cheeky July 14, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    I’m sorry that you had to break this down for people, Manolo. It seemed simple enough.

  2. Dr. Medusa July 14, 2007 at 2:38 pm #

    Some of the commenters to the original post seem to miss the rhetorical point (and brilliance) of your reply. The admirer of the teal Manolos simply ignored the first rule of effective writing, emblazoned on the minds of the dozens upon dozens of students who have passed through Freshmen Writing courses: “know your audience.” You simply put her in her place with good humor and style and all of the compassion you might muster under the circumstances, especially as you had every right to be frustrated and offended by her oversight. Well played, maestro.

  3. Eric July 14, 2007 at 2:54 pm #

    I understand and all these reasons were present in the Manolo’s last blog. However, I have always admired the Manolo for being gently chiding and making sure that his humor doesn’t offend too much. It would have probably ruined the joke to put such an obvious explanation, but the curtness of the answer implied, at least for me, some impatience or lack of interest in explaining. I know this is not true, since the Manolo truly loves the good shoes, so I know I would have appreciated something more gentle, perhaps, “The Manolo is sorry – it simple cannot be done!”

  4. la petite chou chou July 14, 2007 at 5:11 pm #

    Eh. The humor seemed obvious to me. I think it was a perfect response.

  5. Noga July 14, 2007 at 6:41 pm #

    I think (though not completely certain) that Manolo is asking for the forgieveness of his readers for his terse ‘no’.

    From his explanation, now I read his ‘No’ as saying the following: You’re too poor, baby, to own a pair of uniquely beautiful teal-colour satin shoes. There is nothing I, Manolo, can do to console you over this fact of life. Anything you find that might look remotely like your object of desire is just a cheap immitation.

    The “No” is a truthful answer. But… from the author of “The consolation of the shoe”, I have come to expect a more thoughtful response. I have come to expect great powers of empathy into the uncharted depths of woman’s longings. I have come to trust that singular form of expression. His “No” feels to much like hauteur. Manolo may have forgotten Proust’s insight on the question of frankness, when he said that “flattery is sometimes merely an overflow of affection and frankness the foam and slobber of a bad mood.”

    But for my part, I forgive this momentary lapse:-)

  6. desertwind July 14, 2007 at 7:28 pm #

    Ah, hell. It made me laugh.

  7. lisa July 14, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    Simple and honest. A gentle ‘no’. Truly the best response to this particular question.

  8. Abba July 14, 2007 at 10:57 pm #

    There is a lot to be said for a concise response to an impossible question. Vive The Manolo for his candor.

  9. enc July 15, 2007 at 2:34 am #

    One could also cite the shape and height of the heel, and the shape of the sole at the very front, where the toes peep out, as finer details which distinguish this shoe.

    I remember reading two years ago that the exchange rate of dollars to Euros was one of the prime reasons for shoe prices being so high . . . back then! Now, it’s two years later, and the prices are even higher.

    I also remember being shocked at how “high” the prices seemed back then. I seem to recall a time when a sandal like that might have cost $500 and seemed shocking. No more. Times have changed, and I’ve become desensitized. I barely batted an eye when I saw that price.

    One final note before I end my stump speech: These sandals are a classic design, not some short-lived, naff fad that will be “out” before you even leave the store with the precious shoes. These sandals will be wearable for as long as a girl can keep the shoes alive with proper maintenance and repair. Worth.It.Every.Time.

  10. retna July 15, 2007 at 5:35 am #

    If the fate of the universe were to depend on a shoe, perhaps this would be the shoe?

    These are truly exquisite, and it is not possible to find a copy that comes close.

    Let’s take it at that and not rake the poor Manolo over the coals for the honest answer.

    Having been adult and objective about the whole matter, the ‘deep-reading’ of the some replies were a hoot!

    Thank you for explaining yourself Manolo, although you didn’t have to.

  11. Noga July 15, 2007 at 8:53 am #

    “..the ‘deep-reading’ of the some replies were a hoot! ..”

    How else to do justice to this charming bagatelle, an entire blog dedicated with all due seriousness to create FUN out of a combination of shoes and platonic philosophy?

    What’s a bagatelle?

    “A bagatelle is a game-like literary tool used in fiction. The author empowers a character or object beyond natural or expected abilities (i.e. of comprehension, awareness, memory, etc.) so that it may carry a point across to the reader more transparently. A bagatelle creates a more direct communication between author and reader than common in fiction; it is the equivalent of a wink.” (Wiki)

    Wink, wink…

  12. Noga July 15, 2007 at 10:11 am #

    I submitted a comment earlier but for some reason it didn’t get posted. Here goes again:

    ” the ‘deep-reading’ of the some replies were a hoot!”

    Can’t let this go unchallenged. Manolo’s blog is a bagatelle. He has created a roguish persona who has converged shoes and platonic philosophy into one coherent discourse. I read his posts as an exercise in sophisticated archness and try to respond in the same spirit: you know, wink, wink… This is what makes it so much fun. It’s those who rush to exonerate Manolo from doing exactly what makes him Manolo that are the hoot.

  13. Benvenuta July 15, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    As for the color of those shoes, we have no reason to think that the color of the Manolo sandals is not misrepresented by computer screen too.
    We also don`t know if either the Manolo or the lady who asked the question have seen the satin sandals in real life. Or if the Manolo saw the shoes in second picture in RL. However, it is true that one color can look quite differently on satin and on synthetic and that.

  14. Jessica July 16, 2007 at 5:15 pm #

    The previous comment thread did not give the Manolo enough credit. Many has been the time previously that the Manolo has recommended the Franco Sarto or something similar for those of us who can’t, or won’t, pay $645 for a single pair of shoes. But Franco Sarto does not make teal/turquoise sandals with a braided back strap (and perhaps that’s a blessing, for both us and Franco Sarto’s employees).

    These two posts sum up all my ambivalence about the shoes The Manolo features. I love shoes. I love shoes a good deal. Were these sandals in the Victoria and Albert Museum I would study them for a while and sigh with envy at the women who got to wear them. But I am never, ever, ever going to buy them, in part because the guilt at spending $645 on one pair of shoes would be rather nasty (my wedding gown wasn’t much more than that, frankly, and I felt guilty for that cost) and in part because, like most designer shoes, they don’t come in a 9.5C.

    The trick is appreciating the lovely sandals and yet also coming to terms with the fact that the lovely sandals have no place in one’s life. The wit of the Manolo helps.