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Blog.mode Address Fashion | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Blog.mode Address Fashion

Manolo says, there is the new exhibit that has just opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute entitled Blog.mode Addressing Fashion and sponsored by the Maestro Manolo Blahnik. This morning there was the very good article in the Wall Street Journal about this show.

Fashion criticism has long been the exclusive realm of an insular band of journalists who traveled the big runway shows in Paris, Milan and New York and seemed to speak their own esoteric language. But the Met’s new exhibit, “Blog.mode Addressing Fashion,” is inviting anyone with an Internet connection to critique the clothes on display. With its new blog, blog.metmuseum.org/blogmode/, which went up this week, the august museum is also acknowledging that traditional fashion criticism is over.

The Manolo has been talking about this very thing, the democratization of fashion and fashion reportage and criticism for more than three years now.

The article continues.

“There’s a whole new field out there,” says Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s curator. He decided last summer to turn a retrospective of important garments acquired by the museum since 2000 into a three-way conversation of sorts between curator, designer and outside observers. “We wanted to further the practice of fashion interpretation and appreciation,” he says.

The exhibit features 65 garments arranged mostly chronologically, from a circa-1730 British waistcoat to Mr. Theyskens’s ballgown from a 2007 Nina Ricci collection. It contains work from prominent designers like Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garçons’ creative director, Rei Kawakubo, and Donna Karan. […]

In the middle of the exhibit, a “blog bar” invites viewers to post their own thoughts on the clothes. Curators decided to invite anyone to post comments on the blog after noticing over the past year and a half that fashion blogging is gaining momentum and respect. As influential blogs garner large audiences and advertisers shift ad spending to the Internet, designers and retailers are also beginning to view the medium as a new opportunity to reach people. […]

Many bloggers are “cultivated amateurs,” Mr. Koda said this week, while admiring the 18th-century red wool waistcoat. “I do not think bloggers will change the direction of fashion, but they can inform our interpretation of objects.”

The exhibit also illustrates how the Internet is making high-brow cultural institutions more accessible to a mainstream audience. “Curators aren’t these godlike creatures,” Mr. Bolton says.

The Costume Institute’s democratic approach to criticism surprises some industry experts. “What is astonishing to me is that the fashion industry is allowing these people to become important,” says David Wolfe, creative director at the Doneger Group, a New York retail consultancy.

Here is the person who does not understand how the new media works.

The fashion industry can neither “allow” nor nor not allow the fashion bloggers to become important. It is not within their ability to restrict us from writing what we think about various things. Nor is it within their power to keep many of us from becoming popular voices about matters sartorial. And if we become popular voices, then they, the fashion nabobs, must pay attention to us and our readers, for if they do not, they risk alienating their market.

Thus the importance of the fashion bloggers is entirely dependent upon whether or not they are being read, and has very little to do with the acceptance or non-acceptance of the fashion industry.

The good news, however, is that there are many in the fashion world who understand what is going on.

But some designers find it refreshing. “Fashion is supposed to be this exclusive world that nobody has access to,” says Hussein Chalayan, who uses elements of technology in his designs, such as a remote-control-powered dress in the show. But the Internet is changing that perception. “At the end of the day when you have a critic write about your work, it is just one person who is supposed to be an expert,” he says. “Why is this taken more seriously [than a blogger]?”

For designers, bloggers also represent a useful tool for market research and brand promotion. Shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, who sponsored the Met’s exhibition, says he thinks bloggers have been partly responsible for getting a younger generation of consumers excited about his shoes. One popular blogger who calls himself Manolo the Shoe Blogger has built a community of people who treat footwear criticism as if it were a team sport. “I love it,” Mr. Blahnik says.


Did the Maestro Manolo just say that he “loves” the Shoe Blog of the humble shoeblogger?

This is one of the happiest days of the in Manolo the Shoebloggers entire life!! (Although, this is not the first time the Maestro has mentioned the Shoe Blog.)

The fact that Manolo Blahnik, himself, would sponsor the exhibition about the intersection of blogs and fashion says everything we need to know.

23 Responses to “Blog.mode Address Fashion”

  1. Linda Grant December 20, 2007 at 9:47 am #

    This tribute has been recorded here, too http://thethoughtfuldresser.blogspot.com/2007/12/in-which-we-speak.html

  2. patti December 20, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    How awesome- your blog is so wonderfully entertaining, I am glad you were mentioned!!!

  3. kiddo December 20, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    What an all around fantastic post! Thanks, and congratulations Manolo!!!

  4. bour3 December 20, 2007 at 11:05 am #

    You both being named Manolo takes a bit of sorting. Is this sentence reflective? Checks. No.

  5. Toby Wollin December 20, 2007 at 11:09 am #

    Yes, Manolo, there IS a Santa Clause.
    As for “..allowing these people to become important,” I have this to say, “Pfssstht” (sound of sticking out the tongue and making the raspberry).
    This is a person who is sitting at his desk waiting for the phone to ring — the train has left the station while he is looking at his watch.
    And I never considered the idea that what we do here is “a team sport”, but I too feel honored that the spirit of Mr. Blahnik may be hovering over us as we type words into this. Now THAT’s the holiday spirit for sure.

  6. Phyllis December 20, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    Naturally, it comes as no surprise that David Wolfe works as a retail consultant and has about as close a connection to the creative end of fashion as Ticketmaster has to the arts.

  7. The Jennifer December 20, 2007 at 12:26 pm #

    While “cultivated amateurs” was meant to belittle, the root of “amateur” is “love.” So we are cultivated people who love fashion. Not too shabby!

    How could the Maestro not love the entertaining and erudite words of the Shoeblogger?

  8. Daniela December 20, 2007 at 1:07 pm #

    Muchos besos! You are indeed superfantastic, how could he not love you?

  9. Teresa December 20, 2007 at 3:54 pm #

    How could he not love you! I come and read here without comment because I’m not good at fashion like your regular commenters, but your blog and the comments are just so fun, that even the fashion impaired (such as I) can have a super fantastic time and maybe learn something along the way. It’s great to know Mr. Blahnik sees the value in this. Yay for the Manolo – long may you blog!

  10. Chaser December 20, 2007 at 4:13 pm #

    Dude! Congratulations!

  11. Joan H. December 20, 2007 at 4:35 pm #

    My heartfelt congratulations to the Manolo on the occasion of this most auspicious recognition by the Maestro, Manolo Blahnik.

    I do so love it when people I adore are singled out for the praise they deserve.

  12. Imelda December 20, 2007 at 5:26 pm #


    Merry Faaarrrrking Christmas, my friend. Halleluiah, I may just start taking in tongues I’m that excited.

    This precisely the reason I left my last job and started www. imelda.com.au – the democratisation of fashion and providing forum to constructively critique local and international footwear brands.

    Despite that I spent the last 12 working for EVERY major Australian Footwear retailer/wholesaler, I’ve hit brick wall after brick wall.

    There are mid market companies (one that I have worked for) that are so imperious it’s disturbing. “Our brands won’t be participating on your site”, it’s like WTF lady – I’m offering you FREE publicity with the opportunity to collect IMMEDIATE feedback on your brand. But hey, I’m just the village idiot – so if you can’t appreciate the value of this information then there are plenty of other brands that can.

    I’m in this for the long haul but firstly I need to change the perceptions of an entire industry!!!



  13. wannabe December 20, 2007 at 5:35 pm #

    Yeah for the Manolo! (Both of them). I would loosely define fashion as the intersection of an art form with necessity. Those who prize the art form (and the concomitant high amounts of cash art can bring in), tend to view it as a highbrow pursuit that the uneducated should not attempt while those who prize the necessity of it view the art form as irrelevant frippery bordering on immoral.

    The majority of your readers (if I may be so bold as to opine broadly upon your community), appear to be somewhere in the middle of that continuum. They admire the Manolo’s ability to appreciate the pure artful beauty of shoes and to educate our eyes by sharing the pictures of them, while recognizing that no matter how lovely, these items must still, somehow, be worn. Accordingly, the Manolo has many an amusing post deriding the badly designed shoes which seem to be only artistic statements by people who hate feet.

    In other words, we enjoy beauty and quality and we will buy it at the right price point. What more could the fashion industry desire?

  14. Tbone December 20, 2007 at 5:48 pm #

    I am thrilled that The Manolo loves the Manolo! You reaction is how I feel every time our humble little blog is mentioned here.

    Not only in the world of fashion but in nearly every cultural arena the “amateurs” continue to chip away little by little at the establishment. And surely The Manolo is right when he says that the readers decide whether or not the bloggers become influential.

    The evidence so far suggests that the old guard, be they in fashion or politics or history or televison or you name it are finding that the independent bloggers cannot be ignored. Indeed they offer an unmatched forum that provides immediate feedback which the mainstreamers used to bay big bucks to receive.

    And very few do this as well as The Manolo!

  15. Maggie December 20, 2007 at 6:41 pm #

    I’m most vexed that the idiot David Wolfe, with apparently zero understanding of different types of media, has a job and I do not.

  16. Cris December 20, 2007 at 11:37 pm #

    If the shoe fits, wear it!

  17. long island December 21, 2007 at 6:35 am #

    Ignore the words of the fool
    What a wonderful Christmas present the Maestro has given!

  18. Alcina December 22, 2007 at 12:11 pm #

    Congratulations to the Manolo! The Manolo deserves praise. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    Muchos besos back to you,


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  23. Grant Hill Sneakers June 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I am not sure that I can completely understand your comments. Would you be so kind as to expand on your reasoning a little more before I comment.