Project Runway, Season Five, Episode 3

Manolo says, ayyyyy! It is the season of tulle! The two-in-the-row triumph of the tulle-based outfits would not be so would not be so bad, except that it portends something much more disturbing…the return of the 1980s!

The signs of this fashion apocalypse are all there: last week it was the shorty skirts and tulle petticoats; this week, modified big-shouldered “power-bitch” dress. Add to that anything produced by Stella, who has the Ratt/Twisted Sister aesthetic permanently etched into her cortex (where it is always 1983 and bitchin!) and thus you have the beginnings of the trend, one which must be smothered in its cradle.

Sadly, the Manolo is but one person, the lone voice in the wilderness, desperately wishing for the return of the early 1960s fashions (Michael Kors is trying!), or those of the 1920s, or even better, the Edwardians, anything but the 1980s.

Meanwhile, back at the Project Runway ranch, the designers were dispersed via double-decker tour bus into the rainy Manhattan night and told to return with New York images suitable for turning into the party outfit.

As far as the challenges go, this one was better than most at showing how designers find inspiration and harness it, and in general the dresses it produced were tolerable. For the Manolo, the best outfits were, in descending order of merit, Leanne (who should have won), Korto, Terri (although, the Manolo despises on principle the dresses-over-slacks look), Suede, and Joe.

For many reasons, not the least of which was the 80s inspiration, the Manolo did not care for the winning design, although he has decided that Retro-girl Kenley is among the most competent and capable of the designers, and will likely be one of the finalists.

Indeed, right now the Manolo’s finalist money is on Kenley, Terri, Kelli, and possibly Suede and/or Leanne.

In other matters, Keith the Angry Gay Mormon is not here to make the friends!

And Blayne…

a.k.a Speedy, is trying to act all Krazee-Eyez Killa, hoping that this bizarre behavior will immunize him against the fact that he has little talent for design.

And this brings up something the Manolo has been wanting to talk about for many weeks now, something the Manolo calls “faux eccentricity”, the tendency of among many young fashion designers to adopt outrageous clothing and patently false personas in the hopes that they will mask the fully conventional heart which beats beneath.

Grotesque tattoos, wacky clothing, and affectedly stereotypical personas do not the unconventional mind make.True and original eccentricity is as rare as the white buffalo.

Indeed, from the past Project Runway seasons only Jay and Santino have been well, truly, and uniquely eccentric. And it is not the coincidence that both have been outsiders in every sense of the word.

This season, only Stella, who has decided to live her entire life as if she were in the Whitesnake video, and holds to this position even when evidence suggests otherwise, comes closest to being the true eccentric, although her eccentricity is not in the least ways original.

The Manolo mentions this only because he finds so much of this straining to be different so very tiring. Oh, how he longs to encounter the true original, someone who does not merely look different, but truly thinks different.

The Big Question

Manolo says, our dear friend Plumcake asks the Big Quesiton, what has been your most embarassing wardrobe malfunction?

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers, it is the Farrah Fawcett!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend Cape Mama who was the first to correctly guess whose shoes.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?

What the Manolo Is…

Manolo says, it is Tuesday, time to see what the Manolo is…



Listening to…

The workings of the human mind are truly the mystery, no?

For several days now two songs have been playing continuously–round, round, baby, right round–in the Manolo’s mind. The first is the marvelously hummable “The Brotherhood of Man,” from the the quintessential 1960’s workplace musical comedy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

The second is, inexplicably, the opening few chords from Dolly Parton’s “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That.“.

The mysterious brain part is that, as far as the Manolo knows, he has not heard either of these songs in the past few weeks, and yet there they are, on the continual reply loop in his head. And so, the Manolo has decided that the best therapy is to see the movie and listen to the Dolly, not exactly the onerous tasks.

P.S. When the Manolo hears “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That,” in his head, these are NOT the mental images that accompany it…


The Elie Tahari Janine Driver

Janine Driver by Elie Tahari     Manolo LIkes! Click!Janine Driver by Elie Tahari    Manolo Likes!  Click!

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s current favorite shoes is this fabulously cute, driving flat from Elie Tahari, known as the Janine Driver.

Without fail, everytime the Manolo sees it, it puts the smile on the face of Manolo, and if that is not the recommendation of merit, the Manolo does not know what is.


Manolo the Columnist

Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

The end of the summer is approaching and I’ve been invited by my family to spend a long weekend at the shore. What can you recommend that would be suitably casual, but still stylish, and could make my legs look good in short shorts.


Manolo says, as is his customary summer habit, the Manolo has spent the past few weeks in Malibu, enjoying the beach, the marvelous weather, and the lifestyles of the rich and botoxed.

While he has been here the Manolo and his crew, the Posse Manolo, have been rolling down Robertson, Melrose, and in the Grove, the super fantastic shopping areas of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

The Manolo has noticed several hot trends among the young and hip; tight-tight straight leg paints, or their opposite, wide-legged jeans, suit vests, lightweight scarves, the color gunmetal gray, and the return of that old WASPy staple, the Sperry Top-Sider. In short, the dominant trend among the youthful of Los Angeles is hipster prep, the look the Manolo finds quite amusing.

In honor of these trends, here is the wedge-heeled, “Authentic Original” Sperry Top-Sider in the gold metallic color that would look great with the tan legs.

Wedge Heel Original Authentic Sperry Top-Sider    Manolo Likes!  Click!


Project Runway, Season 5, Episode Two

Manolo says, this week’s Project Runway challenge was the example of how putting two good ideas together can sometimes result in one confusing disaster.

The first idea, to do the outfit made from the ecologically sensitive “green” material, is excellent. Although the Manolo confesses, that when he first heard the term “green cocktail dress”, he thought literally “green” as in the color, which is also the great idea for the challenge, as green is one of the most difficult colors to make fashionable. (Red = Hot. Blue = Cool. Green = Elf or Comanndo, take your pick.)

The second idea, to have the models shop for the fabric, is also the good idea with much potential for hilarity.

Unfortunately, when combined the two ideas resulted in trouble all around, as the significant proportion of the fabric-shopping models settled on the hemp and organic silk blend in the baby-poop brown, the color that flatters no one not born in Tolkein’s Middle Earth.

And so the models return to the work room where instantly the disgruntlement became so thick among the designers that you could have cut it into sections and sewn it into the organic cocktail dress.

But, first, before we can see what the designers are doing, we must be treated to fifteen minutes of personalities on parade, focusing primarily on two of the designers.

Stella is the toughest talkingest biker-rocker chick since Leather Tuscadero! The Manolo expects that later in the season we will be introduced to her “gang”, the Stella-ettes, the group of sarcastic tough girls who aggressively chew gum and smoke cigarettes at the same time. Look for them to extort lunch money from one of the indistinguishable mousey/nerdy brunettes in the girls’ room after algebra class.

Suede likes to talk about himself in the third person, the habit which can be comedy gold in the right hands, but in this case is mostly tedious and annoying. What the Manolo most objects to, however, is the blue faux-hawk. This is what passes for renegade eccentricity this season, the soft half-measure of mild middle-class rebellion.

During this period, the 12th level zen master Tim Gunn walked among then, dispensing advice that could not be ignored.

And then it was on to the runway, where we were introduced to Natalie Portman, dressed head-to-toe in the most fashionable items found in the Fred Segal’s toddler’s department (speaking of green-colored fabric making you look elfin). Ayyyy, but this woman is tiny. Next to her, Heidi appeared to be some sort of Godzilla, threatening to knock the terrified villagers’ church steeples into the sea.

In the end, Suede’s winning dress was interesting and original, but that shorty tulle petticoat rendered it unwearable by anyone other than the 25-year-old Desperately Seeking Susan Madonna.

And the losers? Korto’s dress was the hideous buttocks-emphasizing disaster, and Leanne’s was wickety-wack personified. But it was Wesley’s outift, the unattractive, poorly-made mess, that clearly merited the axe.

As for the other outfits, the less said the better.

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers, it is the Dyan Cannon!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend Kari, who correctly answered what the Manolo considered to be one of the most difficult whose shoes challenges to date.

As the note, this week’s choice of Dyan Cannon was occasioned by the Manolo seeing her in the crowd on Saturday at the Grove, where the Posse Manolo was rolling. Sad to say, girlfriend is getting somewhat Wildensteiny.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?


Lilly Pulitzer for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday, and you are not at at your desk slaving away.

You are not at your desk for the very good reason that you have become that most pitiable of peoples, the business traveler; the pilgrim of commerce, outbound to your corporation’s North-East-Central regional office in the beautiful, lakeside vacation city of Erie, Pennsylvania! (Just like Lake Como, only with more soot!)

But before you can do your business and then retire for the evening to enjoy the homey comforts of the Airport Suites Inn, (Ice! Free waffles! The coffeemaker in the bathroom!) you must first do battle with the American air transportation system.

It starts with the indignity of the security checkpoint, where your reinforced foundation garments repeatedly set off the metal detectors, the delay which nearly causes you to miss your flight to Altoona.

Altoona? Yes, who knew that the cheapest connection to Erie from LaGuardia involved the plane changes at Altoona and Atlanta (in that order), with the final leg into Erie on Belavia, the national airline of Belarus, which, at least unlike the American airlines, offers you the free inflight drink and snack, even if it is the shot of vodka from the communal glass and pickled smelts from the big jar.

Luckily, and perhaps it is the vodka, but everyone on Belavia seemed so nice, including the pilots, who halfway through the flight (during the group sing-a-long) came back into the cabin and did the little cossack dance, which is again unlike the American carriers where everyone is tetchy and surly, and the flight attendants bark orders at small children and nursing mothers.

And now it is nearly 2 pm, and after ten hours of flying, you are sitting in the coffee shop near the Erie International Airport, killing the few minutes on the internet before you must make your triumphant appearance in the regional office.

Oh, how you wish you were going away on permanent vacation, to the islands, where you could shuck your constricting business clothes. On the resort beach in your dreams, you could wear the bikini (well, maybe the tankini) with the colorful coverup wrap and the beautiful resort sandals, perhaps like these, the Petal Pushers from Lilly Pulitzer.

Now that would be travelling in style!

Petal Pushers by Lilly Pulitzer    Manolo Likes!  Click!


The Manolo Week in Review

Manolo says, here is the best of the week from the Manolosphere.


To celebrate the first of what I’m sure will be many times I’m turning 29 I am going to wear head-to-toe French designers, eat as much chocolate mousse as I can decently shove down my gullet and then buy myself a new carré foulard because if I’m going to die old and alone with my dessicated ovaries rattling around in my abdomen like maracas, I’m damn well going to do it in Hermès.

Spirit Fingers…

Jessica Biel, languishing backstage…

Mr. Henry…

Ensure may well be parody-proof, but its use in hospitals is positive proof of the commercial might of America’s corn and soy agro-industrial complex. To Mrs. Henry, and to anyone who eats a sensible diet, Ensure tastes like poison. Why can’t hospitals figure this out?


Chicos con los calores que hay a estas alturas del mes de Julio, ¿creen que podrán esperar al Verano del 2009, para calzar estos Hermès? Yo desde luego si fuera ustedes, no, no podría esperar.


Francesca promised to bring you more work-appropriate, sleeved cotton shirts, and since she is not like the man who says “I will call you,” she is actually fulfilling her promise.


This upset the little boy, who was whining and hitting people’s hands away from the water and the buttons. He was easily six, if not older, so should have known a bit better than to do that.


Now, nobody here is asserting on the record that breeding is more lucrative than releasing a new album.


El otoño es la estación de los cuadros y de las niñas hermosas que dominan el mundo. Stefano Gabbana y Domenico Dolce transforman la dureza de un androide despiadado en belleza que duele mirar. La fórmula continúa en el mismo sendero de otras temporadas, sin embargo, hoy captura un aire distinguido que la hace mucho más seductora.

Never teh Bride…

If you’re thinking of following in our footsteps, I recommend a change in perspective. It’s not a weed; it’s broad-leafed ground cover! That’s not a nasty old dandelion; it’s a pretty flower here to brighten your day and bring bees to your neighborhood!


Wedding vows. These are the words that bind a couple in marriage. Some couples take comfort and inspiration in repeating the same words their faith has been using for generations upon generations. Others prefer to strike out on their own to create something uniquely personal.

Isisdore Gallant…

A shy-looking Christopher Bailey, the creative force behind Burberry Prorsum, demonstrates a major design flaw in all jeans:


Con el único afán de convertirse en auténticas estrellas del chic system mundial, varias estrellitas (estrelladas) han intentado a últimas fechas hacerse de piezas de runway para ‘deslumbrar’. Y en efecto lo han logrado.