Manolo The Columist

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

Dear Manolo,

I am a young artist working in Seattle, and my company has instituted, horror of horrors, a new dress code! I have a pair of black wedges that I love, but I need some adorable (and affordable!) close-toed shoes to go with my new chocolate brown pants and skirts. Please help.


Manolo says, the Manolo is glad to hear that some companies are attempting to reinstitute professional standards of dress.

Things have gotten bad, very bad , so that to judge by the costumes seen in the businesses of America we would appear to have become the nation of indigent day laborers and infantile simpletons, clad only our tattered clothes and silly teenaged sports wear.

Indeed, if the trend continues, the Manolo expects one day to find his banker dressed in board shorts, flip-flops and the risqué novelty t-shirt, with the New York Yankee’s baseball cap jauntily perched upon his head sideways, and greeting the Manolo with the fateful words “What up, dawg?”

At which point the Manolo withdraws all of his money and moves to Montevideo, Uruguay, where at least the bankers still look like bankers.

Look, here is the Enemy from Franco Sarto, the hip and reasonably-priced, suede shoe-bootie available in brown or black.
Enemy from Franco Sarto    Manolo Likes!  ClicK!


Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers, it is the Kate Bosworth!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend Liz B., who was the first person to correctly identify this week’s personality of noteworthiness.


The Manolo On Glamour

Manolo says, the Manolo has down the comprehensive interview on the subject of glamour with his internet friend, and all-around smart person, Virginia Postrel for her blog Deep Glamour.

Here is the little portion of what awaits when you go to read the whole thing.

1) How do you define glamour?

Glamour is the peculiar and elusive characteristic that combines, in unspecified and unspecifiable proportions, the qualities of charisma, style, beauty, desirability, confidence, rarity, and mysteriousness. In fact, it is almost impossible to fully define what makes something glamorous. As with the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity, we have trouble defining glamour, but know it when we see it.

Having said that, the Manolo further avers that of all the previously mentioned characteristics, the most important are beauty and mysteriousness.

That which can be held closely and examined intimately loses its glamour, which is why the most glamorous of persons (Jackie O, Greta Garbo, Lord Byron, Galla Placidia, Cleopatra, Sappho) have always had something wonderfully opaque about them. Their motives are not well known, perhaps even to themselves, and thus it is this mysteriousness that in large part makes them glamorous. Likewise without beauty, such mysteriousness does not fully compel us.

By this definition, to be glamorous is to be extraordinary, perhaps even uncanny, unheimlich, if you will; the exact opposite of ordinary. What makes someone glamorous cannot be fully and clearly comprehended.


7) Most glamorous place?

Can the place be glamorous? Yes, but only until you visit it, and then your illusions of glamour are dispelled by the mundane things of the everyday world that you cannot help but notice, like traffic jams, and garbage collection, and sewers that back up when it rains too much. Thus Venice is glamorous, until the breeze off the Adriatic brings in the smell of rotting fish and raw sewage, at which point it is like Hoboken with better architecture.

And so, the Manolo would have to say, that for him, the current most glamorous place in the world is Saint Petersburg, but only because he has never been there.

As the footnote, the Manolo must explain that romantic and glamorous are not the same. The place like Venice, which sometimes smells of rotting fish, or Paris, where the traffic is sometimes horrific, are still terribly romantic, while Hoboken will never be romantic, even if it were to smell constantly of roses and freshly roasted coffee.

There is, of the course, much, much more.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?


What the Manolo Is…

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



The Manolo cannot believe that he has not seen the Sideways movie before this. Truly, this was the significant gap in his cinematic education, now rectified by the Argentine cable channels’ mania for showing movies in their entirety, uncensored, in the original language with the subtitles.

The movie was enjoyable and well-made, and rang mostly true, if annoying in places. However, what made most enjoyable for the Manolo was how well it shows one of the Manolo’s favorite places in California, the Santa Ynez valley in the northern part of Santa Barbara County, where the Manolo has been many times since the early 1980s, and where he has many friends.

Prominently featured was the justifiably famous Hitching Post in Buellton, where the Manolo has eaten many times (although not nearly as many, it should be noted, as he has eaten in the remoter original Hitching Post in the tiny hamlet of Casmalia).

Until the Manolo’s recent removal to Buenos Aires, the Manolo considered the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys to be the place where one could obtain the best steaks in the world, and ranked three of the steakhouses in that region: The original Hitching Post, F. McClintocks, and the Far Western Tavern to be among the top four steak restaurants anywhere, the lone outsider being Peter Luger in Brooklyn. (Other contenders for the throne, drawn chiefly from among the over-priced and masculinely kitschy New York and Chicago steak houses, whom the Manolo declines to name, are more for the show than the actual go, being more for taking the clients to impress them than otherwise. And do not get the Manolo started on that entire Ruth’s Chris nonsense.)

These past few weeks in Buenos Aires are forcing the Manolo to reevaluate his opinions regarding beef and how it is to be eaten. And he has not even tried those three our four restaurants which are considered the best parrillas in the city! Still, seeing this movie the other night has invited this comparison, one which the Manolo is still weighing.

Ayyyy! Puzzle Corner

Manolo says, this week, Spirit Fingers invites us to identify the celebrity Halloween costuming. Trust the Manolo when he says that this is the tough one.


Michael Kors for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, working like the dog to make the ends meet. Thankfully, you have your good job, and your good man, and the house that is mostly almost paid for, even if the recent months have not been kind to your equity.

Happily, this was your dream home when you bought it, and you have no intention of leaving, ever. This sentiment has only grown stronger with your recent remodeling, in which you have finally installed the granite coutertops and stainless steel appliances of your dreams. (Yes, it is true, stainless steel is this generation’s Harvest Gold.)

But, what can you do? You are the product of your desires, as mediated through the images shown in Architectural Digest and Better Homes and Gardens and MTV Cribs, plus you had the powerful hankering for appliance garages, many, many appliance garages filled with exotic tools like carrot juicers and electric grape skinners, tools that your late Granny Dee, (who you remember using kindling to start the fire in her cast-iron cook stove) would have regarded as sinful extravagances.

But, you think to yourself, such is the nature of progress. Granny Dee made the world’s best fried chicken on her wood-fired stove, and forty years later you dream of building your own backyard peasant forno, so as to make the perfect chicken pesto wood-fired pizza.

It is axiomatic that we always love the peasant culture of other peoples more than our own, no? The phrase Hog-killing time in Alabama brings nothing but mockery from the same people who speaking glowingly of the “charming authenticity” of the Spanish matanaza del cerdo, and yet both events are fueled by the same motives: cultural pride, machismo, too much alcohol, and the promise of abundant and tasty pork.

Ayyyy! Your mind has wandered!

You must come back to the matter at hand, finding handsome and stylish new shoes to celebrate this fine October day. Look! here is the Annabel Sling from Michael by Michael Kors, the reasonably priced and exceedingly stylish slingback pump.

Annabel from Michael by Michael Kors   Manolo Likes!  Click!

The Manolo Week in Review

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

Spirit Fingers…

Who wore it better?


I wish to make it clear that I have nothing whatsoever against Jayden personally. I’m sure he’s a fine young man. I even have nothing against Britney, who is, after all, called Britney, and who could hardly be expected to name her offspring after the more popular 4th Century BC philosophers.


The Big Question: Who is the Fantasy You?


Quiero hacer uso de este espacio para denunciar a la peor enemiga de Julieta Venegas: su estilista personal.

Mr. Henry…

Chefs are cantankerous. Why then, in the name of pleasure, in the name of all that promotes good digestion, should chefs conduct their bloody rites in front of you? Although watching chefs at work can be instructive, restaurants are not cooking classes.


I give you Cayetano Ordonez, top matador, Armani model and one hot piece of azucar. AND HE HAS A BROTHER. Who fought off –WITH HIS BARE HANDS– a bull that was attacking Cayetano.


Pero hoy les hablo de los zapatos de YSL, de una altura normal, pero quiero saber ¿que les parece andar con un prototipo de zapato por la calle? me explico…un zapato se dibuja, luego se “pasa” toda esa información al ordenador de turno y se ve algo así al comienzo del diseño final de un zapato.


Es como la mujer perfecta que siempre tiene el atuendo perfecto para el momento perfecto. Sin embargo, me pregunto si el hecho de ser tan maravillosamente inmaculada, afecta la consideración que se le debe como referencia de estilo.


Let’s read their lovely description: “Featuring a dress with sexy lace-up bodice…” Yes, that’s exactly the look I want for my twelve year old.

Never teh Bride…

An acquaintance of mine recently announced that she has completed all of her holiday shopping. When I picked my jaw up off the floor, all I could do was nod mutely.


While many of us think about it more at Halloween than at other times of the year, the Goth subculture is with us always. And of course where you have a subculture, you have people marrying in it.


Manolo the Columnist

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

Dear Manolo,

My husband has surprised me with tickets to see my favorite opera singer, Denyce Graves, in her signature role, Carmen. I have decided to wear my favorite “little black dress,” a vintage wrap dress that was my grandmother’s. Can you help me find the perfect shoes?


Manolo says, Denyce Graves as Carmen? Ayyyy! Que suerte, what wonderful good luck!

Of the course, whenever one attends the opera the temptation is strong to go beyond simply “getting dressed up” and move into the realm of costuming. The Manolo cannot tell you how many times he has seen buxom blonde women wearing pigtails to see Wagner, or dark-haired women with consumptively pale makeup for La Boheme.

However, it is Carmen that brings out the worst offenders, women who affect Spanish mantillas, and put tall combs in their hair, and the single rose behind ther ear.

Do not do this, unless you are prepared to go the full measure of costuming, by putting your husband into the matador’s traje de luces, the so-called “suit of lights”, with the be-sequined bolero jacket, pink tights, and bullfighting slippers. If you are going to do something silly, do not make it the half measure.

Look, here is the elegant black slingback pump from Christian LaCroix, the shoe with its very own “Flower Song”.

Slingback Pumps from Christian Lacroix   Manolo LIkes!  Click!


Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers, it is the Barbara Stanwyck!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend Long Island, who was able to get this week’s celebrity straight away.

Butt Bows On The Move

Manolo says, for those who like to keep up with the exciting world of bridesmaid fashion, Never teh Bride has news, the butt bows have migrated!