The Rose in Autumn

Manolo says, like the shoe-shaped Bat Signal, the plaintive cry went out from deep within the blogosphere, “Manolo, please explain to us this picture of Sarah Jessica Parker, as it has vexed us mightily.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Tokyo

Although the Manolo’s good friend Linda Grant would likely refer to this picture as “mutton dressed as lamb,” the Manolo would prefer to call it “The Rose in Autumn…Late Autumn.”

On the one of the hands, Sarah Jessica Parker looks as good as she possibly can: fit, happy, perhaps the too much eye makeup, and the too little powder, but otherwise vibrantly alive and shining with mature femininity.

On the other of the hands, this Vivienne Westwood dress is the decade too young for her. It is the lighthearted Englishy pattern with the handkerchief hem, more suitable for the milkmaid on the springtime bender in the city, than the worldly sophisticate at the movie premiere.

Perhaps it is meant to be in character for the fictional Carrie Bradshaw, who is the definition of over-the-top-ness, although, sadly, this dress does little good for the real Sarah Jessica Parker. (It should be noted that the whole point of Vivienne Westwood is over-the-top-ness, and to chose her is to go down the bright and flowery, gold-belted, spangly path to perdition.)

The second, and more perplexing matter, is the Charlotte Olypmia platform pumps, of which the Manolo’s friends have inquired “How? Why?”

The problem is that unless you are the Japanese Lolita Princess Fairy, you cannot credibly mix these outrageous shoes with anything that is itself outrageous. If these shoes are to be worn you must first be absolutely certain you can walk in them (which if anyone can walk in these it is the Sarah Jessica Parker) and secondly, they can only be paired with something that allows them to be the focus of the total outfit.

The Manolo would have advised the SJP against the dress, as lovely as it is. However, if she were intent on wearing the dress, the Manolo would have softened the makeup, put the hair down, removed the belt, ditched the necklace, and changed the shoes for something elegant and minimalistic, something that would be the next thing to barefeetedness, for this dress is adornment enough.

Of the course, the problem is that we are no longer in the era of elegant and minimalistic shoes. In the stead, now we are in the era of fantastical and expressive shoes-as-art-and-armor, heavy shoes with greaves and metal plates. While this is perhaps somewhat satisfying for the Manolo, such shoes preclude certain ornate dresses from being worn in seriousness.

More simply put, you cannot mix statement shoes with statement dresses.

And, finally, while Carrie Bradshaw/Sarah Jessica Parker might have been able to get away with this outfit at the peak of the previous decade of excessiveness, in this present somber age of anxiety and restraint, this richly frivolous getup is unsettling.

13 Responses to “The Rose in Autumn”

  1. LaLarson June 17, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    I love the fabric (I thought florals were in this year) however, that hemline is too much. And actually, I feel sort of bad about saying anything, because she seems so happy to be wearing that outfit.

  2. deja pseu June 17, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    suitable for the milkmaid on the springtime bender in the city

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Yes, there is too much going on here…the dress, the shoes, the jewelry…all locked in an epic struggle for world dominance. Or something.

  3. Phyllis June 17, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Linda was right!

  4. vanderleun June 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    The Kachingers are so gratified and soothed when the Manolo hears the cri de curs and answers the plaints of the sphere.

  5. raincoaster June 18, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    I love this dress, but not on her. And I’ve always hated those hidden platform shoes: they look cheap and deceptive to me, although I know they’re NOT cheap. And the two together are a disaster.

    This dress would go perfectly with the only Prada shoes I’ve ever liked, the Coralla Oro
    http://shoeblogs.com/2008/02/08/prada-corallo-oro-summer-2008/

  6. LaHolandaisa June 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    We need more posts like these! Your writing is flawless!

  7. Website Designer June 19, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    I am surprised, how can she even walk with such footwears :o)

  8. Wilbur June 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    Just give her a feedbag of oats and she’ll be fine.

  9. Chiken June 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Wilbur – Your comment is horrid and makes you seem horrid as well. I hope this is not indicative of your true nature.

  10. Manolo the Shoeblogger June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Worse than horrid, the comment left by Wilbur is simply witless.

    There is no humor, nor style, nor panache, nor depth in it. It is just the simple-minded, mean-spirited restatement of the most common jibe leveled at Sarah Jessica Parker, that she is horse faced. This is the sort of “joke” that lost its snap sometime in the mid-19th century.

    The Manolo’s advice is always the same, if you are going to be mean, you must at the least be funny, otherwise you risk looking dumb.

  11. pam June 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    shoot me. i like it. all of it.

  12. Bunion shoes June 24, 2010 at 5:50 am #

    Hehehe!! There is a lot going on now…the dress, the shoes, the jewelry…all locked in an impressive effort for world ascendancy. And I’ve always loathed those hidden platform shoes.

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