The FN Shoe Star Begins! Episode One!

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, the Manolo is excited to see that the first episode of the second season of the Footwear News Shoe Star is now on-line and available for all of his internet friends to view!

If you loves the shoes and the Project-Runway-type, reality-shows which mostly place the premium on actual design talent rather than witless drama, then you will enjoy the FN Shoe Star, which is the web-based reality show, sponsored by the Brown Shoe, in which the young aspiring designers compete to become the FN Shoe Star.

Black-Eyed Pea Fergie hosts the FN Shoe Star

FN Shoe Star: Fergie is the Host!

And now, before the Manolo makes his comments, he encourages you to go watch the first episode. It is only eleven minutes in the length and will give you the context needed to understand and appreciate what the Manolo has to say.

{The Manolo waits patiently, and yet also eagerly, for the return of his friends….}

What you watched was the was the first half of the two-part auditions episode in which the Footwear News editors, led by the handsomely dour Michael Atmore, pick the six finalists to continue with the competition.

For the Manolo, the worst part was that the episode ended too soon, just as the Manolo was becoming fully engaged. Yes, we live in the era of the short attention spans, but twenty or twenty-five minutes would have been the exactly right amount.

Other than this small quibble, the Manolo was pleased. The focus thus far has been on the shoes, and the discussions of the design thoughts in the heads of the young (very young!) designers-to-be.

As for the shoes, they were somewhat underwhelming. Most were pedestrian and not especially original, and in more than one case did not appear to be especially well-made.

But, what is to be expected? Like anything worthwhile, shoe designing and construction (the separate but vaguely related skills) are not easy, and many who attempt them at the young age (the very young age!) will need time and experience to perfect them.

Thus the Manolo was less worried about the flaws of construction than about the level of taste and originality on display.

For the example…

Funky is Not Scary

'Funky is not scary, just different,' said Shannon. The Manolo begs to differ.'

Skeletons wearing tasseled fezzes…

As inspired by Alexander McQueen’s cleaning lady’s cousin with the glue gun.

And yet, the boot which lies beneath these chintzy geegaws was fundamentally sound and not uninteresting, which proves the Manolo’s point about youth and experience and the little bit of aesthetic training. The Shannon, who attached these to the boots, was bubbly and fun and bright, and with the proper amount of guidance and some judicious editing could potentially turn out to be the decent designer of the shoes.

Here is yet the other example of that which the Manolo spoke…

Keena, Inspired by wheelbarrows

'Inspired by these amazing hand-crafted wheelbarrows,' said Keena

Compare this marvelous and colorful drawing, with the most unusual inspiration (handmade wheelbarrows!), to what the Keena actually presented to the judges as her sample shoe…

Keena FN Shoe Star Shoe

Keena's Sample Shoe

All of the judges noted that this shoe was so much more boring and workaday than the sketches, and the Manolo cannot but agree. Indeed, he suspects that the reason for this disparity is that Keena does not yet have the cobbling skills necessary to bring her designs to life. The basic black, peep-toe flat with the painted design is easy. Doing the super fabulous shoe with the medallion heel would be the order of magnitude more difficult.

Again, this is the problem of youth and the lack of experience and training.

And because the shoe designing and the shoe construction are the different things, the Manolo now wonders which will the judges award the most?

Will beautiful and original sketches be rewarded if the final product produced by the youthful designer is lacking in refinement? Or will the beautifully made but dullish shoe count for more?

Construction is the more difficult of the skills, but beautiful designing the more illusive of the arts.

And so, you must now be prepared to follow the FN Shoe Star with the Manolo for the next few months, because the Manolo has become utterly fascinated with what is developing here.

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2 Responses to “The FN Shoe Star Begins! Episode One!”




  1. La Larson Says:

    Manolo, this review makes me wish you’d start doing the Project Runway reviews again. They were always so funny.




  2. g-dog Says:

    Ugh! Keena ended up making leather peep-toe Converse All-Stars… Didn’t even use colorful paint…













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