Which is Good

Manolo says, if you are looking for the entertaining discussion of matters fashionable, philosophic, and pop cultural, the Manolo suggests you visit the Which Is Good, the brand new blog of his internet friend Eliza Wharton.

Christian Louboutin Salsbourg Strappy Sandal For the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk losing the forest for the trees. But such is the nature of the modern life in which the pursuit of perceived happiness frequently results in actual and active unhappiness.

In such situations it does well for one to remember that not only do we not live in the Panglossian world of housebroken puppies and strawberry gumdrops, where everything always works out for the best, but that sadness and discontent and suffering are part of the human inheritance.

It is the small comfort.

But then, things get better or they do not. You will be happy again, or you will not. Seek solace where you can, in the writings of Epictetus, or the Psalms, or P.G. Wodehouse.

January is almost over, is it not?

Look! Beautiful shoes…

Christian Louboutin Salsbourg Metallic Leather Strappy Sandal

Salsbourg Metallic Strappy Sandals from the inimitable Christian Louboutin. Such thing of beauty go the long way to making our lives more bearable.


Entertainment at the Manolo Jewelry

Manolo says, charm bracelets, necklace bargains, January birthstones and the jewelry of the Globes of Gold, all entertaining and all available at the Manolo’s Jewelry blog.


The FN Shoe Star, Episode 2

Manolo says, and now the second episode of the FN Shoe Star is available on the interwebs for your viewing pleasure.

Please go and watch this now so that you may understand what the Manolo is talking about in the subsequent paragraphs. (It is only nine minutes in the length, far too short to be the onerous task.)

(tick tock, tick tock)

And, you are back….

This episode is the continuation of the auditions of the applicants for the six finalist positions, and as before, it was the succession of brief interviews in which the aspirants presented the sketches and the finished shoe to three editors of the Footwear News, led by the broodingly handsome Michael Atmore, who will certainly be playing the role of Heathcliff in the Footwear News summer production of Wuthering Heights.

Michael Atmore

'A half-civilised ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued; and his manner was even dignified: quite divested of roughness, though stern for grace.' ~ Emily Brönte

And now, imagine the Heathcliff constrained by having to work as the editor of the fashion-trade magazine…. the suppressed, primal rage bubbling beneath the surface as he orders the reshooting of the cover feature on the Teva Sandals… It has all the makings of the most amusing sit-com.

Be that as it may, it is nonetheless fun to watch Michael Atmore as the judge, if only to see the facial reactions.

As for what was submitted by the applicants this week, if you read the Manolo’s discussion of the previous episode you will instantly see that the same central problem persists: namely that the proficiency in cobbling is more difficult to acquire than that of the fashion sketching. (For the proof, look at the sketches versus the shoes in these examples: Alexandria, Brittany, Matthew, and so on.)

And so, as with last week, several designers displayed intriguing and attractive shoe sketches, only to be undermined by the lackluster, unoriginal, and/or poorly constructed actual shoe.

Maggies Shoe

$9.99 at Wal-Mart

This drippy and cheap-looking sandal above, produced by the Maggie, was singled out for particular scorn.

Although, not everything was junk. Christina produced the boot that was almost wearable, although she has the problem sketching!

Then there was Rachel, who not only made the good sketches, but actually delivered the tall boot that looked perfectly cromulent…

Rachels Boot

Rachels Boot

The bit over the top with the details, but not bad, although again the Manolo worries about the quality of the construction.

And this is, as the Manolo has said, the central problem: the construction of well-made and beautiful shoes is wicked hard.

Learning how to meld together disparate materials (cloth, leather, silk, wood, metal) into the single objet d’art takes years of practical training and experience.

It is the difference between being the apprentice and being the college student. Cobbling is learned by apprentices, fashion design to taught to students.

This is why the 21-year-old contestants of the FN Shoe Star are deficient in the matter of construction, because they have not accumulated enough time working with the materials before they were asked to turn their drawings into reality. Hands on experience is everything here. (This is also one reason why the young contestants on the Project Runway were so often able to make the beautiful clothing, they needed to master only cloth in its various guises, not cloth, leather, wood, and metal.)

And now, the true question of the week. Which six of the dozen applicants will be selected as the FN Shoe Star contestants? Who will go forward?

The Manolo believes that it will be Rachel, Matthew, Hyojin, LaQuonia, Nicole, and Christina.