Manolo the Columnist: Idalia Splatter Fringe Thong Sandal from Dolce Vita

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

Dear Manolo,

My college roommate, who is going to Europe for all of July, is loaning me her Manhattan studio apartment while she’s gone. I haven’t spent much time in New York, so I want to do a lot of walking, but I also want to look good. What do you recommend?


Manolo says, Ayyy! New York in July! So romantic! The smells, the angry peoples, the sticky things stuck to the bottom of your shoes! It is like visiting Mumbai without the teeming masses of humanity. Everyone has gone to the Hamptons for the week leaving you alone with the street vendors and the hotdog carts.

Of the course, the best part is that you will have all of the museums to yourself, just you and the other tourists, gawping at the pictures and saying, sotto voce, “Jeff Koons, heh. I could do that.”

But, wait, you are not the tourist. For the month of July you are the local!

You have the temporary possession of the 91 square foot studio apartment in the Alphabet City, complete with micro refrigerator, hot plate, and pole onto which you can drape your clothing. Yes, your former roommate’s apartment can only be accessed through the crawl space that was once the coal chute, and rents for $1700 the month, but still, Manhattan!

New York, New York! The rents are up, and your apartment’s down, the hole. New York, New York! It is the hell of the town!

Here is the Idalia Splatter Fringe Thong Sandal from the Dolce Vita, the perfect flat sandal for those hot days in the big city.

Idalia Splatter Fringe Thong Sandal from Dolce Vita

They Named That Shoe WHAT?!?

N.B. Our friend, the witty and oh-so-smart Nancy Friedman, is back!

“A shoe is more than a shoe,” the designer Maud Frizon once rhapsodized. “It is movement and repose; it is human contact with the earth.”

Oh, those shoe designers. They do get a little carried away. What else could account for the giddy names they often bestow on their creations?

Not all of them, of course. As I explained in my previous post about shoe names, some shoe brands follow logical naming formulas, using the first letter of a shoe’s name to identify its last (the shape on which it’s built) or its season.

And then there are the other names. The crazy, wackaloon names that make a shoe shopper wonder aloud, “What were they smoking?”

Exhibit A: this lovely Spring 2011 style from Aquatalia by Marvin K, available in platinum calf or black patent leather, with a fetching zipper in the back. It’s called—for no earthly reason I can discern—Flubby.

Aquatalia Flubby

I would have named it anything but Flubby

Dear Mr. Marvin K: Why? Surely you knew that “Flubby” was not a secret internal code but a name visible to every online shopper and many sharp-eyed store shoppers, too. What were you thinking? “Flabby”? “Flubber”? “To botch or bungle”?

This is not, by the way, Aquatalia’s first TNTSW (“They Named That Shoe What?!?”) moment. Consider Exhibit B, a tall, handsome boot from Fall 2009:

Aquatalia Smirk

Me, I might have named this boot something horsey, like Derby or Gallop. But not Aquatalia by Marvin K. Nope, they named the boot Smirk.

Now, a boot like this one might make you beam or grin in delight. One hopes, however, that it would not make you “smile in an affected, often offensively self-satisfied manner”—which is the definition of smirk.

I don’t mean to pick on Aquatalia (a brand name that quite reasonably blends “aqua”—the brand focuses on waterproof footwear—and “Italia,” where the shoes are manufactured). Let’s take a look at another nutty inspired namer from right here in the US of A, Stuart Weitzman.

Stuart Weitzman Rimactivity

A classic, versatile sandal in croc-patterned leather, yes? And look! It’s available in tons of sizes and widths. Think for a minute about the images and events this sandal evokes. Think about asking your favorite shoes salesperson to bring it to you. Now imagine choking on the style name: Rimactivity.

Rim. Activity. I’m a tough cookie, but honestly? I’m blushing.

Also in the current Stuart Weitzman collections: Blog, a conservative pump no blogger of my acquaintance would ever wear.

Stuart Weitzman Blog Pump

Blog, also available in basic black.

Weitzman is also partial to punny names like Russiahour (for a sporty, shiny oxford) and mouthfuls like Midpuffystuff (for a ladylike patent-leather kitten-heel pump).

But wait, it gets weirder! (Literally: I once encountered a Naturalizer shoe named Weirda.) Here, from Tsubo, is a slingback peep-toe pump that looks perfectly proper—even, you might say, angelic.

Tsubo Erebus

So why is it named Erebus, after the Greek god of the underworld?

Nor do comfort brands escape the temptation to name recklessly. Here we have a sensible, well-made sandal from the Dutch brand Wolky. (Wolky means “cloudlike” in Dutch.)

Wolky Rodentia

It’s called, creepily, Rodentia. For you non-scientists, “Rodentia” is the order of mammals that includes rats, voles, and nutria. I ask you: do you want rats on your feet?

If I were to name a shoe “Rodentia”—and I assure you, I would try my hardest to avoid doing so—here’s the shoe I’d choose:

Marc Jacobs Mouse Flat

Marc Jacobs Mouse Flat

But then again, no one asked me.

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers…

Bianca Jagger Platform Heel, Backstage Pass

As the Manolo said, this has turned out to be one of the most interesting and difficult Whose Shoes Wednesday challenges ever.

It is perhaps not surprising that no one identified this week’s celebrity of note, as we do not think of Bianca Jagger as being the comfort shoe lady, but that is what she has become.

Bianca Jagger and Dasha Zhukova

Bianca Jagger and Dasha Zhukova

Like many of us, she has tragically developed the bad feet.


Ayyyyy! It Looks Just Like Them!

The Royal Wedding Pizza

Pizza Fit for the Future King!

Manolo says, what better way to honor this historic event?

P.S. As found by our friend, the always amusing Twistie.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?


The Perfect Martini Glass

Manolo says, at the Manolo’s Food Blog, our friend the Raincoaster talks about the perfect martini glass.

Now, you may think I’m just being arbitrary and contrarian (moi?) but the fact is a Martini must be cold, very cold, to be very good. And the only Martinis you should drink are those which have been made very well, and served in glasses that will not interfere with your experience. Any glass that forces you to hold it by the bowl interferes, by turning you into a big, handsy gin warming device. And don’t try to kid me. “I’ll only hold it up near the rim” is the drinker’s version of “I didn’t inhale.”

But, now you must go read the whole thing.

What the Manolo Is…

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



Listening to…

The Platform was the Manolo’s first reading of the Houellebecq, and he cannot say that he will return again.

On the one of the hands, Platform is the compelling book. On the other of the hands, in the words of one reviewer, “scabrous”.

Yes, it is funny in places, but taken as the whole, it is the grueling slog through much that does not appeal to the Manolo.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 12

Manolo says, the 12th episode of the FN Shoe Star is now available for your viewing pleasure.

This week, the remaining designers are given the new challenge, to design the shoes for the bride who will be wearing the Vera Wang dress to her Puerto Rican wedding. (And, no, that is not the punchline to the tasteless ethnic joke. She is actually getting married in the San Juan.)

And, so, in preparation for the designing, the designer are given the three minutes to ask the questions of the bride about her impending nuptials. The answer that surprised the Manolo most was the date of the ceremony, “11-11-11, the date we will never forget.” Certainly, that is what those red poppies are for!

None of the designers seemed to fully understand that this Vera Wang dress was not the “traditional” wedding gown, but the unusual statement dress, with its blossom layers and black sash.

In other matters, the Manolo would like to give all of the designers the new hair-dos. Matthew would look better if he let his hair grow out, Keena should ditch the hippie bangs, Shannon needs something less architectural, and Rachel requires the hairstyle that does not make her face seem so narrow.

Next week, the designing!

Risp Knotted Peep-Toes from Manolo Blahnik For the Tax Day Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and …






Here is the Manolo’s best advice…put the thick envelope with the 1040 into the mail box, open the bottle of the mid-priced chardonnay, pour yourself the big glass, and stare at this for several minutes…

Risp Knotted Peep-Toe Pumps from Manolo Blahnik

The Risp Knotted Peep-Toe Pumps from the Maestro Manolo Blahnik

Beautiful, elegant, cool, classical, and guaranteed to take some of the sting out of life’s indignities.


Shoes! The Musical!

Shoes!  The Musical!

Manolo shouts, Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

P.S. Found, photographed, and forwarded to the Manolo by the Legatrix, and for that the Manolo thanks her profusely.

P.S.S. Here is the description of the show.


Do You Like Scary Movies?

Calling all slasher fans! If any of you loved the satirical classic Scream as much as I did (I know, I know…Scream 2 was decent and Scream 3 was an overall disaster, but the original was fantastic) I’m sure you’ve been counting down the days until our beloved heroine Sydney Prescott faces her masked murderer once again in Scream 4. Set to open this Friday, the film features a hot young updated cast (seeing as this sequel is 15 years after the original, the casting director clearly wanted some fresh blood to shed)  along with the original trilogies survivors for what I can only assume will be a splendidly bloody feast for the eyes.

Scream 4

The Scream 4 premiere was held in Hollywood this week, and while many stars attended the event including classic Scream veteran survivors Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox, it was the younger Hollywood starlets that stole the spotlight on the blood red carpet. Hayden Panettiere in particular looked stunning in her crimson red cocktail dress. I think she exudes class and simple elegance with her subtle diamond earrings and classic black pumps. Fresh faced and appropriately covered (except of course exposing the occasional artery for optimal stabbing precision) she is a great reminder that not all of young Hollywood is a lost cause.

Hayden Panettiere Scream 4

Good luck outrunning the killer in those high heels Hayden! I have to admit, she looks so great here that I almost don’t want to see her get sliced and diced by the good old Ghost faced killer. Perhaps he (or she? or they?) will be a slave to fashion and spare her for her wise choices? We’ll have to wait and see…


Manolo the Columnist: Blush from Kate Spade

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

Dear Manolo,

Every Easter since I’ve been a little girl, I’ve gotten a new spring dress and a new pair of shoes. Can you help me pick out this year’s pair?


Manolo says, it is the spring, the Manolo’s most favoritest time of the year, when the weather turns clement, and the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing, and the birds are singing their sweet songs of birdly love.

And, for the Manolo, Easter is the highlight of the season, when the church-going peoples get dressed up in their finery and parade themselves joyously before God, like the King David dancing in front of the Ark of the Covenant.

Of the course, for the children, Easter is the holiday that teaches the very important life lessons.

In the morning they will fling themselves headfirst into the pile of candy that has been delivered in the night by giant magic rodent. Afterwards, filled to bursting with the sugar, they will be forced in to the formal clothing and made to sit still on the hard pews while the preacher and/or priest waxes poetic at great length.

Excessive Indulgence and fairy tales, followed by the lengthy period of enforced obedience and boredom, it is good training for college and the working life that follows.

Here is the Blush from Kate Spade, the open-toe slingback with the tiny mesh daisies that are fully expressive of the unbounded joys of the season.

Blush from Kate Spade