Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?


Aquatalia 2011 Fall Preview

Aquatalia’s new fall line is spectacular. The brand recently got some heavy duty hype due to their boots being the shoes of choice for princess-to-be Kate Middleton. Unfortunately, the shoes Kate chose to parade around in were from an older season and by the time the media buzz hit the the ears of shoe enthusiasts those particular styles were sold out. But fear not! The 2011 Fall line is just as lovely and sure to impress.

I was lucky enough to meet with fashion director Rena Krasnow and preview the new Fall collection. It’s not often that I find myself in midtown Manhattan at noon on a Wednesday, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity of a sneak peek. Rena was gorgeous, charming and incredibly stylish (rocking a pair of Aquatalia boots, obviously).   As we perused the new line and munched on delicious macaroons, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the quality and subtle details that make the collection stand out. The focus on comfort is impressive. Some styles even feature fur lining on the inside of the shoe for extra added coziness. I love a shoe that can please both the observer and the wearer.

Aquatalia Fall 2011 Boots

I found the true standouts of the line to be the boots. Marvin K. has designed a line that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also durable and functional. Fashion with functionality and comfort…what a concept. Many styles also feature a wonderful elastic band feature. This allows for us ladies to cover those cankles or engulf itty bitty calves in boots that are custom made to flatter women of every size. Cute, comfy and clearly fit for a princess.

My personal favorite touch: the red lining and hardware detailing on the back of the boot. So cute.

The new collection also features classic styles in a calf hair camo print. Not my favorites of the line, but the shoes feel amazing and look very luxurious. If camo is your print of choice, these shoes are the way to go.

Aquatalia Calf Hair Fall 2011


The new line will be available nationwide at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks. I just may have to indulge in a pair. New York is a rainy place, but a girl’s still gotta look good.


Botas Exoticas: The Leningrad Cowboys

Manolo says, the Manolo’s internet friend, the Yum Yum, has pointed to high-spirited Finnish rock band known as the Leningrad Cowboys, who for the past twenty years have been wearing the pointy hair and the pointier shoes.

The Leningrad Cowboys and the Botas Exoticas

In 1993, they even did the concert with the Red Army Chorus, of which the video below is the amusing artifact.

To the Manolo, the pointy-toes and pompadours of the Leningrad Cowboys have more in common with the Japanese Rockabilly dancers as the obvious appropriation and exaggeration of the American rock iconography, while the sudden appearance of the botas exoticas of the baile tribal are more sui generis and mysterious.

But, the Manolo leaves it up to you to decide.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 10

Many says, here is the latest episode of FN Shoe Star competition in which the remaining five designers present to the judges their versions of the toning shoes.

As you may recall, the Manolo was less than thrilled with this challenge, and, predictably enough, the resulting shoes justify the wariness of the Manolo. But, this was to be expected, yes?

“Make the toning shoe out of recycled material.”


But, before we can go to the judges table to view the carnage, we are treated to 45 mildly amusing seconds of Vasilios! kvetching at the designers, and offering not much in the way of usable suggestions.

And now, allow the Manolo to make the few short observations about each of the designers.

Keena is the smartest of the lot, not only is she well spoken, but she was also the only one smart enough to seem disgruntled by this silly challenge. Her shoe was nothing special, but her attitude was much appreciated by the Manolo.

Rachel is the marketing savviest of the designers. Does she have the degree in business? If not, she has been well trained in the dark arts of the sales presentations. The clear plastic glued to the outside of the shoe seemed gimmicky and cheap, but Rachel pushed it like it was the finest timeshare in all of Boca Raton.

Hyojin seemed to be confused and lost, and in her confusion she produced the same shoe that you would find on the shelves at the Dollar General store, marked down from $17.99 to $4.99. The Manolo is sorry to say that she will be eliminated this next week.

Matthew‘s chukka-ish boot was high concept but not especially exciting. Black on black on boring. Plus, he should not have cut his hair so short. He looks like the tennis ball with eyebrows.

Shannon is annoying, very annoying. Happily, her inflated sense of competency will soon lead to the most amusing disaster. On the other of the hands, however, allow the Manolo to give the girlfriend props for being the only one to try something different. Her boot was not bad when seen in the middle distance, until the top was rolled down, revealing the shiny interior lacing.

Of the course, the best moment of the whole show happened when Shannon was describing the wickety-wack…

Biotch Please

Olympian disdain and bemusment.

Who is the winner? Probably Rachel.


Diego Dolcini Tie-Ankle Cutout For the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk wishing you could be outside where the weather has turned seasonably vernal.

Outside, the bees are pollinating, the flowers flowerating, and the birds bird-a-mating, and you yearn to be with them, enjoying this green day.

The color of April is green, in the hundred thousand shades, dotted with the reds, and yellows, blues, and purples of the flowers that spring from the earth like the happy child leaping into your arms.

Inside, however, spring can gain no purchase in the land of eternal beige. It was beige in the fall when the season was orange and brown; beige in the worst of winter, when the land was brilliant with snow; and beige it will be still, when this season of life ends.

But you are not beige. You are green and red and purple and yellow, and your technicolor soul rebels against the tyranny of beige! You want to race outside, strip off your clothing, and roll around in the season!

But you cannot. This is the time of the crunch at your work, and you really need the job because the orthodontist is threatening to repossess your child’s teeth if his bill is not paid by the end of the month.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they file not TPS reports, nor toady the district manager. And yet, the Manolo saith unto you, Angelina Jolie in all her glory was not arrayed like one of these…

Diego Dolcini Tie-Ankle Cutout Pump

The Tie-Ankle Cutout Pump from Diego Dolcini.

Have faith, dear friends, have faith.


Botas Exóticas: Mexican Vaquero Elves!

Manolo says, from the Vice Magazine’s VBS.TV comes this amusing mini-documentary about the Mexican botas exóticas with the pointy-pointy toes.

In this episode of Behind the Seams we head to the dusty city of Matehuala, Mexico in search of the pointiest long-toed cowboy boots ever made. Over the past year, the botas vaqueras exóticas phenomenon has overrun the rodeo dance floors and clubs of this area and even spreading North into Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and any place where big groups of immigrant Mexicans have taken root. We made our way to Desierto Light, one of the clubs in this area where party promoters host dance-offs to music known as Tribal Guarachero. For the finals competition, the 17-year-old prodigy DJ Erick Rincón of the 3ballMTY crew performed for a crowd of adoring pointy-boot wearing raver cowboys.

What makes the Manolo laugh about this video is that like the historic poulaines, some of the botas are now curling back upon themselves in the classic design favored by the elves and the genies.


A Louboutin Love Affair

N.B. Today, the Manolo’s young friend Abigail Wilder Boatwright tells us about buying her first pair of the Louboutins.



I can’t remember when I fell in love with Louboutins. I know I was in college when I first began to notice them, on celebrities and in magazine spreads, and I know that I immediately had to have them. I just didn’t have the funds, so I spent a lot of time looking at them in magazines.

Of course, every chance I got, I tried on Loubies at department stores. Although, when I was planning my wedding, I decided not to buy a pair for my wedding outfit. Everything was already costing too much. But , when we went to Paris, last January, on our honeymoon, and I had to make the mandatory stop at Louboutin’s flagship store.

The Louboutin Flagship Store

Me, in Paris, at the Louboutin Store!

Tres bien!

I tried on shoes I’d never seen before and was in heaven. I decided to save for a pair of the No Prive slingbacks, and I really fell in love with two pairs that have since disappeared from the shelves: the Plume Anemone and the Studio 120 peep-toe pumps.

The Plume Anemone matched my wedding colors, and they are the hottest shoes I’ve ever seen.

Plume Anemone from Christian Louboutin

Plume Anemone from Christian Louboutin... Hot Feathery Shoes!

The Studio 120 matched my husband’s wedding ring exactly!

Studio 120 from Christian Louboutin

Studio 120 from Christian Louboutin and My Husband's Hand

I enjoyed visiting the store, but I didn’t buy Louboutins in Paris, the exchange rate was horrible.

I’m happy to report that early this year, I’d finally saved enough money to get a pair. After much deliberation, I decided on that classic pair, the No Prive Patent Slingback from Neiman Marcus. I ordered them online and waited anxiously for them to arrive.

When I got that package in the mail, I was shaking with excitement to open it up. My shoes were far more beautiful in person than I’d imagined. I had to take a photo with my ring on the heel, like I’d seen many brides do.

Christian Louboutin Red Soles

Christian Louboutin Red Soles, and my Wedding Ring.

I put my shoes on and walked around the house, showing them off to my husband. I realized they made my feet look dainty and sexy, and they instantly made me feel about 10x more beautiful. I just can’t describe
how much I love these shoes.

My Loubies made their official debut this weekend, at a masquerade party at our house. Though they are 4.5 inches high, they held up gallantly to four hours of socializing. I wear them around the house every chance I get—my cats and dog probably think I’m crazy. But I can’t wait to wear them out on the town.

My husband soon realized this is only the first of my red-sole brigade. I’m content for now, but my Loubies will need some friends someday!


Gary Busey Looks Terrible

Courtney Love Hit So Hard

It’s not all too shocking that famous rocker/notorious train wreck Courtney Love showed up looking like insane person Gary Busey to the premiere of ‘Hit So Hard’ in NYC this week. (An appropriately titled movie premiere, no?)

Courtney Love train wreck

You know how some photographers will post pictures of celebrities mid-sneeze or blinking to give the illusion that they are on drugs? Well in this case I think Courtney Love is just really on drugs.


Manolo the Columnist: Irene from Diane von Furstenberg

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

Dear Manolo,

In a few weeks I’ll be turning fifty, and I’ve decided that I’m desperately in need of a makeover. I see all these women my age and older who look really great in youthful outfits, so I’d like to try something new, but I’m afraid of looking like I’m trying too hard. What would you recommend?


Manolo says, Danger, Wilhelmina Robinson! Danger! One minute, you are the perfectly lovely 49-year-old woman who needs the new hairstyle, the good makeup, and the slight updating of her wardrobe, and the next you are the cougar hoochie-mama in the micro-mini skirt, cropped-top, and lucite platform heels standing in the tattoo parlor pointing at the picture of the dragon.

Better, thinks the Manolo, to do the candid self-assessment. What is your body type and who are the prominent women of the certain age you admire? It would be hard to pull off the Carine Roitfeld, aging-French-rocker look if you are zaftig, or have the retiring personality.

The Manolo’s best advice is to start slowly, with the new hair do and the new shoes. That may be all that is needed.

Here is the Irene from the Diane von Furstenberg (the potential role model!) which would be perfect for the vintage woman with the decent ankles.

Irene from Diane von Furstenberg