Manolo the Columnist: Alicia from Aquatalia by Marvin K

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

Dear Manolo,

Thanks to my job, I’m on the road three weeks out of every four, logging hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles every year. Worse, I’m in the unenviable position of often having to go straight from the airport into a meeting with a client. Please recommend some shoes that will see me through this ordeal.


Manolo says, call the Manolo old fashionedishy, but the Manolo believes all the business travel should be done exclusively by the locomotive and steamship. Was the world not already sufficiently interconnected in the year 1878, when the great cities of Europe were the mere two weeks away, and places like the Newark International Airport existed only in the dystopian parts of the Jules Verne novel?

As the Manolo’s friend has said, travel is now the ordeal, especially for the business personage, who must cram all of her clothing and toiletries into the tiny rollaboard suitcase, and shove her way through the teeming masses of airport troglodytes in their velvet tracksuits and plastic flip-flops.

How much better it would be if our young commercial traveler could have the porters carry her commodious steamer trunk to her small but clean stateroom, while she takes herself off to the dining saloon for the light repast. Meanwhile, down below, the dock agent is directing the people in the novelty t-shirts and booty shorts into the cramped and dimly-lit section of the boat known as coach class.

Here is the Alicia from Aquatalia by Marvin K. the suede wedge pump that is both comfortable and suitable for businessing.

Alicia from Aquatalia by Marvin K

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.


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.


Manolo the Columnist: Ramona from Aquatalia by Marvin K

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

Dear Manolo,

I will soon be on my fabulous, romantic getaway in Italy. Yes, I’ll be there in the frigid and possibly wet days of February. Can you suggest an comfortable, stylish, and waterproof boot to keep my tootsies happy?


Manolo says, how wonderful to be going to the Bella Italia in the depths of the American winter, which by the time the Manolo’s friend arrives in Europe will be into its seventeenth straight month of below-freezing, snow-covering, icy-sidewalk-slip-and-falling fury.

Thus, the comparative warmth of Roma, albeit with the occasional rains, will be the welcome change.

Of the course, it is never the bad time to visit Italy, especially if your mind is set on amor. It is the perfect place to go with the loved one, what with the wine, and the food, and the heady atmosphere of antiquity, art and style. So romantic!

And, if you do not have the loved one, what better place to find the temporary loved one than Roma, where every handsome Silvio, Leonardo, and Tony stands ready to flatter you shamelessly, put you on the back of his Vespa and speed you around the Colosseum as if you were the seventeen-year-old exchange student who has slipped away from her chaperones.

Here is the Romana from Aquatalia by Marvin . the super stylish, weatherproof boot that would keep your feets dry while you tread the Via Appia. And look! They are made in Italy, so it will be like the homecoming for feets!

Romana from Aquatalia by Marvin K


Yet More Boots for the D.C.

Manolo says, in this morning’s column for the Express of the Washington Post, the Manolo must admit that he felt constrained by the restrictions imposed by his internet friend.

Yes, the Jenny by La Canadienne is the marvelous everyday boot for the months of poor weather, and it certainly fits the requirements of the question, but it is, to the mind of the Manolo, perhaps too plain to be truly and absolutely super fantastic. Therefore, please allow the Manolo to make the few additional recommendations…

Cookie from Aquatalia by Marvin K.

Here is the Cookie from Aquatalia by Marvin K., the suitable weatherproof alternative to the La Canadienne boots.

However, for those who wish to violate their self-imposed fashion austerity with the little bit of designer bling…

Donovan Boot from Tory Burch

The Donovan Logo Boot by Tory Burch.

Of the course, if our besotted suitor wishes to be the super fantastic super hero in the heart of his beloved, he will completely ignore her demurrals and offer to her these…

Miss Tack Botta 85 Tall Boot by Christian Louboutin

The Miss Tack Botta 85 Tall Boot by Christian Louboutin.

Boots for the French Winter

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has asked the Manolo the question.

Dear Manolo, I love your blog and I value your advice, so here is a question for you. I will be living in Strasbourg, France for the month of January. It’ll be very cold and very wet, and I’ll be doing a lot of walking on cobblestones. Can you recommend a super fantastic pair of boots for me? — Rachel

Strasbourg in the January, it is not exactly the April in Paris, however, no matter what the weather, it is always the right time to visit the France.

For the Manolo this question it is difficult because his friend failed to give the Manolo some indication of her age, or her personal style, however, keeping this in the mind, the Manolo he will recommend two pairs of the boots suitable for the cold, wet conditions of the European winter.

Action by Aquatalia    Manolo Likes!  Click!

This boot from the Aquatalia, it has its own rough and ready yet stylish aspect, with the heavy rubber sole and waterproofed suede, that the Manolo thinks would be appropriate for invading France in the winter. The problem with this boot, it is that it cannot be easily dressed up for the fancy dinner at the Michelin be-starred restaurant, but for the tramping about the city, into and out of the bistros, it would be perfcect.

Paul Green Nelson    Manolo Likes!  Click!
This slick boot with the wingtips from the Paul Green it can be worn with the dressier outfit, yet because of the no-slipping sole, it would keep the Manolo’s friend safe from the tumble on the stones of the cobble.