Red boot and bell,
Frida Kahlo straps on her wooden leg.
“Let the good people stare,
while I waltz through the Zócalo.”
The Manolo’s poem is occasioned by the new gallery show from the photographer Ishiuci Miyako]]>
Manolo says, the Manolo wishes all of his super fantastic internet friend the merriest, cheeriest, happiest, most wonderfulest Christmas ever!]]>
Once, men and women produced serious art filled with soul and meaning, joyfulness, fine feelings, deep emotions. Now, the great genius of our age, hailed by fanboys and know-nothings, is the execrable R. Crumb, whose repulsive drawings offend the senses. To look upon them is to feel your heart sink, to listen to the critics offer them praise is to feel your gorge rise.
But what of the “serious” artists of our debased age?
Let us also stipulate that we hold no affection or respect for those who impoverish us with their lackwit offerings, who reduce the ineffable to the trivial, who hide their inferior skills and empty heads behind the facade of jargon. Such is the state of our world: We have become trivial peoples who mistake our trivialities for profundities, and pat ourselves on the back for it.
So, what must be done?
If pressed to chart the course, he replies with the aphorisms of Don Colacho: perhaps we should consider ourselves as he did, “merely travelers who suffer shipwreck with dignity”.
But why shoes, Manolo?
Well made shoes represent honest labor done for useful purposes. Beautiful shoes show us that even the mundane can be elevated to the sublime. Shoes that are both transmute craftsmanship into art.]]>
It does not matter if you are the fashion blogger, or the non-blogger, the Manolo would love to see what his internet friends have to say about such topics as shoes, runway trends, shoes, fashion history, shoes, celebrity misadventure, shoes, indeed almost any topic that is not overtly political, or overly controversial. All the Manolo asks is that the contribution be thoughtful and moderately entertaining to his readers.
If you would be interested in doing this please to send the Manolo the email telling him what you would like to blog about.]]>
The Manolo would take is as the great favor if you were to “like” his humble shoe blog on the Facebook.
Likewise, the Manolo shares some of his more ephemeral thoughts through out the day at his Twitter feed, to which you may wish to subscribe.
Additionally, the Manolo sometimes fiddles around with the Tumblr thingy and the Pinterest whatzit, pinning the pictures and tumbling the quotations that capture his fancy.
As you may have noticed, the Manolo has returned to posting more frequently, likewise, the Manolo is working to revive his moribund Super Fantastic Newsletter, which he hopes will eventually send out the weekly news about the Manolo, together with coupons, bargains, announcements, and contests. Naturally, the Manolo would be enormously pleased if you would consider subscribing to these email updates.]]>
Manolo says, behold! Cold Plasma from Perricone, the greatest and bestest $155 per ounce skin cream of all time!
The reviewers all agree, it provides the unforgettable experience!
I got this as a sample. I put it on and my face felt so nice right after, I really wanted to like this but the smell!!! It was so bad it was making me gag. I had to wash my face 3 times to get rid of it. Ever walk by a little fish pond on a hot day? And you can smell the fish in the water? Thats what this smells like.
It’s just disgusting, the smell is simply wrong, but the results are right! I’ll try and suffer through gagging and nausea for the better skin I wake up with using cold plasma. I quickly top with a moisturizer to try and cover up the putrid stench, then I wash my hands. I don’t know if I can keep it up though, it’s a struggle to use.
I couldn’t tell you if this works or not, because I had to return it. I used it a few times, and yes, my face did feel firmer and more moisturized, but it also stinks to high heaven. It’s like some ungodly combination of fish, wet dog and raw chicken. It could be the fountain of youth and we would never know, because this stuff literally smells that bad,
This could have been water from the fountain of youth, and I wouldn’t use it…smells like raw chicken or chicken fat. Disgusting! I threw away the sample after 2 uses.
After using this for a few days, I decided to read other reviews to see if anyone noticed the particularly foul smell of this product. I’m currently a med student and gagged the instant I put this on my face – it smelled distinctly of anatomy lab, something I’d prefer not to revisit on a regular basis. While it DOES feel great on my skin, and the smell gets a little better over time, I would never buy this product simply due to the smell. Whether it’s linked to an unpleasant experience or not, it seems that most find the smell fairly objectionable.
Rarely have product reviews been so amusing, and at the Sephora site there are plenty more just like these.
P.S. Now that the Manolo has thought about it, this cream, it is the sort of little league version of the myth of the vampire, no? The vampire is granted eternal existence, but in exchange he becomes the soulless, undead creature of the night. In the Perricone Cold Plasma version of the myth, your laugh lines are smoothed away, but you smell like afternoon low tide in Mumbai.]]>
Manolo says, and for that we should be thankful.
Perhaps it is the power of the modern multivitamins, or has the makeup gotten so much better over the past 40 years? Maybe it is the old-lady hairdos, or are we taking better care of ourselves?
Whatever it is, most of the 46-year-old ladies of the Manolo’s current acquaintance look much, much better than this.]]>
The Manolo wishes his dear internet friends the joy of this wondrous day!]]>
I began playing pool at eighteen. By nineteen, in all my ungainly glory, I had the brilliant thought that I should become a professional player.
I had ZERO skills. In fact, I had problems with the first shot of the game, the break shot.
The break is where you break the racked object balls apart with the cue ball. When done right, it’s as impressive as one of Tiger Woods’ long drives – all power, accuracy, and grace combined in one seamless, flawless, fluid motion. The key words there are “when done right”.
I had power but no grace. When I broke the balls (arms flailing, feet tripping), more often than not, I slammed my hand into the side of the table. Having swollen knuckles on my right index finger became a normal thing until a fashionable friend suggested I try wearing heels – being taller might help my hand miss the side of the table during my swing to break the balls.
I’d been a competitive runner almost my entire life and had never owned a pair of shoes that wouldn’t allow me to flee authorities at top speed in relative comfort (I was somewhat of a delinquent in my younger years). So, I bought a cheap pair of chunky-heeled loafers at a swap meet which made me three inches taller.
Soon, I was breaking the balls successfully without breaking my knuckles.
In hindsight, heels were not the solution. They were only a quick fix. What I truly needed was practice to improve my technique. I did improve to where heels weren’t necessary, but, by then, I was used to playing at a five-foot-four height.
I began to play competitively in tournaments.
Many players dismissed me as non-threat once they saw my choice in footwear. I didn’t blame them. Billiards was a game of finesse and how a player balanced herself (or himself) was very important. Solid footing meant more consistency in the execution of movement. Solid footing also generally meant having one’s entire foot on the ground. No serious player would risk teetering around the table in high heels. I took advantage of being underestimated and translated those instances into wins.
In the often dark-clothed and flat-footed world of pool, more people began to take notice of the “little girl in high shoes”. As more people associated me with my high heels, I took more notice of shoes in general. I became aware of the truly staggering variety and styles of shoes in the world. I no longer bought shoes based on height alone. I looked specifically for unusual, eye-catching shoes that could handle a fourteen-hour tournament day. In a predominantly male game populated by flat shoes, I had stumbled upon a way to be stylishly different.
I got better at the game and began to gamble at it.
The amounts I wagered varied from your average pair of Stuart Weitzmans to a few pairs of Christian Louboutins. Even when four-digit sums were at stake, I continued to play in heels, to the surprise of many. People asked, “Why? Why would you play in heels?” My standard answer: “Why not?” All that mattered was having solid footing and I had that, even in stilettos. Besides, my wins and losses were never due to the shoes I wore, but to me, the player, and how well I played.
Eventually, my collection of shoes became a sort of savings account. When I needed funds for tournaments or a stake for gambling (I gambled exclusively with my own money), I would look through my closet and sell off pairs as I needed. This was a convenient and practical way to thin out my herd of footwear. If I won, then I had room for new shoes. If I lost, then I had more closet room. It was a win-win situation.
In all the long years I’ve played this game, shoes have run the gamut for me. They’ve been practical. They’ve been beautiful. They’ve given me a unique identity in an often boring game and culture. They’ve even funded my adventures. But, there’s one more thing.
Pool has always been seen as a “man’s” game and any woman who plays will inevitably run into sexism about how “girls can’t play pool”. Therefore, I get a certain indescribable satisfaction when I beat a guy who proudly says, “I’ve never been beat by a girl before”, while wearing strappy green suede stiletto sandals adorned with a delicate feather pouf at the toes. That satisfaction increases exponentially when his friend looks at my shoes and tells him, “Dude. You just got beat by Tinkerbell.”]]>
Over the course of this conversation, the Manolo has stated the few of his beliefs, which he will now deliver as the set of provocative Don Colacho style aphorisms:
1. Beauty is not negotiable.
2. If you are not blessed with beauty, change the game.
3. The best way to change the game is by being very different.
4. Great beauty can make you the icon, but beauty is neither necessary nor common among icons.
And now, for the explications:
Beauty is not negotiable
The rules of feminine beauty cannot be changed, no matter how much we may wish that they could be. They are as immutable and as fixed as the stars in the heavens: youth, fecundity, symmetry, and the pleasing hip-to-waist ratio.
We may try to convince ourselves that there are other standards of beauty, but such attempts are pretty lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better about our relative lack of beauty.
As cruel as they seem, such statements say nothing about our worth as individuals, or our goodness, or our merit to our family or the world.
Physical beauty is the gift given without reference to merit.
Although, it is the strange gift that inevitably dissipates with age. And one may still be compelling even into oldest age, but one should not be confused: compelling and beautiful are not the same thing. Beauty is compelling, but often the compelling is not also beautiful.
If you are not blessed with beauty, change the game.
As youthful beauty fades, or was perhaps never fully present, this is where the art and magic of contriving the desirable is found.
If you are not objectively beautiful, or are imperfectly beautiful, make the conversation about the beauty of your clothing, or your striking personality, your beautiful singing voice, or your intellectual merits. Change the game to more fully favor that which you possess or can acquire through canny means.
It is the opinion of the Manolo that making yourself desirable from the less than ideal position is much more interesting and intellectually satisfying than raw beauty itself. Although, sadly, perhaps never as innately appealing.
3. The best way to change the game is by being very different.
By adopting the pose of radical difference, by seeming to reject the immutable standards of beauty, or by rejecting the conventions of society itself, one may achieve the sort of hocus pocus transmutation, one that convinces others of our desirability even as the level of our objective beauty remains unchanged.
This is the secret of most of the fashion icons that our friend Miss Eliza has cited in her post Thou Shalt Be Iconic…
As the Manolo has said, great beauty is inherently compelling. It stands out from the crowd and calls attention to itself. If one is not blessed with great beauty, one must seek other means of differentiation.
This is where fashion and the development of personal style can help.
Great beauty can make you the icon, but beauty is neither necessary nor common among icons
The Manolo has in the past cited the curious example of the indisputably iconic Elizabeth Taylor, the supernal beauty who has the abysmal taste in clothing. Her iconicity has nothing to do with the clothing she wears; at the best, such things are merely the adjunct to her iconic beauty.
However if you are not Elizabeth Taylor, not even by the wildest stretch of the imagination, and you wish to become iconic, what must you do?
Try putting the lobster on your head…
And now to address the special problem of Lady Gaga, the Manolo will quote the Salvador Dali.
“The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.”
The reason why the Manolo is hesitant to declare Lady Gaga the icon is that so much of her work is so identifiably derivative. First she was the Madonna, then she was the Roisin Murphy, and now, this week in Vogue, she is Isabella Blow, and for the Grammies it was back to Madonna.
The problem with the Lady Gaga as both the fashion icon and the pop star is that she clearly suffers from the Anxiety of Influence.]]>