Manolo says, many happy returns for the Día de San Valentín! May your day be filled with joy and chocolate hearts and trinkets made of pure love (and diamonds)!
And now, let us not forget the reason for the season…
Yes, those are indeed the boney remains of the San Valentín, or at the least one of the many relics that are claimed to exist.
This nearly complete set of bones, which is one of the lesser known, is in the Real Iglesia de San Anton, on the Calle Horteleza, very near to the place where the tiny Manolo first found employment, many decades ago, in the shoe shop of the Mercurio Albornoz y Bahmonde. Often were the times when the little Manolo would go into the church for mass, only to discover the lovers who bore the cross of stars kneeling in supplication before this reliquary.
As you may see in the picture above, however, the bones of the Saint Valentine are the not especially big deal to the priests who run parish of San Anton. When the Manolo last paid the visit, the reliquary was covered with the dust, sitting alone in the rarely-visited side chapel. (Please to make your own metaphor, personal or global, about the state of modern love.)
And, now, because the Manolo is the beneficent dictator, the shoes suitable for the day of San Valentine!
Here from the super fantastic Christin Louboutin is the Iriza Strass Crystal Pump, the most fabulous sort of shoe to wear to the mass of devotion to the Saint Valentine. And then, afterwards, to the muy romantico dinner tête-à-tête with that certain someone who has your heart locked up in their reliquary of love.]]>
Here is the close-up of the artist’s reconstruction.]]>
When I first expatriated, I lived in a little village paved with the Devil’s bunions and it was a two mile walk to the restaurant that provided most of my sustenance. I walked eight miles a day that car-less summer. Heels were out of the question. I used bronze Roman sandals instead. After all, a girl must have some glamor.
Even when I had wheels, I still refused to risk a broken ankle –or worse, a scuffed heel– by wearing stilettos unless someone agreed to carry me bodily to my vehicle; a daunting task, especially if you’re not set up with the appropriate winches, pulleys and hydraulic jacks.
As luck would have it, I was the only woman in the village young enough not to know a time when mammoth was a nutritious part of your complete breakfast and I struck up a friendship with an enormous (and enormously smitten) former Golden Gloves boxer who bore a striking resemblance to Zeus, assuming Zeus was Latino and spent most of his life getting punched in the head for money.
Now I know I’m in a committed relationship and all, but seriously, if you’ve never tried Greek God as a mode of transportation, I highly commend it.
However, if you can’t find your own punch-drunk Olympian to haul you around your town like a sack of well-shod potatoes, never fear. The Continental heel is making a slow but steady return to fashion.
So wait, what is a Continental heel?
The Continental heel –pictured above lending its graceful curve to a pair of Robert Clergerie booties— is closely related and thus often confused with the Louis heel. Of course it doesn’t help that half the shoes labeled as a Louis heel are actually Continentals.
They’re both flared heels, that much is true.
However, a Louis heel has a height limit –a true Louis can’t be more than 3″ high.
See, good ol’ King Louis XIV of France was one of those pocket monarchs, so he took to wearing heels to give himself a 3″ boost. Then he forbade anyone to wear heels higher than his, because apparently that’s what you do when you’re king.
A Louis heel also traditionally has a curved breast, meaning the front part of the heel –the part that faces the toe– tapers and flares the echo the back part. Continental heels have the same curved or tapered back, but the breast is flat or nearly so.
I think we’re due for a comeback of a thicker heel.
We had a few seasons where Prada was showing banana heels everywhere but it didn’t last. I’d really like to see a serious return to one of the original sculptural heels. They’re pretty, fresh-looking and –for my purposes anyway– infinitely easier to deploy on cobblestones. Not that I’ll be telling Zeus Golden Gloves that.
Fit Note: Robert Clergerie runs pretty true to size for length, but designs for women with banana feet. If you’ve got narrow feet, you’re in luck. Everyone else, size up and pray.
Reading: Fashion is Spinach by Elizabeth Hawes
Think of American couturier Elizabeth Hawes’ 1938 wry, witty memoir as a sort of precursor to Diana Vreeland’s fantastic (in every sense)D.V., although it stands in its own right without a cult of personality to support it. Happily, it’s in the public domain and available for free, though it made for such a fun read I’ll probably hunt down a printed copy.
Watching: How to Scale, Gut and Fillet a Fish by Darina Allen
Because sometimes a girl just wants to see an Irish woman in a severe bob eviscerate some seafood. Okay, really it’s because I’m a sucker so I signed up to fillet the catch of the day from my yacht club’s charity fishing tournament without understanding that knowing where my fancy fillet knife is is not the same as actually being able to fillet a fish.
Hearing: The Reverend Al Green
I’ve been listening to my Al Green Pandora station non-stop for the past three weeks and I’m still not pregnant. This message brought to you by the fine people at NuvaRing. NuvaRing: It’s like Earplugs For Your Ovaries.
Smelling: Cumming: The Fragrance by Alan Cumming and Christopher Brosius.
The only true masterwork celebrity fragrance, this sexy scent of dry smoke, Scotch and peat is one of my all time favorite scents. Beautifully composed by perfume’s enfant terrible, Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume, it’s surprisingly wearable and happily available repackaged but not reformulated as CB I Hate Perfume: 2nd (Alan) Cumming.
Loving: Grace Coddington
Even with her comparatively lukewarm homage to Edith Wharton’s curious coterie in this month’s Vogue, she’s still the best stylist and creative director working in fashion. Her December 2003 spread “Alice in Wonderland: A Fashion Fairytale” was one of those rare pictorials where, nearly ten years later, I still remember where I was the moment I saw it.
Hating: Vogue’s Ongoing Commitment to Exactly No Diversity.
Oh, were you sitting down for that one? 916 pages of fashion in the form of editorials and ads, and exactly two plus-size women (just the faces, of course): Queen Latifah in a Cover Girl ad and a shot of Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte in a spread where she’s crouching in the passenger’s seat of a convertible, hidden behind black clothes, heavy bangs, the roadster and its windshield. Although there were a few women of color, they were the same few. A self-congratulatory section on the rise of the Asian model –there are what, six now getting regular runway time– was particularly hollow laugh-inducing as they were able to fit pretty much all of them in one medium-width shot.
Wanting: Red Python Slingbacks by Alexandre Birman, 60% off
Because you know, sometimes a girl just needs a pair of vampy-bordering-on-trampy red shoes. Fit notes: Outnet says to order a half size up. I only have one pair of Birmans, some sky-scrapingly high jobbers with a sort of Viv Westwood Frankenstein Prostitute vibe (but uh, in an elegant way) and I found they ran surprisingly wide for a premium designer shoe. Do with that what you will.
Buying: Retin-A .05 Gel
Of all the pharmaceuticals I’ve bought from a guy in a giant stuffed head, this is definitely my favorite.
Retinoids are the only topical product proved to reduce wrinkles. It’s over the counter in most of Europe and Latin America but /I think it’s still rx-only in the states. I thought I was going to have to Botox or bathe in the blood of virgin leprechauns to get rid of the few fine lines that’ve reared their unwelcome heads since I moved down to my sunny paradise, but I’ve been using my 5% Retinoic Acid cream for three weeks and not only do I have the most even skin tone of my life, all but the most pernicious forehead wrinkle –the one I use to judge with– have disappeared, as in gonesville. Gracias, Dr Simi!]]>
The Manolo must have looked at 20,000 style blogs over the past few days, some of them exceedingly popular, and all of them featuring the same clothes, the same poses, the same washed-out, overexposed style of photography.
Time for the change!
The Manolo decrees: the washed-out style photos are all washed up. Color is the new black!
Out = Identical style bloggers all obsessed with being part of the in crowd
In = Crazy girls who throw on the clothes they love and dare you to criticize them!
Above all else, what agitated the Manolo was the ubiquity of the washed-out, vintage-looking photos, photos that use the Instagram filter to excess, in every possible case.
To which the Manolo says, Death to the Instagram filter!
Happily, however, the trend appears to be abating. How does the Manolo know this? The latest Madonna video, “Turn Up The Radio,” …
P.S. No need to watch the entire tiresome affair. You will get the idea after the first ten seconds: Madonna suffers from soul-wrenching ennui, which she cures with random casual sex and bad pop music played loudly.]]>
Thus, upon learning this, the Manolo put together this Venn diagram of the average TED Conference attendee…]]>
Manolo says, wah?
This international competition has made the noise of momentum, too, but just where it is heading is hard to predict. Will it become a sport recognized on the Olympic stage as Rajashree Choudhury, the founder of USA Yoga and the International Yoga Sports Federation, hopes? Or is it destined to remain a quirky transplant from India practiced by an exclusive set of Bikram yogis?
The event was held at the LAX Radisson, where the mirrored ballroom became a competitive yoga stadium and runway-like hallways morphed into warm-up rooms for yogis. Onstage, a garland-draped image of Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram’s guru, looked on while seven judges sat with pencils raised, critiquing the routines.
“The quality of the athletes has evolved tremendously,” said Jon Gans, an organizer and former judge of the event. “Postures, like peacock, that seemed to be a pinnacle pose the first year would now seem normal.”
Perhaps the Manolo, who would rather be run over by the Anna Wintour’s town car than put on the yoga pants, is unclear on the concept, but is not the yoga supposed to be the somewhat meditative practice?
Query: If yoga is now the competitive sport, what is the only proper way to introduce the contestants?