Archive - Fashion Designers RSS Feed

Manolo the Columnist: Giorgio Armani Two-Tone Wingtip Brogue

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

Dear Manolo,

What are the hot shoe trends for 2013?

Kelly

Manolo says, from what the Manolo has seen in the various spring shoe collections of the major designers, the hottest trends will be the outrageously tall 6 plus inch heels in the super hot colors, like puce and verdigris, made from the skins of exotic endangered animals such as the lesser tree sloth and the greater pangolin, shoes which will sell in the $4700 and up range.

The Manolo’s sources among the with-it crowd also say that mix and match will be all the rage, as super skinny ladies of mode will seek to wear different shoes on the different feets, perhaps the Jimmy Choo stiletto snakeskin sandal on the left foot, and the Louboutin embroidered satin flat on the right, or vice versa. Hobbling will briefly replace strutting on the catwalks of Paris and Bucharest, and pedestrian accidents will skyrocket in parts of lower Manhattan.

In late March, the widespread front of Swarovski crystal spikes will move into the tri-state area, causing panic buying among matronly women on the Upper East Side, who will pile into the Saks 10022 Shoe department to load up on the 9 inch Giuseppe Zanotti wedge heels in the metallic color known as “”samovar””.

By early April, crystal spikes on mis-matched shoes will be out, out, OUT! Ugh, how can you wear that, it is so last minute?

Manolo says, chasing fashion trends is out. Developing your own personal style that is timelessly you is the new black!

Here is the Giorgio Armani leather and patent, two-tone wingtip brogue, just because.

Giorgio Armani Two-Tone Brogue

The One That Got Away

When I started curating my shoe collection nearly a decade ago –when Lacroix still had his atelier, Gaultier was CD for Hermès and Muccia Prada’s current models were still fetuses instead of just practically ones– I did so with the knowledge that someday the newspaper gravy train, where I was raking in tens of dollars a month, would end.

I bought carefully and within my means, bringing home a pair of new lovelies only if I could pay cash and was confident they’d be just as stylish thirty years from the moment I stood, insidey parts all a-tingle, at the Neiman Marcus jewelry counter where my wisecracking sales associate always secretly checked me out so I wouldn’t have to wait in line like an animal.

That means my collection errs on the conservative side.

Good shoes are too expensive if they’ll look foolish after two seasons, and capable bank robbers willing to share their bounty with law abiding fat girls in heels don’t grow on trees, at least they didn’t in Texas.

Several years ago, I fell in love with a shoe.

Not just any shoe, the green python Anniversary pump, the cornerstone shoe for Dior’s entire magnificent collection, a far cry from the demure Valentinos I was collecting at the time.

It rung bells in belfries I didn’t even know I had.

My favorite house, referencing my favorite fashion era, using my favorite material in my favorite color. The only way they could’ve been more suited to me is if they came with a free chiseled commitment-minded footballer who loved to give foot massages as a gift with purchase.

Sadly, it was not to be. I did manage to locate a pair in fuchsia kid leather and I do adore them, but my beloved green Anniversaries got away and even though the shoeniverse eventually tried to make it up to me by sending me that foot-rubbing footballer, it’s just not the same.

What about you? What’s your one wearable that truly got away?

Multiple Choice Time: Dolce & Gabbana

I’m going to Italy with two pairs of shoes. Talk about a tough decision. I mean, it’s Italy. That’s where the shoes were BORN. Selecting one pair of flats and one of heels was like Sophie’s Choice, except you can always have more kids, but Miu Miu only made those vernice slingbacks one season.

As much as I’d like to traipse around the cobblestones of Italia in my most precarious heels, it’s not going to happen. You need to be either a billy goat or an Italian woman to carry that off and since I am neither (although I do share their mutual predisposition to facial hair), I had to leave my fanciest foot coverings at home.

My grandfather, whose mother was Scottish and father was Welsh, used to tell us we were Italian.

Familial legend has it two Italian brothers were shipwrecked on the coast of Wales sometime in the early 19th century and settled down with a pair of local girls. Although it would explain the slightly Italianate name before the fine folks at Ellis Island decided to change it, I suspect it’s mostly fanciful thinking, much like how he told me his got his kidney shot out by a specialized kidney sniper in Okinawa (he was born with only one).

Dolce & Gabbana have been playing the Italian card even harder than usual lately and I have loved every minute of it. I’m especially excited to see the low, ladylike heel from seasons past show up again in the SS2013 collection.

I mean, I love a 5″ ankle buster as much as the next girl, but I’m already 5’10″ and now that I’m in a dance company in a nation where I passed the average height for men in the fifth grade, I’ve got to be careful about heel height lest my partner for the evening inadvertently end up wearing my sweaterpuppies for earmuffs.

 

So which Dolce & Gabbana is your favorite? I like the colorful kitten heel, although the whimsical side of me is crazy for the references to Roman aqueducts and Ionic columns.

Fab Four: Green Suede Shoes (and how to clean them)

In the spirit of full disclosure, the Venn Diagram of “People Who Think Spangled and Be-Caped Polyester Jumpsuits Are a Good Idea” and “People from Whom Miss Plumcake Takes Sartorial Advice” does not see a great deal of overlapping.

Still, as both Elvis and Carl Perkins –the artist responsible for writing the seminal rockabilly classic– know, there’s just something about a good pair of suede shoes.

Blue is fine if a little expected, but greens from dusky olive to deep viridian are having a major moment this fall. Plus, green suede ages better blue does, where a bit of dirt and scuffing add to the character.

A little Annie Hall, a little Jules et Jim, these immaculate oxfords from Gravati (seriously, look at the soles, they are works of art) are the exact sort of shoe you didn’t know you needed until you find yourself wearing them for thirty years. Style it with rolled up jeans and a bateau-neck top for the kooky naif look, or go elegant with wide tailored trousers and a mercilessly chic cashmere sweater to channel Marlene Dietrich at her deadliest.

The iconic Alexander McQueen skull pump rarely goes on sale and this iteration is among the more elegant (the shark, I’m afraid, was jumped a good while ago with some of the late designer’s other iconic designs. See also, Marc Jacobs’ mouse shoe). Sizing is extremely limited, but if it fits your foot, you can get a signature shoe for over 50% off.

For something just as sexy but a little more sly, Robert Clergerie’s curvaceous Quatro in Basil is a lovely sample of a desk-to-dinner heel. The t-strap makes it perfect for dancing. In my experience, Clergerie cuts on a narrow last –it’s truth universally acknowledged that French women have skinny little banana feet– so size accordingly.

What do you wear to transition summer’s favorite maxi dresses into fall? A summer cut in an autumnal fabrication. The wallet-friendly Primrose from Seychelles fits the bill perfectly with a strong design element at the vamp that ascends higher up the throatline for a slightly less summery look. Even better, they’re on sale for 25% off.

Finally, I know people avoid suede because of the staining. I wouldn’t.

With use, suede develops a patina every bit as elegant as the crumpled lines of a linen pant. Buy them in neutrals and do your best to keep them away from oils –basically don’t fry chicken or perform automotive maintenance in them– and you’ll be good to go.

Oh, and as for maintenance: Ignore pretty much everything you’ve read on the internet on how to clean suede and listen to the advice from London custom shoemakers James Taylor and Son. They’ve been making bespoke footwear since 1857 and wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Marc Jacobs, Spring 2011: Who Wore it Better?

Anna Wintour in Marc Jacobs at Wimbeldon Finals

It is the tossup, really

Manolo asks, who wore it better? Malevolent crone, or freakish-scary doll girl?

P.S. From the Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Miuccia is Our Muse

Miuccia Prada Emerging at End of ShowMiuccia Prada BackstageMiuccia Prada At The End of Show

Manolo says, Ayyyyy! Cutest ever!

Alexander McQueen 3D Flower Platform Wedge

Alexander McQueen 3D Flower Platform Sandals

Manolo says, here is the pair of Alexander McQueen platform wedges with the all natural, organic-y, leather detail that pushes it out of the ordinary and into our cold, urban hearts.

I Can Haz Orange

Carven 2012 Resort

Manolo says, Please, M. Henri, may I keep it. I am so very hungry.

Manolo the Columnist: Savy from the Vera Wang Lavender Label

Here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo,

In a few weeks, my daughter will receive her first communion. She’s so excited and pleased with her little wedding-dress-like outfit, that it’s made me start to think about what I’m going to wear, probably a linen shift in a neutral color. What do you suggest in the way of shoes?

Maggie

Manolo says, oh, how the Manolo loves the life passages! The weddings and births, the festivals and celebrations, even the funerals, as sad as they always are. But above all else, the Manolo is especially fond of any event that requires the little children to dress up in finery. It is so wonderfully and warmly satisfying to see children included in our ceremonial life, or, even better, to see them be the center of our ceremonies!

Of the course, when preparing for any ceremony, one must be careful that the preparations and accoutrements not overshadow the solemn joy of the event itself. How often have the modern weddings, bar mitzvahs, quinceañeras, and sweet sixteen parties become grotesque festivals of conspicuous display, robbing such important ceremonies of true meaning? Yes, strangely, live giraffes, private Justin Bieber concerts, and dresses with forty-foot crystal trains are not conducive of heartfelt emotion.

Thankfully, the Manolo has never attended, nor yet heard of, the confirmation ceremony which has gotten this out of hand. Perhaps the Manolo just does not socialize with the right crowds.

Here is the Savy from the Vera Wang Lavender Label, the properly vernal celebratory pump.

Savy from Vera Wang Lavender Lable

Alexander McQueen Pumps for the Tuesday

Manolo says, it is Tuesday and you are back at your desk, after what turned out to be the relatively sedated Halloween. Yes there were the usual parade of visitors, this year gravely disappointed that your man Gary, he of the elaborate annual Halloween displays, did not celebrate the occasion in his usual over-the-top style.

It was in May, when you first noticed that something was amiss, that Gary had not closed off the garage and converted it into his laboratory, the sort of Halloween DARPA, where he has traditionally begun to test the fanciful ideas for his annual extravaganza. (Who can forget the year when he built the full-sized pirate ship with cannons that fired candy?)

“Gary,” you asked one Saturday in early June, “why haven’t you begun the preparations for Halloween? Aren’t you doing it this year?”

“I thought I’d give it a break,” he answered somewhat morosely.

You did not say anything, you just dropped the matter. And why would you not? In the first place, Gary not doing Halloween would save you several thousand of the dollars in materials. And in the second place, you suspected that Gary was suffering from the mild case of PHSD, Post Halloween Stress Disorder, and needed time to recover from the traumatic events of last year.

In the effort to outdo himself, Gary had built the alien spaceship, from which were emerging the be-tentacled green invaders, the first of whom was busily stripping the flesh from the corpse, with one surprised skeleton already lying nearby (Bony Bob in the supporting role).

Everyone agreed it the greatest display yet, and the sound track, complete with theremin music (recorded by Gary in his makeshift home studio), was indeed most spooky. Unfortunately, Gary had failed to properly ground the lighting system which illuminated the interior of the flying saucer. You know this, because the fire marshal said it was probably the loose wire which had heated the styrofoam to the point of combustion.

By the time Gary was able to retrieve the extinguisher from the garage, the flames had leaped into the autumny leaves of that tall larch by the driveway, and from there, onto the fabric of the car cover Gary had placed over his most prized possession, the 1972 Camero Z28 in yellow and black. (The car had been parked beneath the larch tree because Gary needed room in the garage for his Halloween experiments.)

After the fire company went home around 1:30AM, Gary retreated into the Gary Cave and did not emerge until late afternoon the next day.

All he said was, “Let us never speak of this day again.”

Look, spooky suede Alexander McQueen shoes!

Alexander McQueen Suede Pump

Too bad the Halloween has already past, because these designer shoes could become the basis of your own personal Halloween extravaganza!

The Return of the Chopine

Manolo says, clearly, we are in the late-decadent phase of our culture…

Strass Wedge from Alexander McQueen

The Strass Wedge from the Alexander McQueen, which looks remarkably like the 16th century Venetian chopine.

The Abyss Also Stares

Lagerfeld, Neitzsche, and Bear

Manolo says, this news item surprises the Manolo not in the least.

Karl Lagerfeld was obviously joking when he told Hilary Alexander, “I don’t want an intellectual image, I’m a fashion person,” back in January. His latest project – and he is perhaps fashion’s greatest multi-tasker – is to publish the entire works of Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century German philosopher.

Lagerfeld told WWD he would be publishing Nietzsche’s work, in 12 volumes, the way the German philosopher would have wanted it: typeset print alongside the original manuscripts complete with hand-written corrections. Only 3000 copies of “Nietzsche’s Nietzsche” will be printed, said Lagerfeld, showing off photocopies of original pages, apparently “dense blocks of small handwriting – some words underlined, others stricken and overwritten – on sheets of pale yellow paper.”
“It’s very easy to read if you understand this type of German,” he said. “I would love to publish it in English, but it would take five to seven years to translate it.”

It is not surprising because the Manolo has long thought of the Evil One as the supremely Nietzschean figure, working his Umwertung aller Werte on the unsuspecting world.

P.S. Thanks to the Manolo’s friend the Anne for alerting the Manolo to this.

Page 1 of 1112345»10...Last »