FN Shoe Star, Episode 20

Manolo says, if, like the Manolo, you are the fan of the FN Shoe Star, than this final episode, in which the contestants are reunited, will perhaps amuse.

Also, this afternoon beginning at 7pm East Time, the Manolo will be taking part in the “Twitter Party”, in which the FN Shoe Star bloggers will be discussing the just completed season in witticisms of 140 characters or less. The Manolo has been informed that there will even be the prize given away. Please feel free to join the Manolo at twitter feed at the designated time..


FN ShoeStar, The Winner!

Manolo says, and now we come to the twentieth episode when the final judging is completed and the winner is announced.

And it is…Rachel!

This is the not unexpected outcome, as not only is Rachel the very competent designer of the shoes, but also she has the very well-developed commercial sense, which the judges, who were drawn from the ranks of the shoe selling professionals, seemed to appreciate very much.

Still, the Manolo could be considered Team Keena, for she was the more original and interesting designer of the pair, and her final strappy sandal was one of the best shoes made all season long.

And now the Manolo wishes to sit back and watch the careers of all of these six contestants develop. He suspects that Rachel will be very successful, and he hopes that the same will be said of Keena.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 19

Manolo says, and now we are at the next to the last episode of the FN Shoe Star saga, in which the Keena and the Rachel present to the judges their final collection.

The Manolo thought that this episode was the best one yet, because the presentations of the two young women were so interesting and well done. Indeed, the final challenge was especially well thought out as the two designers were charged with not only producing the two pairs of the shoes, but also the entire justification and marketing plan for their potential collections.

The results were remarkably different. Keena’s collection stood out as the most original and true to her personality, but Rachel’s presentation was the most thorough and most professional, and her collection was more commercial.

But, watch this episode for yourself, especially the last half, as it is very good.

As for who the winner will be? The Manolo does not know. Both designers turned out to be very talented and very capable. The Manolo likes Keena’s sandal best of all the shoes, but dislikes her covered wedge worst of all the shoes (it is clunky, not at all “Ephemeral”). However, Rachel’s collection was consistent and very marketable, but not especially distinctive.

But, the Manolo must step out onto the limb and make the guess, so he says that the judges will pick Rachel, because she has thinks so much about the marketing and is the very commercial sort of designer.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 17

Manolo says, and then there were the two.

Above you will find the latest episode of the FN Shoe Star, in which the pop star Fergie and the Manolo’s internet friend the Brandon Holley sat at the table of judging so as to help whittle the field of contestants down to the last two.

Of all the episodes, this was the best yet. Finally, all the designers produced the shoes that were interesting and moderately well-made, and the viewer were given sufficient time to consider each shoe. This was more of what the Manolo had hoped to see from the FN Shoe Star, the shoes being examined closely and discussed intelligently.

As for the final results, the Manolo would have chosen Keena’s shoe over that of Rachel, but the decision to eliminate Matthew was the correct one, as his shoe was the weakest.

And now the final two contestants will be designing the shoe collection for the Saks Fifth Avenue!


FN ShoeStar Episode 15

Manolo says, Fergie!

Getting Fergalicious with the Furgie, by designing the Fergie shoes for the Fergie to wear on her ferging feets!


FN Shoe Star Episode 14

Manolo says, and now the 14th Episode of the FN Shoe Star is available for your on-line viewing enjoyment.

And, as it turns out, the Manolo was wrong last week when he predicted that Keena would be sent away for designing the all-black wedding shoe. Likewise, he would not have thought that Matthew would have won yet again. But, such is the nature of these reality show contests in which the punishment and the reward are rarely meted out in accordance with one’s expectations.

And so, it was Shannon, the most delightfully quirky of the designers, who was sent away for her asymmetrical, lace-bedecked wedding shoe, while Matthew was awarded the prize for the third week in the row.

Next week, Fergie!

FN Shoe Star, Episode 13

Manolo says, here you see above the 13th episode of the FN Shoe Star, in which the remaining contestants take their Vera Wang wedding shoes to the judges table.

First, the Manolo is happy to see that, at the least, one of the designers has taken the Manolo’s advice to change the hair style

Shannon's Old Hair


Shannon's Hair

After, and After the After

Slow down, girlfriend, you’ll go bald.

As for the shoes that were presented to the judges, which included the Vera Wang, they were generally not the worst, nor were they generally (nor even particularly) the best.

The Manolo predicts that Keena will be the loser. But, what did she expect? Black shoes for the wedding? Is this something that is common in the islands? Of the course, when Keena is ejected, she will not even be able to claim that she did not have the warning, as Vasilios! repeatedly questioned her judgement.

The winner will be Rachel, who was inexplicably the only contestant to make the open-toed shoe. (What were the others thinking…”hmmm, Puerto Rico? Sexy young bride? Orthopedic pumps! In black!”) Her shoe was nothing especially original, but it at the least looked like the wedding shoe.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 12

Manolo says, the 12th episode of the FN Shoe Star is now available for your viewing pleasure.

This week, the remaining designers are given the new challenge, to design the shoes for the bride who will be wearing the Vera Wang dress to her Puerto Rican wedding. (And, no, that is not the punchline to the tasteless ethnic joke. She is actually getting married in the San Juan.)

And, so, in preparation for the designing, the designer are given the three minutes to ask the questions of the bride about her impending nuptials. The answer that surprised the Manolo most was the date of the ceremony, “11-11-11, the date we will never forget.” Certainly, that is what those red poppies are for!

None of the designers seemed to fully understand that this Vera Wang dress was not the “traditional” wedding gown, but the unusual statement dress, with its blossom layers and black sash.

In other matters, the Manolo would like to give all of the designers the new hair-dos. Matthew would look better if he let his hair grow out, Keena should ditch the hippie bangs, Shannon needs something less architectural, and Rachel requires the hairstyle that does not make her face seem so narrow.

Next week, the designing!



Manolo says, the Vasilios!, who advises the designers in the FN Shoe Star contest, as the sort of Tim Gunn cognate, has called the Manolo out for the comments the Manolo has made.

Here is what the Manolo said…

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.

Here below is the video of the episode in the question, the Vasilios! part begins at 1:30, and lasts for about three minutes…

Aside from underestimating the amount of time given to Vasilios!, the Manolo does not believe he has entirely mischaracterized the segment.

But, here is what the Vasilios! said to the Manolo..

Oh, and to the MANOLO, my job is in fact about giving them design suggestions which I do on or off camera very well. And I don’t tell them what to design; the end decision is theirs.

Perhaps the Manolo was not clear, but The Manolo has never doubted that the Vasilios! was not giving sound advice to the designers, (indeed his reputation as the excellent teacher is well known at the FIT) but rather the Manolo’s complaint was about the editing of the segment, which made it appear that all Vasilios! was doing was kvetching.

Such complaints about editing are nothing new. From the beginning of this series, the Manolo has complained that, as is customary in the reality shows, the story of the design process is subjugated to the perceived needs of the the dramatic arc.

Vasilios and Keena

Vasilios! and Keena

To which the Manolo would say, show us the shoes and how the designers wrestle with the very difficult tasks that are given to them, rather than the typical tricks of the editing common to the reality genre.

Trust your audience to enjoy the process of shoe design and making.

Of the course, if the Manolo had his way, Vasilios! would appear more often in the episodes, and his comments about the shoes as they are being made would be featured at the greater length. Vasilios! is not only the person with the greatest amount of shoemaking knowledge and experience, he is also the most entertaining person associated with the FN Shoe Star (which is why the Manolo insists on rendering his name with the exclamation mark, Vasilios!).

Finally, to the Vasilios! the Manolo offers his sincere apologies.

P.S. Special note: Is it not obvious, that the Manolo lives in the fantasy world?


FN Shoe Star, Episode 11

Manolo says, and now the 11th episode of the FN Shoe Star is available on the line for your viewing pleasure.

In this episode, as the Manolo had predicted, the Hyojin was shown the door and given the rocker-shoe boot.

However, it was not the Manolo’s choice, Rachel, who was declared the winner, but Matthew. He was chosen because the judges believed he had accomplished the impossible goal of making the toner-shoe that could potentially trick some unlucky man into purchasing it.

Other than the predicted loser and the unpredicted winner, there is not much else to report, except that the celebrity judge, the fabulously successful Tom’s Shoe Guy, Blake Mycoskie, knows next to nothing about the shoes.

He does not know the shoes, but what the Blake Mycoskie does know is the marketing to the young peoples in the way that makes them feel good about paying wildly inflated prices for the cheap Argentine peasant shoes.

The same Tom’s alpargatas that sell for $44 in America, can be purchased in Buenos Aires for less than $6, retail..

Blake Mycoskie,

Blake Mycoskie, Capitalist, Philanthropist, Dude

And, yes, the Manolo knows that your first-world guilt is assuaged by knowing that the adorably hunky Blake is helping the poor children by giving them the one pair for every pair you buy (while pocketing the remaining $30, minus the expenses).

Such beneficence!

Would it not be better, asks the Manolo, to buy the mostly identical shoes which are $30 cheaper and give the difference to the charity of your choice? There are many peoples who are much more efficient at delivering the help to those who need it than the dudely self-promoter with the nice smile and the big mark up.

But, that is just the crazy thought from the Manolo, who likes to keep his conspicuous consumption separate from his private charity giving.


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.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 9

Manolo says, and now the ninth episode of the FN Shoe Star is available for your viewing enjoyment. In this episode, the remaining five contestants are asked to produce the…. rocker-soled toning shoes?!?

Why should the peoples who run the FN Shoe Star stop there? Why not give each of the contestants the used steel-belted radial tire and ask them to make the Crocs knock offs?

In the first of the places, the Manolo is not convinced that simply walking around in the magic ugly shoes with the strange soles will make you fitter. (Although, now that the Manolo thinks about it, strapping the cinder blocks to the feets and clomping around all day would be quite the work out…perhaps the Manolo should seek the patent.)

And, in the second of the places, is this the contest to pick the next great young shoe designer, or is it the sort of fraternity initiation gone wrong?

“Pledges, you wish to be the shoe designers? First, chug the gallon of beer from the Sacred Boot of Manolo Blahnik. And now…you must make the stupid-looking shoe that only the dupes and the fools would wish to wear!”

Later, back in frat house dining room, Michael Atmore and the other upperclassmen, are having the good laugh.

This is the Manolo’s complaint: it is already difficult enough to make the beautiful shoes when you have unlimited access to the best materials and workmen. So, why place the unnatural constraints upon the designers, constraints which almost certainly guarantee the production of the ugly shoe?

Oh, right, it is because the American shoe-buying public is comprised mostly of the easily duped and the foolish.

FN Shoe Star peoples, let the Manolo help you…

“Designers, here is the pile of patent leather. Make the most beautiful patent leather flat you can imagine.”

See? That was easy, yes?