FN Shoe Star, Episode 8

Manolo says, the eighth episode of the FN Shoe Star is now available for your viewing pleasure. This is the episode where one of the contestants, the loser of the first challenge, is sent away.

To the mind of the Manolo, this was the best episode yet, as it was mostly about the shoes the designers put forward for the competition, and free of the tiresome contrived drama that plagues the reality television shows.

The thing that the Manolo especially appreciated was that the judged discussed each shoe intelligently and sympathetically.

The Edelmans of the Brown Shoe company were predictably focused on the marketability of each shoe, and yet the Manolo did not mind this because their reasons for favoring Matthew over the others were honest and comprehensible.

And, in end it was Maggie who was given the boot, which should be counted as the stroke of luck for Shannon, whose convertible shoe was bad, very bad indeed.

And now it is on to the next challenge.


The FN Shoe Star Facebook Page

Manolo says, if you are following the FN Shoe Star, then perhaps you may wish to “like” their Facebook page, so that you can receive the news and updates, and where you will find things like this…

Hyojins Shoe for the Rebecca Taylor Challenge

Hyojin's Shoe

Matthew Shoe for the Rebecca Taylor Challenge

Matthew's Shoe

The pictures of the shoes from the first challenge, along with the design concept boards, and the quick draw sketches. If you are interested in seeing why the Manolo predicted Hyojin as the winner of this challenge, go look at the pictures of the other shoes at the FN Shoe Star Facebook page.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 7

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

This week the contestants are presenting to the judges their finished shoes which are to accompany the Rebecca Taylor runway collection. But, first, the they must make the detour to meet with Vasilios! (the Manolo has added the exclamation mark, because he deserves it), the chairman of the F.I.T.’s accessories department. All the Manolo can recall from these meetings, is that the Vasilios! likes to use the word “feisty”.

And then it was straight to the judging table, where the Michael Atmore, back in full brood, is joined by Rebecca Taylor and the Edelmans, the Sam and the Libby, of the Brown Shoe.

Michael Atmore Broods

'Lord, what fools these mortals be.'

Again, the actual construction of the shoes left much to be desired, as did the generally muddy color choices of the designers. The strangest decision, however, was Shannon’s convertible shoe, which looked like the hot mess with the fur cuff, and worse with it off, and which looked nothing like the sketch which won the quickdraw challenge. Here is the Manolo’s advice, if Rebecca Taylor has chosen your sketch as the best of the lot, you have to make that shoe, not go off on the wild flights of fur-and-frippery fancy.

In the end, for the Manolo the clear winner was Hyojin, whose asymmetrical ankle-cuff sandal was by far the best thing presented. But, we must wait until next week to see who the judges pick.

Hyojins Shoe

Hyojins Shoe

In the meantime, you must now go watch this new episode.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 6

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

And the Manolo is happy to report that he was exactly correct about who would be the winner of the quick draw challenge, in which the designer was given ten minutes to produce the sketch of the shoe to go with the Rebecca Taylor design.

The Manolo had last week predicted Shannon to be the winner, and this week, we see that Rebecca Taylor picked her as the best.

Now, as you will see above, it is time to turn the sketch into the actual shoe. But, now you must watch this episode and see what happens for your self.


FN Shoe Star Rebecca Taylor Challenge Sneak Peak

Manolo says, this past week the FN Shoe Star unveiled the first challenge for the six contestants.

In this challenge, they were introduced to the designer Rebecca Taylor, shown her latest collection, and then given ten minutes to sketch the shoe for that collection.

Now, although there is no video for this week, the FN Shoe Star peoples are running the contest for the fans of the series to pick the best of these sketches and possibly win the $250 gift certificate from the

In general, the quality of the sketches was not bad, although the Manolo would have enjoyed seeing what colors and materials the designers would have chosen.

However, having said that, here is the Manolo’s favorite of the six…

Shannons Sketch for FN Shoe Star

But now, you must go and pick your favorite and enter to win the $250 prize.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 5

Manolo says, here above is the latest episode of the FN Shoe Star, the fifth in this season of the online series.

And, as you may see, the seemingly interminable build-up to the first actual challenge continues. Allow the Manolo to speak for everyone when he says GET ON WITH IT!

We have been introduced and re-introduced and re-re-introduced to the contestants, now let us see how well they design the shoes.

Other than this, the Manolo has nothing to add, except that he is very much looking forward to seeing Rebecca Taylor provide the inspiration for the first challenge, which is certain to test the aspiring designers’ ability to craft the wearable and attractive shoe.


FN Shoe Star, Episode 4

Manolo says, the fourth episode of the FN Shoe Star, sponsored by the Brown Shoe Company is now available for your viewing enjoyment.

This week, we are further introduced to the six contestants, although not in the depth or complexity one would wish.

Here is what the Manolo learned: Matthew wanted to be the corporate lawyer, but fell into designing when he turned 12; Maggie has been aggressively self promoting since she left the crib; Keena’s parents were rich hippies; Hyojin has the friend; Rachel’s comes from the family of designers who have had their own television shows; and Shannon worked for Steve Madden, which would explain that boot in episode one.

In other FN Shoe Star news, the Manolo’s favorite, FN Shoe Star judge, jury and executioner, Michael Atmore, has softened his hairstyle and his manner, both things the Manolo considers the mistake. The Michael Atmore is far more interesting when he is brooding than when he attempts to enthuse over the backgrounds of the contestants. It is his Olympian qualities that appeal: his Zeus like detachment from the fate of the mortals that vie for his attention

But, watch this episode (and if you have missed them, the others) and tell the Manolo what you think.


FN Shoe Star, Episode Three

Manolo says, third episode of the FN Shoe Star is not available for your viewing pleasure, which you may see here.

In this episode, the six finalists were chosen from the twelve original contestants. The six were who were picked were: Rachel, Hyojin, Shannon, Matthew, Keena, and Maggie.

Last week, the Manolo made his guesses about the finalists (Rachel, Matthew, Hyojin, LaQuonia, Nicole, and Christina), which as you may see were only 50% correct.

Other than the announcements and the attempt to humanize the designers by trotting out their friends and family, not much else happened.

And so, we eagerly await the next week’s episode…


The FN Shoe Star, Episode 2

Manolo says, and now the second episode of the FN Shoe Star is available on the interwebs for your viewing pleasure.

Please go and watch this now so that you may understand what the Manolo is talking about in the subsequent paragraphs. (It is only nine minutes in the length, far too short to be the onerous task.)

(tick tock, tick tock)

And, you are back….

This episode is the continuation of the auditions of the applicants for the six finalist positions, and as before, it was the succession of brief interviews in which the aspirants presented the sketches and the finished shoe to three editors of the Footwear News, led by the broodingly handsome Michael Atmore, who will certainly be playing the role of Heathcliff in the Footwear News summer production of Wuthering Heights.

Michael Atmore

'A half-civilised ferocity lurked yet in the depressed brows and eyes full of black fire, but it was subdued; and his manner was even dignified: quite divested of roughness, though stern for grace.' ~ Emily Brönte

And now, imagine the Heathcliff constrained by having to work as the editor of the fashion-trade magazine…. the suppressed, primal rage bubbling beneath the surface as he orders the reshooting of the cover feature on the Teva Sandals… It has all the makings of the most amusing sit-com.

Be that as it may, it is nonetheless fun to watch Michael Atmore as the judge, if only to see the facial reactions.

As for what was submitted by the applicants this week, if you read the Manolo’s discussion of the previous episode you will instantly see that the same central problem persists: namely that the proficiency in cobbling is more difficult to acquire than that of the fashion sketching. (For the proof, look at the sketches versus the shoes in these examples: Alexandria, Brittany, Matthew, and so on.)

And so, as with last week, several designers displayed intriguing and attractive shoe sketches, only to be undermined by the lackluster, unoriginal, and/or poorly constructed actual shoe.

Maggies Shoe

$9.99 at Wal-Mart

This drippy and cheap-looking sandal above, produced by the Maggie, was singled out for particular scorn.

Although, not everything was junk. Christina produced the boot that was almost wearable, although she has the problem sketching!

Then there was Rachel, who not only made the good sketches, but actually delivered the tall boot that looked perfectly cromulent…

Rachels Boot

Rachels Boot

The bit over the top with the details, but not bad, although again the Manolo worries about the quality of the construction.

And this is, as the Manolo has said, the central problem: the construction of well-made and beautiful shoes is wicked hard.

Learning how to meld together disparate materials (cloth, leather, silk, wood, metal) into the single objet d’art takes years of practical training and experience.

It is the difference between being the apprentice and being the college student. Cobbling is learned by apprentices, fashion design to taught to students.

This is why the 21-year-old contestants of the FN Shoe Star are deficient in the matter of construction, because they have not accumulated enough time working with the materials before they were asked to turn their drawings into reality. Hands on experience is everything here. (This is also one reason why the young contestants on the Project Runway were so often able to make the beautiful clothing, they needed to master only cloth in its various guises, not cloth, leather, wood, and metal.)

And now, the true question of the week. Which six of the dozen applicants will be selected as the FN Shoe Star contestants? Who will go forward?

The Manolo believes that it will be Rachel, Matthew, Hyojin, LaQuonia, Nicole, and Christina.


The FN Shoe Star Begins! Episode One!

Manolo says, the Manolo is excited to see that the first episode of the second season of the Footwear News Shoe Star is now on-line and available for all of his internet friends to view!

If you loves the shoes and the Project-Runway-type, reality-shows which mostly place the premium on actual design talent rather than witless drama, then you will enjoy the FN Shoe Star, which is the web-based reality show, sponsored by the Brown Shoe, in which the young aspiring designers compete to become the FN Shoe Star.

Black-Eyed Pea Fergie hosts the FN Shoe Star

FN Shoe Star: Fergie is the Host!

And now, before the Manolo makes his comments, he encourages you to go watch the first episode. It is only eleven minutes in the length and will give you the context needed to understand and appreciate what the Manolo has to say.

{The Manolo waits patiently, and yet also eagerly, for the return of his friends….}

What you watched was the was the first half of the two-part auditions episode in which the Footwear News editors, led by the handsomely dour Michael Atmore, pick the six finalists to continue with the competition.

For the Manolo, the worst part was that the episode ended too soon, just as the Manolo was becoming fully engaged. Yes, we live in the era of the short attention spans, but twenty or twenty-five minutes would have been the exactly right amount.

Other than this small quibble, the Manolo was pleased. The focus thus far has been on the shoes, and the discussions of the design thoughts in the heads of the young (very young!) designers-to-be.

As for the shoes, they were somewhat underwhelming. Most were pedestrian and not especially original, and in more than one case did not appear to be especially well-made.



The FN Shoe Star!

Manolo says, coming soon, right after the first of the year, it is the FN Shoe Star! FN Shoe Star

The FN Shoe Star is the interwebs-based shoe design contest, the collaboration between the Footwear News, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and Brown Shoe, in which twelve young designers of the shoes compete to see who is the best.

For the readers of the Manolo with the long memories, they will perhaps remember the first incarnation of the FN Shoe Star, more than three years ago. The contest that was not as widely published as it should have been.

Here is the video in which we are catching up with the previous contestants, all of whom have done well in the shoe business..

This time, FN Shoe Star promises to be bigger and betterer and more well promoted, and indeed, they have even asked the humble shoeblogger Manolo to be one the official bloggers!

In his role as official blogger, the Manolo will provide amusing commentary on the episodes as they appear and help guide his internet friends to things that merit their attention, such as this contest in which Brown Shoe is giving away the $250 gift certificate.

And so, the Manolo asks you to stay tuned in the month of January for the reincarnation of FN Shoe Star, as it is certain to be both exciting and entertaining.