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Blog.mode Address Fashion

Manolo says, there is the new exhibit that has just opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute entitled Blog.mode Addressing Fashion and sponsored by the Maestro Manolo Blahnik. This morning there was the very good article in the Wall Street Journal about this show.

Fashion criticism has long been the exclusive realm of an insular band of journalists who traveled the big runway shows in Paris, Milan and New York and seemed to speak their own esoteric language. But the Met’s new exhibit, “Blog.mode Addressing Fashion,” is inviting anyone with an Internet connection to critique the clothes on display. With its new blog, blog.metmuseum.org/blogmode/, which went up this week, the august museum is also acknowledging that traditional fashion criticism is over.

The Manolo has been talking about this very thing, the democratization of fashion and fashion reportage and criticism for more than three years now.

The article continues.

“There’s a whole new field out there,” says Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s curator. He decided last summer to turn a retrospective of important garments acquired by the museum since 2000 into a three-way conversation of sorts between curator, designer and outside observers. “We wanted to further the practice of fashion interpretation and appreciation,” he says.

The exhibit features 65 garments arranged mostly chronologically, from a circa-1730 British waistcoat to Mr. Theyskens’s ballgown from a 2007 Nina Ricci collection. It contains work from prominent designers like Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garçons’ creative director, Rei Kawakubo, and Donna Karan. [...]

In the middle of the exhibit, a “blog bar” invites viewers to post their own thoughts on the clothes. Curators decided to invite anyone to post comments on the blog after noticing over the past year and a half that fashion blogging is gaining momentum and respect. As influential blogs garner large audiences and advertisers shift ad spending to the Internet, designers and retailers are also beginning to view the medium as a new opportunity to reach people. [...]

Many bloggers are “cultivated amateurs,” Mr. Koda said this week, while admiring the 18th-century red wool waistcoat. “I do not think bloggers will change the direction of fashion, but they can inform our interpretation of objects.”

The exhibit also illustrates how the Internet is making high-brow cultural institutions more accessible to a mainstream audience. “Curators aren’t these godlike creatures,” Mr. Bolton says.
[fashion]

The Costume Institute’s democratic approach to criticism surprises some industry experts. “What is astonishing to me is that the fashion industry is allowing these people to become important,” says David Wolfe, creative director at the Doneger Group, a New York retail consultancy.

Here is the person who does not understand how the new media works.

The fashion industry can neither “allow” nor nor not allow the fashion bloggers to become important. It is not within their ability to restrict us from writing what we think about various things. Nor is it within their power to keep many of us from becoming popular voices about matters sartorial. And if we become popular voices, then they, the fashion nabobs, must pay attention to us and our readers, for if they do not, they risk alienating their market.

Thus the importance of the fashion bloggers is entirely dependent upon whether or not they are being read, and has very little to do with the acceptance or non-acceptance of the fashion industry.

The good news, however, is that there are many in the fashion world who understand what is going on.

But some designers find it refreshing. “Fashion is supposed to be this exclusive world that nobody has access to,” says Hussein Chalayan, who uses elements of technology in his designs, such as a remote-control-powered dress in the show. But the Internet is changing that perception. “At the end of the day when you have a critic write about your work, it is just one person who is supposed to be an expert,” he says. “Why is this taken more seriously [than a blogger]?”

For designers, bloggers also represent a useful tool for market research and brand promotion. Shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, who sponsored the Met’s exhibition, says he thinks bloggers have been partly responsible for getting a younger generation of consumers excited about his shoes. One popular blogger who calls himself Manolo the Shoe Blogger has built a community of people who treat footwear criticism as if it were a team sport. “I love it,” Mr. Blahnik says.

Ayyyyyyy!

Did the Maestro Manolo just say that he “loves” the Shoe Blog of the humble shoeblogger?

This is one of the happiest days of the in Manolo the Shoebloggers entire life!! (Although, this is not the first time the Maestro has mentioned the Shoe Blog.)

The fact that Manolo Blahnik, himself, would sponsor the exhibition about the intersection of blogs and fashion says everything we need to know.

The Real Manolo Blahnik Shoes For Men

Manolo says, so, like the Shoeblogger you are dissatisfied with the Maestro Manolo Blahnik’s collection for men.

Do not despair! There is the other option!

It is the little known fact, outside of the equestrian circles, that the Maestro Manolo Blahnik has designed the very handsome collection of paddock boots, available in both mens and womens sizes, boots which any man would be most proud to wear!

Look, here is the Dory, one of the most attractive paddock boots the Manolo the Shoeblogger has ever seen.

The Dory by Manolo Blahnik

And here is the Lera.

The Lera by Manolo BlahnikThe Lera by Manolo Blahnik

This is what the Manolo the Shoeblogger had hoped for when he first heard that the Maestro was designing the shoes for the men, not what recently appeared.

These boots are sold exclusively through the website Equestrian Chic, and they are not unreasonably priced for what they are, which is beautiful Manolo Blahnik boots for men.

The Maestro Stumbles

Manolo says, many, many of the Manolo’s friends have written to him these past weeks asking him what thinks of the new mens shoe line being launched by his idol, the Maestro Manolo Blahnik.

When the Manolo first heard the rumor that the Maestro was making the men’s shoes, he was overjoyed. Finally, the genius cobbler of our age would produce something that the Shoeblogger could wear!

But, as one may guess from the fact that the Shoeblogger has delayed as long as possible speaking to this subject, the realization of the dream has fallen short.

Just look at this…

Afiyat from Manolo Blahnik,

Ayyyyy! The suede open-toed slingback for men? Noooooo! No! No! No!

Query: Is this the sort of shoe the impeccably tailored Manolo Blahnik would wear himself?

(more…)

Happy Birthday to the Maestro!

Manolo Blahnik
Manolo says, today is the special day of obligation here at the Manolo the Shoeblogger’s humble shoe blog, for today is the birthday of our patron saint, the Maestro Manolo Blahnik, who was born on this day in 1942.

Naturally, we shall celebrate this holy day with feasts in the Maestro’s honor, toasts to his continued good health, and shoes!

Manolo Blahnik Shoes!
Manolo Blahnik Shoes!

The Maestro Honored!

Manolo says, our leader in all things super fantastic, his holiness, the Maestro Manolo Blahnik has been honored by the Queen!

HE has been worshipped by the glitterati for his unashamedly beautiful designs for years and now Manolo Blahnik has received the ultimate accolate: being made an honorary CBE, or Commander of the British Empire.

The Spanish-born, London-based shoe designer has received the award “in recognition of his status as one of the most successful and influential designers of our time”. Culture Secretary James Purnell, who presented the honour, commented: “Manolo Blahnik is one of only a handful of designers whose name is synonymous with their product. His avant garde designs mixed with timeless classics ensure that women all over the world are desperate to get their hands on a pair of Manolos. By basing his business in London, Mr Blahnik has played a huge part in enhancing the reputation of the capital as a leading fashion industry centre.”

And Manolo himself couldn’t be more thrilled with his new title.

“It is the greatest privilege to have been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to receive such an honour for my small contribution to the fashion industry in Britain,” the modest designer said. “I’ll always be proud and grateful for it.”

Ayyyy! The Maestro Manolo is now the Commander Maestro Manolo!

P.S. Many thanks to the Manolo’s friend Poochie the Shoe Lover for alerting him to this.

Secrets of the Maestro Manolo Blahnik

Manolo says, Simon Doonan of Barney’s dishes the most intimate secrets of our beloved master, Manolo Blahnik.

MANOLO’S GHOST: Manolo has an 18th century house in the town of BATH England. The living room is haunted by the horrid ghost of an old dowager. The ghost is wearing dreadful shoes so Manolo refuses to acknowledge her presence
[...]Campari by Manolo Blahnik   The Manolo Adores!  Click!

MANOLO’S MAGICAL BIRTH: Manolo Blahnik hails from the Canary Islands. On the day his mother gave birth a canary with a deformed beak was twitter outside her window making a noise which sounded like MANOLO! MANOLO! Et voila!
[...]

MANOLO’S PHILOSOPHY: Manolo hates vulgarity or cheesiness of any kind with the exception of Mae West who he adores.

His birth was accompanied by omens!

What more does one need to say than this?

The Cowboy Boots of Manolo Blahnik

Manolo says, here is the most amusing article about the Neiman Marcus 100th anniversary celebration, part of which was the giant western-themed party at the Cotton Bowl. The best part, however, is that one of the attendees was the Maestro Manolo Blahnik, kitted out completely in cowboy western style!

As the cocktail hour wore on, guests wandered between pig races, dressing goats in tutus and wigs (yes, it’s true) and posing for pictures with a longhorn steer. A few brave souls signed waivers and rode the mechanical bull. As Andrew Rosen was climbing aboard, Carmen Marc Valvo cried, “Take off your glasses! Everyone says it’s slippery. This is crazy. There’s no seat.” After Rosen took a tumble, Valvo took his turn and hung on for 25 bucks of the bull before being flung. “I’ll take it. That was fun. Now let’s go look at the pigs,” he said.

[...]

As Chris Isaak played through his repertoire — thanking Neiman’s for inviting him and his band because “we really didn’t have anyplace else to go. Well, I mean, we do have other places to go, but it’s great to be playing Neiman Marcus. We could have been playing Sears Roebuck” — guests continued to discuss business, the balmy weather and their own clothing. British jeweler Stephen Webster, who’s been on a tour of Neiman’s throughout the U.S., landed in Dallas that morning and, like many, headed directly to a Western gear store to grab his cowboy hat, boots and cowboy shirt. “It seemed like the right idea,” he said, before adding: “Although I don’t know when I’ll wear it again.”

Manolo Blahnik did the same the night before to get his getup, which he paired with his own bespoke Anderson & Shepherd double-breasted jacket. “My feet are killing me,” he moaned, pointing to his cowboy boots after doing some cha-chas on the sidelines. Why didn’t he just design his own? “No time, so I bought these at some shop in town, along with everything else. I’ve always admired John Wayne.”

But proving more than anything that the night was all about fashion, Blahnik had his own twist on the Western theme: “It’s all vintage, honey — vintage. I insisted.”

And here is the other picture of the Maestro Manolo himself, in the cowboy boots and the 20-gallon hat.

He seems to be having the most fabulous time, despite the foot pain.

The Cows that Shoes Bought

Manolo says, this is the most unusual article the Manolo has read all month.

“Passion becomes the first thing in both of my businesses, whether it’s a new collection I’m selling to Neiman-Marcus or talking to Ernie about a bull or selling semen,” Malkemus said Friday.

And that is perhaps the best fashion-related quote ever to appear in any article ever, anywhere!

And now you must see it in its context…

She’s a kept woman – a showgirl – living large on the East Coast thanks to the fortunes of Manolo Blahnik shoes.

It must be said she’s never worn a pair of the mile-high stilettos.

She’s a cow.

Vivian, a 9-year-old Holstein, makes her home at a showcase cattle farm begun in recent years by the two men who own Manolo Blahnik USA.

She took a blue ribbon Thursday at a dairy show here and visits Madison Oct. 2 to 6 for the World Dairy Expo, which bills itself as “the international meeting place for dairy.”

That a wildly successful shoe merchant – whose product was made famous thanks to TV’s “Sex and the City” – found a Midas touch in a different realm is simple, as he tells it.

Fifty-three-year-old George Malkemus, president and co-owner of Manolo Blahnik USA, said it’s about a passion, hiring the right people and listening to them.

Some of his top people are Wisconsin-bred experts who were reared on the state’s dairy farms and educated in its schools.

“Passion becomes the first thing in both of my businesses, whether it’s a new collection I’m selling to Neiman-Marcus or talking to Ernie about a bull or selling semen,” Malkemus said Friday.

The reference is to Ernie Kueffner, 56, who grew up on a dairy farm in Hartford, Wis., and earned a business degree from Marquette University in 1973.

He’s part of a brain trust that has led to successes that Malkemus’ Arethusa Farm, in Litchfield, Conn., has had in breeding and showing cattle.

One of Arethusa’s cows, Veronica, a Jersey, was supreme champion at the World Dairy Expo in 2006. She was the top in her breed there in 2005. She also was reserve supreme champion – or No. 2 overall – in 2004.

Champion show cows made from Manolo Blahnik shoes! Usually it is the other way around.

Truly we live in the age of miracles and wonders!

The Collector

Manolo says, apparently, Daniel is not the only Day-Lewis with the intense love of the beautiful shoes, for the past 35 years his sister Tamasin, the celebrity chef, has bought ONLY the shoes of the Maestro Manolo Blahnik manolotamasin.jpg

When did Manolo become a habit, an obsession, a loyalty? Is it odd that, since that first pair of purple shoes, I have never bought a pair of shoes anywhere else? Manolos have seen my feet through everything. I have climbed to the top of Mweelrea, the mountain behind my house in County Mayo, in a pair of bitter-chocolate-brown ponyskin desert boots, which my children loved and stroked until they were bald. Yes, I have wellington boots, but the perverse pleasure in being the only person ever to stride out across the bog and climb Mweelrea in Manolos was irresistible. They have accompanied me everywhere, on all occasions, and made light of the good and the bad times. I can never really afford them, but, I tell myself, I can’t afford not to have them, and many a heartbreak has been assuaged, or a crisis defused, by a spur-of-the-moment trip to Old Church Street. Contrary though it may seem, I often end up buying a pair when I am most broke, for after the initial guilt comes renewed optimism and the satisfying, if scrambled, logic that they are an investment, that they will give you pleasure, the next best thing to happiness.

It is so true, this ability of beautiful shoes to make us happy.

Beautiful, beautiful shoes…

We re-invent ourselves as much through our shoes as through our clothes. Pregnant with my first daughter, Miranda, I loathed the drop-waisted tents and elasticated trousers that turned glowing young womanhood to instant matron. I ran to Manolo. Draw the eye to the ankles and away from the middle, I thought. The Schiaparelli-pink peep-toes with their soft leather bow and kitten heels were the business. I remember Bernard Levin, whom I was producing in a series of television interviews at the time, staring open-mouthed, failing even to notice that I was pregnant. ‘Look at your feet,’ he said. ‘They’re the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever seen.’

And beautiful boots….

You need to take out a second mortgage to buy Manolo Blahnik boots, but the thing is they can last for decades. In fact, my honey suede riding-boots are moulded to my feet, patched and re-soled and all the chicer for it, and will live another decade if the cobbler can still cobble them. They are as comfortable as Clint Eastwood in the saddle and look better than they ever did new. But the most coveted by all who set eyes on them are my knee-length tapestry boots. They lay at the back of the cupboard for a decade until I took them to New York the past few winters and was stopped on the street every time. ‘Gee, are those boots vintage?’ everyone asked. Yes, I replied, vintage Manolo, not knowing when old becomes vintage becomes antique, but impressing the teenagers and young women who stopped and stared and wondered where they could buy them.

The Day-Lewises, truly they understand the beauty of shoes!

Blahnik for the Thursday Morning


Red Shoes from Manolo Blahnik   Manolo Likes!  Click!

Manolo says, here is something bright and cheery with which to begin your Thursday, the red snakeskin pumps from the Maestro Manolo Blahnik.

If this does not get your day off to the good start, nothing will.

Beautiful but Expensive, Part 2

Manolo says, while the Manolo was away from his computer enjoying his Friday night, many of the Manolo’s internet friends were debating what the Manolo meant by his terse reply to the question about the Manolo Blahnik sandals.

Some peoples have interpreted the simple “no” as the rude and condescending rebuke to the questioner. Some have compared it to the reply of the zen master.

In the fact, it was the direct, if somewhat brusque admission that it would be impossible for the humble shoeblogger to find the shoe for any price that closely approximated the color, shape, and detail of these magnificent and unusual Blahnik sandals, much less for under $100 of the American dollars.

The Manolo is only the simple man who loves the shoes, not the magician.

Why, you may ask, can the Manolo not find the bargain basement knockoff of these shoes?

The reasons are legion. First, the teal-turquoise color of the Blahniks is unusual.

Currently, by the Manolo’s count, there are 227 “blue” high-heeled sandals at the Zappos. Now, please go look at these 227 shoes and note how many of them are close in color to this Blahnik teal.

How many did you find? One dozen?

Here is the closest match in terms of the color.

Yambamod Strappy Sandal by Manolo Blahnik    Manolo Adores!  Click!Constance by Nine West.   Manolo does not recommend.

On the right is the Constance by Nine West, the shoe that costs the mere $63.

Yes, it appears to be the same color as the Blahnik, but this is only because of the infidelity of reproduction of the computer display. The Manolo guarantees that if this shoe were put next to the teal Blahnik in real life, you would be ashamed to have thought it was the same color.

It is made of some synthentic man-made plastic, and so how could it possibly have the richness and depth of color achieved only in the finest of satins?

However, even if we do find the color match, we must then address the braiding of the back strap. This detail is not just pretty, but it is also very rare.

There are approximately 7,200 high heeled dress sandals in the inventory at the Zappos. The Manolo has not looked at all of them, but he can tell you that in the 2,000 he has looked at there is no braided back strap.

Combine the teal color with the braided back strap, two details which the Manolo’s internet friend particularly praised, and you see that it is impossible to find something similar for any price.

In truth, truly beautiful shoes are inimitable.

It is not just the color, or the materials, or even the individual details, but the totality that produces this beauty. And this is ultimately what justifies the high price.

Look again at the Manolo’s discussion of the Prada which seemed to imitate the Louboutin

Even the untrained eye can clearly see how the Prada looks common next to the exalted Louboutin. Both use the best Italian leather, and are assembled by the best Italian craftsmen, but one is so very much better than the other.

This difference is the hand and soul of the designer.

And it is why sometimes the best answer is the simple “no”.

Beautiful but Expensive

Yambamod Strappy Sandal by Manolo Blahnik    Manolo Adores!  Click!

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has just asked the Manolo the question about these most beautiful shoes of the Maestro Manolo Blahnik.

Hi! I’ve just come across these beautiful sandals at Neiman Marcus, but the price is extremely harsh. The color’s awesome, so are the braiding details – I love them. Do you happen to have any recommendations about where to find similarly gorgeous sandals for under $100?

No.

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