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The FitFlop

Manolo says, many of the Manolo’s internet friends have been asking him about the supposedly very popular brand of the thong sandals.

“Manolo what do you think of the FitFlop?”

To which the Manolo replies: “Wah? The Flipflot?”

“No, Manolo, the FitFlop.”

“The FlitFlop?”

“No, no, no,” says the friend of the Manolo, “The Fit, F-I-T, Flop. It’s a type of flip flop sandal that tones you up as you walk on them.”

“Do not most shoes have this miraculous property,” answers the Manolo, “you walk the long distances in them and as the result you achieve the higher level of physical fitness.”

“Well, yes. But supposedly, you don’t have to walk as far in the FitFlop to achieve the same result.”

“Ah, so they are very, very heavy then, yes, like strapping the lead weights to your feets? For pumping the iron.”

“No. I don’t think so, Manolo. Anyway, these shoes they’re really cute, and they help you tone up. Cool, huh?”

“Really cute? Really?”

“Really cute. Look, here’s some FitFlops from Shoetique. What do you think, Manolo?.”

FitFlop Fluer Mineral Red

“Do you wish the Manolo to honestly opine about this,” asks the Manolo.

“Yes, of course.”

“It looks like the orthopedic shoe for hippies.”

“But, that’s the whole point, it tones you up as you walk in them.”

“Are you perhaps familiar with the name Charles MacKay?”

“No, who?”

“Oh, nobody.”

Zanotti, Morrissey and the (almost) death of a cobbler

After our recent Is It A Shoe contest, I feel perhaps we’ve given Guiseppe Zanotti the fuzzy end of the proverbial lollipop.

True, he is guilty of the spiky horse hoof shoe, not to mention these:

Thousand dollar hooker shoesDavy Crockett should punch you in the face for this

(these are all from several seasons ago, and yes, the dollar sign shoes would’ve set you back a cool grand)

Yes, he does tend to err slightly on the Russian Mafia Call Girl side of things from time to time but he’s also capable of walking that fine edge of playful elegance just as well as his fellow countrymen Dolce and Gabbana.

Some of his more restrained offerings are among my favorites in my personal collection.

I once rained down fire on a cobbler who, without my permission, added grippy rubber half-soles in a particularly abysmal shade of Stalinist utilitarian gray to a beautiful pair of black patent court shoes with an exquisite lacquered wood heel.

He thought he was doing me a favor.

I don’t remember the entire conversation, but I seem to recall non-voluntary circumcision coming up somewhere. I’m not in jail though, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually do it.

He’s also got an irresistible whiff of Morrissey about him, (Zanotti, not the cobbler) which makes sense as before he found his, er, footing he was a DJ in the 80’s.

It also explains why I alternately adore him and want to throw him off a roof.

Still, in the spirit of fairness, I thought I’d offer you some of Guido’s more approachable efforts, all of which are available on considerable sale at The Outnet, though some sizes might be limited.

Just click the images for the links.


Fit Note: Zanotti builds on a comparatively generous last, so his shoes tend to be wider than many other premium designers. They run pretty true to size, so if you’re used to sizing up, you might not have to with him. Also, he does pony/calf hair (same thing, no ponies were harmed) better than any other designer I’ve encountered. It’s smooth, glossy and doesn’t tuft out everywhere a week after you bring them home. I’ve worn a pair of his pony sandals regularly for about six years and the calf hair has stayed in place marvelously. Highly recommended.

Jodie Marsh Scares the Normal People

Jodie Marsh, All Natural Beauty

Manolo says, speaking of the sort of peoples whose stage name might easily be Mercedes Luv, the Manolo presents to you the English media personality Jodie Marsh. (Imagine Tila Tequila without the talent.)

And now, just by looking at the above picture, the Manolo encourages you to imagine what sort of shoes this person might wear to accentuate this outfit…

The answer is below the fold… (more…)

Botas Picuadas

Mexican Botas Picuadas, Pointy Toes!

Manolo says, many of the Manolo’s internet friends have been emailing him, asking him to comment on the article in the Daily Mail concerning the Mexican botas picuadas, the crazy pointy-toed boots worn by the peoples from the San Luis Potosi.

To which the Manolo answers, he has already considered this topic in depth, two months ago.

Here are the links:

Botas Exóticas: Pointy-Toes, Poulaines, and Male Display

Botas del Baile Tribal

Botas Exóticas: Mexican Vaquero Elves!

Botas Exoticas: The Leningrad Cowboys

However, to recap, here is the Manolo’s opinion: the key to understanding the trend of the botas picuadas is that it is confined mostly to the teenaged boys, who being the teenaged boys are suffering from the dual curse of excessive testosterone and low common sense.

What more needs to be said?

Botas Exoticas: The Leningrad Cowboys

Manolo says, the Manolo’s internet friend, the Yum Yum, has pointed to high-spirited Finnish rock band known as the Leningrad Cowboys, who for the past twenty years have been wearing the pointy hair and the pointier shoes.

The Leningrad Cowboys and the Botas Exoticas

In 1993, they even did the concert with the Red Army Chorus, of which the video below is the amusing artifact.

To the Manolo, the pointy-toes and pompadours of the Leningrad Cowboys have more in common with the Japanese Rockabilly dancers as the obvious appropriation and exaggeration of the American rock iconography, while the sudden appearance of the botas exoticas of the baile tribal are more sui generis and mysterious.

But, the Manolo leaves it up to you to decide.

Botas Exóticas: Mexican Vaquero Elves!

Manolo says, from the Vice Magazine’s VBS.TV comes this amusing mini-documentary about the Mexican botas exóticas with the pointy-pointy toes.

In this episode of Behind the Seams we head to the dusty city of Matehuala, Mexico in search of the pointiest long-toed cowboy boots ever made. Over the past year, the botas vaqueras exóticas phenomenon has overrun the rodeo dance floors and clubs of this area and even spreading North into Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and any place where big groups of immigrant Mexicans have taken root. We made our way to Desierto Light, one of the clubs in this area where party promoters host dance-offs to music known as Tribal Guarachero. For the finals competition, the 17-year-old prodigy DJ Erick Rincón of the 3ballMTY crew performed for a crowd of adoring pointy-boot wearing raver cowboys.

What makes the Manolo laugh about this video is that like the historic poulaines, some of the botas are now curling back upon themselves in the classic design favored by the elves and the genies.

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?

Botas del Baile Tribal

Manolo says, according to the Univision the pointy toed boots have begun to appear in Dallas!

Here below, for your edification, are the photos of the evolutionary stages that preceded the current fluorescence.

First the diversity of the color and the lengthening of the silhouette…

Then the toes achieve the exaggerated state and begin to turn up…

(more…)

Botas Exóticas: Pointy-Toes, Poulaines, and Male Display

Chuntaros and their Botas Exoticas

Manolo says, from the Vice Magazine comes news of the hot fashion trend emanating from the rural backwaters of northern Mexico.

Last month we went to the dusty city of Matehuala, Mexico, in the northern state of San Luís Potosí on the high plateau of the Huasteca Potosina, in search of the pointiest long-toed cowboy boots ever made. Over the past year, the botas vaqueras exóticas phenomenon has overrun the rodeo dance floors and clubs of this area, much to the dissatisfaction of Mexicans who critique the fashions of their countrymen on hotly trafficked style blogs.

[…]

Participants in these dance contests spend the days and weeks prior choreographing intricate footwork routines and fabricating their own outfits with cheap paint and fabric. The grand prize, beyond the enthusiastic crowd’s affection, is either a bottle of whiskey or a few bucks.

A separate contest, we were pleased to discover, is held for the longest, most ornate and pointed boots, which are also spotlighted in public song-and-dance programs. The exotic boots are made by modifying boring normal ones with materials bought in local hardware and craft stores. The fanciest are adorned with LED lights or mirrors, while others incorporate paint and every color of sequins. They all get the glitter treatment no matter what. It was explained to us that some boots have measured upward of five feet in length.

Here is the video of the botas in action…

Are they not marvelous in their horrifying and ridiculous way?

Of the course, these exotic boots of the cowboys are nothing more than the happenstance revival of the medieval poulaine, the pointy-toed shoe favored by chivalrous swains who wished to make the not-so-subtle erotic display; “perhaps the most blatantly sexual and pornographic shoe style ever worn,” says the writer William Rossi.

Clearly, these young vaqueros are wearing their botas, and doing their peacock dances in the hopes of attracting attention and chicas, just as the medievals, we are told, would waggle their pointy toes at the pretty women.

And now, allow the Manolo to make one more cultural leap, and present to you the video of yet another subculture preparing for the display of dance. Please to pay attention to the boots, not the hair…

Japanese rockabilly dancers wearing winklepicker motorcycle boots secured with the electricians tape!

Do not ask the Manolo to explain, he cannot.

Fresh Horror: The Jefferson Slip-On from Native Shoes

John Varvatos Vintage Court Slip-Ons. Perfect in its way.

The Varvatos Vintage Court Slip-On. Perfection.

Plus

The Croc, Scourage of a Generation

The Croc, Scourge of God

Equals

The Jefferson Slip-On from Native Shoes

Jefferson Slip-On from Native Shoes. Horror.

Manolo says, because as everyone knows, if you mix the ounce of sewage with the bottle of
fine wine, you have the most tastiest cocktail ever!

P.S. The tip of the hat to Manolo’s internet friend the Nancy.

The Grey Ant Teva Stiletto; When Genetic Experiments Go Awry

Manolo says, The Teva-letto, it lives!

Grey Ant x Teva Stiletto Sandals

Here is the description from the people who have unleashed this monstrosity…

Teva, leader in the sport sandal industry is known for their innovation of performance products and advanced technologies in the footwear industry teamed up with Grey Ant, the two collide to bring you the best of both worlds.

If the Manolo might paraphrase: “Hey! You got peanut butter in my chocolate-covered-lutefisk!”

“But, Manolo, these sandals, they are so comfortable, I hardly notice that the demons that lives in the heels have compelled me to murder my family and bury their corpses in the azalea bushes along the fence.”

Astaroth has commanded that, this year, I plant Aunt Petunia.

Less monstrous than the Stella McCartney Birkenstiletto, yes or no?

Nooooooo!!!!! “Crocs Comeback in the Making”

Manolo says, it lives!

The footwear company based in Niwot, Colo., is fighting its way back since being declared “dead” in press reports last year.

After enjoying great success as its shoes flew off shelves and investors snapped up its stock—the company raised more than $200 million in its 2006 stock offering—Crocs stumbled during the recession. Consumers and investors considered the clog—and the company’s stock—a fad that had faded.


Now, Crocs is trying to fashion a comeback. It’s rolling out new, higher-priced shoes that include flip-flops and high heels. Those styles are highlighted in ads. Its traditional clog? It has been turned into an advertising character—two of them, actually—who give foot massages.

It is like the horror movie. Just when you think the monster is dead, there it is, scrabbling at your throat with it’s horny hands.

This week I caught up with Ken Chaplin, vice president of global marketing for Crocs. He was eager to show off its new shoes and boots but he seemed careful to avoid the word “clog.” Instead, he referred to it as “that iconic shoe.”

That Which Must Not Be Named!

Q: You’re still best known for your quirky clog with holes even though you’re also selling boots, high heels and flip-flops. How do you take a brand associated with clogs and stretch it to include many different types of footwear?

Chaplin: We are looked at as a brand but also as an item—a very iconic item in that shoe you mentioned and one that has brand awareness in the United States of over 95%. Our idea was to use that to our advantage. Working with our agency Cramer-Krasselt we came up with this idea on how to bridge the past, that iconic shoe, with the future. With over 250 styles, our best opportunity was to let them know the comfort from our iconic shoe can be found in everything we do.

Allow the Manolo to translate: “Yes, That Which Must Not Be Named nearly destroyed civilization, but look, over there, candy!”

Q. I talk to a lot of folks about how they manage their reputations online but few companies like yours have critics who’ve set up Web sites and Facebook sites against their products. There are 8,000 members of the “I Hate Crocs” Facebook page. Why do some people feel so hostile toward this brand and what do you do about them?

Chaplin: I haven’t seen a lot of new activity on those sites for a while. We have such a great opportunity in the US with people who are open to Crocs. We’re using our efforts to talk to them.

Q. Crocs has been in danger of going the way of many other fads. Is it possible Crocs will show that a fad can have staying power?

Chaplin: We don’t use the ‘F’ word.

You may be certain that the Manolo has already used the ‘F’ word.

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