Archive - Shoes RSS Feed

Manolo the Columnist: Jodi from Diane von Furstenberg

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

Dear Manolo,

I have a trip coming up in November to New York! I will be singing with a number of choirs in the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center and after our performance we have a gala to attend. I am planning on finding a little black dress to wear for the event, but I could really use some advice on some great heels to go with it. Any suggestions!

Heidi

Manolo says, how do you get to the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center? Practice, practice, practice.

Yes, it is the old joke, but it is funny because being the good chorister is the difficult thing to master, relying as it does upon both the hours and the hours of practice, and the unusual combination of the personal traits.

Firstly, you have to be the good enough singer to qualify to carry the tune. Unless you are exceptional, it is unlikely that your famous rendition of “The Unchained Melody”, in which you hit all of the high notes flawlessly, will sound quite as good when not accompanied by water shooting out of your showerhead.

Secondly, your ego must not be overweening, making you think that every solo should be yours. Indeed, you must be humble enough to recognize that, during certain times of the year, your entire vocal repertoire will consist of the word “Hallelujah” sung repeatedly until you are forever sick of it. (“Curse you George Frideric Handel!”)

Look! Here is the Jodi from Diane von Furstenberg, the suede platform sandal with just the right amount of celebratory gold.

Jodi from Diane von Furstenberg

The Continental

People say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. False. The road to Hell is paved in cobblestones, which means you can’t wear heels. That’s what makes it Hell.

When I first expatriated, I lived in a little village paved with the Devil’s bunions and it was a two mile walk to the restaurant that provided most of my sustenance. I walked eight miles a day that car-less summer. Heels were out of the question. I used bronze Roman sandals instead. After all, a girl must have some glamor.

Even when I had wheels, I still refused to risk a broken ankle –or worse, a scuffed heel– by wearing stilettos unless someone agreed to carry me bodily to my vehicle; a daunting task, especially if you’re not set up with the appropriate winches, pulleys and hydraulic jacks.

As luck would have it, I was the only woman in the village young enough not to know a time when mammoth was a nutritious part of your complete breakfast and I struck up a friendship with an enormous (and enormously smitten) former Golden Gloves boxer who bore a striking resemblance to Zeus, assuming Zeus was Latino and spent most of his life getting punched in the head for money.

Now I know I’m in a committed relationship and all, but seriously, if you’ve never tried Greek God as a mode of transportation, I highly commend it.

However, if you can’t find your own punch-drunk Olympian to haul you around your town like a sack of well-shod potatoes, never fear. The Continental heel is making a slow but steady return to fashion.

So wait, what is a Continental heel?

The Continental heel –pictured above lending its graceful curve to a pair of Robert Clergerie booties– is closely related and thus often confused with the Louis heel. Of course it doesn’t help that half the shoes labeled as a Louis heel are actually Continentals.

They’re both flared heels, that much is true.

However, a Louis heel has a height limit –a true Louis can’t be more than 3″ high.

See, good ol’ King Louis XIV of France was one of those pocket monarchs, so he took to wearing heels to give himself a 3″ boost. Then he forbade anyone to wear heels higher than his, because apparently that’s what you do when you’re king.

King Louis XIV of France, fresh off his fabulous Las Vegas revue, sporting a pair of Louis heels

A Louis heel also traditionally has a curved breast, meaning the front part of the heel –the part that faces the toe– tapers and flares the echo the back part. Continental heels have the same curved or tapered back, but the breast is flat or nearly so.

I think we’re due for a comeback of a thicker heel.

We had a few seasons where Prada was showing banana heels everywhere but it didn’t last. I’d really like to see a serious return to one of the original sculptural heels. They’re pretty, fresh-looking and –for my purposes anyway– infinitely easier to deploy on cobblestones. Not that I’ll be telling Zeus Golden Gloves that.


Fit Note:
Robert Clergerie runs pretty true to size for length, but designs for women with banana feet. If you’ve got narrow feet, you’re in luck. Everyone else, size up and pray.

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.

Manolo the Columnist: Manda from Kate Spade NY

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

Dear Manolo,

My fabulous cousin, whose birthday is the day after mine, and has been an anchor through many crises, turned 40 a couple of weeks ago. I’m sorry to say I had to miss her surprise party because I was away on a business trip. But, it is not too late for giving wonderful surprise birthday presents. Might you have a suggestion?

Monica

Manolo says, perhaps it is the gypsy in the Manolo, but the Manolo cannot help but love the giant, big families, with the thirteen children, and the twenty-dozen cousins of the varying degrees.

Especially the first cousins, who because they are not always around like the siblings, can be great sources of support and amusement, without the attendant rivalry, jealousy, and periodic fist-fighting. And this is the secret to the relationship, you have the same grandmamma and the same grandpapa, but you also have the different parents! The truth is hiding in plain sight, so obvious, and yet so powerful.

Who else but the first cousin would readily agree to accompany you your on your schemes of mayhem and glory, without trying to steal the parental affection that will be required when you return home in ignominy?

For the example, the teeny Manolo and his own favorite first cousin, Teofilo, often sought out adventure in the countryside around the caravans. Ayyy! How many times did they have to scamper back home covered in purloined watermelon, the authorities in full cry behind them, only to split apart at the final moment, Teofilo to his mother’s lap and the Manolo to his own beloved mama’s.

Here is the Manda from Kate Spade New York in the poetical anthracite starlight finish, perfect for the beloved accomplice on the occasion of her belated fortieth birthday.

Manda from Kate Spade NY

Is It A Shoe RESULTS

Last week I invited you all to play the fun new game “Is It a Shoe?” wherein I displayed an object (below) that might or might not be intended for use on a human foot.

I then invited readers to answer two questions.

  • Is it a shoe?
  • If not, what is it?

and there are a few awards to hand out

Superfantastic reader Marvel gets induction into The Order of the Shiny Apple for mentioning Joan Crawford, which I’d mentioned would garner extra points, while Fran, wins the coveted Nostradamus Tiara of Unfortunate Plausibility for suggesting:

Lady Gaga and Damien Hirst are proud to present their first child; it will be auctioned in a Qatari art gallery at the modest asking price of 2,375 gazillion of the US dollars.

The tiara is, as per previously outlined specifications, cut in half and floating in formaldehyde with a cow’s eyeball.

Sadly, in games like in relationships, there can be only one winner and this week it’s the lovely and fragrant Jo, who offered this gem:

Not a shoe. This is a sad genetic experiment gone wrong. This is what you get when you cross a porcupine with a magpie – a fetish for spines and shiny things. We should put it out of its misery, as it would never survive in the wild. However, we’ll probably see it around some pecuniarily over-endowed chit’s ankles as the latest fad for fashion pets continues.

For her troubles, Jo is appointed Chair of Cryptozoology and Sparkly Things at Our Lady of the Sacred Slingback University.

Thanks to all who played! Be sure to join us again soon for…

 

 

Smoking Slippers, Yea or Nay?

I’m just not sure about this whole smoking slipper trend.

(These are from Ralph Lauren. Sort of a “I stole the altar hangings from a church during Lent” look about them but in a nice way. Click image for link)

I actually quite like smoking slippers as a species for private use.

I even have a custom pair with my initials and Latin family motto and everything. Got ‘em in London seven or eight years ago when I first girlishly dabbled in bespoke footwear.

I’d pinched my pennies hard and the brutal exchange rate at the time –2:1 dollars to pounds– pinched them harder so I’d juuuust about managed to afford two pair of whipsnake d’Orsays plus a cheap seat to Equus back when people cared about Daniel Radcliffe’s uh, hufflepuff (and, from what I remember of the show, well before he learned the elusive yet powerful manscaping spell.)

The shoemaker was running some promotion where the third pair was 50% off and the smoking slippers were the only kicks I could afford and still pack both of my kidneys on the long flight home (my liver I left somewhere north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.)

It’s just…I mean…do they feel a little  Let Them Eat Cake right now, given the current extreme levels of social and political divisiveness, in a way that’s just slightly different from regular “status” shoes to anyone else?

Like a little too eager to harken back to the good old days of Britain when we imagine everyone acted just like characters from an Oscar Wilde play and everything was great and too, too refined provided you were white, male and had scads of money (you know, as opposed to the times in history where being a rich white guy has been such a disadvantage) It just strikes me as tone deaf.

Is it me? It’s probably just me.

It’s like the old relative you know and love, the one who slipped you twenties in your birthday card when everyone else gave you two freshly-ironed dollar bills, but is, well, kinda racist.

It’s like you’ve brought your new boyfriend to meet the family for dinner and everything’s fine and all of a sudden your beloved great uncle says “You know what I like about Obama?” and you just sit there praying to God harder than you’ve ever prayed for anything that didn’t involve peeing on a stick that the big reveal won’t involve the phrase “so well-spoken.”

But of course it does, and it just hangs in the air above the decorative fish platter like this giant awkward thing (not unlike the decorative fish platter itself) until someone changes the subject or you commit ritual suicide with a bread knife

It probably doesn’t matter. In a few months cheap and cheerful versions of the traditionally British social signifiers will flood the market and with dilution of design will come dilution of the message, kind of like wearing delicate little slippers once either meant you were posh (in the UK) or quite possibly a prostitute (in Louisiana) I don’t know.

Am I overthinking this? Put it in the comments.

 

Manolo the Columnist: Flatiron from Stuart Weitzman

Manolo says, her this the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Dear Manolo

I am only 44 but was recently diagnosed with arthritis in my knees and was told by my doctor NO high heels. Any time I cheat and wear even a low heel (2 inches) I end up in pain for three days, so I’m back to flats. This summer has been fine because I can get away with ballet flats, and I can wear riding boots with skirts in the winter, but when I need to look really professional for special meetings and presentations, I need to wear skirt suits, and a very professional-looking shoe. Can you help me find a flat, comfortable, but professional-looking shoe?

Beth

Manolo says, ayyyy! It is true, time is cruel!

One minute you are the 22-year-old hottie, who looks amazingly great dressed only in the ill-fitting burlap sack from the Sears, and the next you are twice that age and have just received the personal letters from both the Dolce and the Gabbana asking you to please, please, please stop wearing their clothing. (And, look! Stefano has even enclosed the check and the Talbots catalog!)

And this says nothing about the various infirmities and physical indignities that are brought by the process of aging. Indeed, the Manolo, who is the gentleman of the certain age, has his own trick knee, one which renders him unable to walk without the slight limp, or drink vin ordinaire.

Here is the Flatiron from the Stuart Weitzman, the smashingly smashing dress flat in the rich cognac anilie finsh that will leave the teeny boppers in their burlap dresses gaping with envy.

Flatiron from Stuart Weitzman

Is It a Shoe?

Last week I introduced my loyal readers at Manolo for the Big Girl (which is about way more than big girl stuff, in case you’re interested but are worried about catching fat from the internet) to the fun new game, “Is It a Shoe?”

The rules are easy. I provide an image of something that may or may not be footwear, and you answer two simple questions:

Is it a shoe?

If not, what is it?

The winner will be picked the next week and lauded with palm branches or whatever else I find handy.

Ready? Let’s play!

Is it a shoe?

Remember, points are awarded on wit, intellect and gratuitous references to Joan Crawford. Just kidding, there’s no such thing as a gratuitous reference to Joan Crawford.

Prada Crisscross Platform Sandal for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk doing that thing that you do to make that money that you need to keep you from living beneath that bridge alongside the road.

“When did it become so difficult,” you ask yourself, perhaps rhetorically, “to eke out the living?”

And then you feel sorry for yourself, because all of your first-world problems are weighing you down:

For the example, you need the new washer and dryer, because the old set is seven years old, and does not feature the latest next generation, electronic time-delay cycle technology, which means that you must physically be present to push the button that turns on the actual washing machine, instead of setting it so that the cycle starts later, thus ending when you are around to put the clothes into the dryer. Without this magical 21st Century feature, you have to be there in person when the cycle ends to immediately put the clothes into the dryer, lest they acquire that moldy smell from sitting in the washer, damp.

And frankly, this morning you find this intolerable, mainly because you are catching the strange whiff of moldiness from your hair, which you dried this morning with the towel that had sat in the washer tub much of yesterday afternoon while you were at brunch.

Meanwhile, somewhere in southeast Asia, the woman who is exactly your age, to the day, squats by the muddy brown river, beating her family’s clothing on the large rock.

And, ayyyy! Look at how toned her upper arms are!

You would have to spend many hours at the gym to get that sexy arm definition, being hectored by the blonde airhead who directs the SculptZumYogaBo class.

And this thought has made you even more dolorous.

Look! Beautiful shoes!

Prada CrissCross Platform Sandal

The leather Prada crisscross platform sandals from the Fall 2012 collection.

Manolo the Columnist: Angelfish from Sperry

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

Dear Manolo,

I have been invited to spend a weekend on a yacht off the coast of South Florida at the end of September, with my boss, my boss’ boss, a senior figure at a key client, and their spouses/significant others. I am the most junior of the group at age 26. Please help me find a Sperry-esque shoe that meets the rules of the boat (must have non-marking soles, preferably with some grip), and will demonstrate that I am a serious professional, yet still celebrates my (relative) youth.

Lu

Manolo say, thanks to the steady diet of popular entertainment, this sounds to the Manolo like the set up to either the sinister thriller, involving volcanic island lairs and jump-suited henchmen, or the slapstick comedy of errors in which our heroine must conceal that she has accidentally dropped the big shot client’s wife’s obnoxious Chihuahua-poo over the side of the boat, thus endangering the important contract. And now, for the rest of the movie, she has to make up the increasingly elaborate excuses for the missing dog, while her wacky coworker (and best friend) hides in the cabin making the yapping noises.

Of the course, if your imagination is set at the expert level, this is actually the set up for the sinister comedy action thriller of errors, in which it is the dog belongs to the evil super villain who owns the super luxury yacht on which you are vacationing.

Here is the Anglefish from Sperry, the feminized version of the classic boat shoe in the platinum gold metallic finish. (If you feel this is too bold for Dr. Morbo’s yacht, The Yersinia Pestis, it is available in twenty other finishes, including the handsome linen and oat.)

Angelfish from Sperry

Beautiful and Rare

 

…and each one is at least 70% off some seriously hefty (as in $1000+) price tags.

These five unique offerings are available in extremely limited sizes, but if they’re your size and your style, you’re in luck.


Salvatore Ferragamo Berg sculpted wedge sandal
The question is not are they too Bianca Jagger; it’s are they Bianca Jagger *enough*?

The sculpted precision of the cut-out keeps these bisque suede wedges from being just another pair of campy kicks. For an absolutely horrible variation on the curvilinear theme hop on over to the other blog to play Is It A Shoe? Hint: I don’t really think it’s a shoe.


Ralph Lauren Collection Hannie riding boot
I don’t know who’s doing the accessories behind good ol’ Ralphie Lipschitz these days, but they knocked this one out of the park. Ralph Lauren Goes Horsey is Ralph Lauren at his best. I’m also pretty sure it’s the name of a mail-order-only DVD that comes in discreet brown packaging.


Ralph Lauren Collection Jearra t-strap sandal
I love vachetta leather the way nicer, less interesting people love their kids. Traditionally you’d have to wait for time and the elements to give your vachetta its characteristic patina, but it looks like the clever calzolai in Lauren’s Italian workshop have not just tooled the quarter and the platform but treated it, too.

(more…)

What Miss Plumcake is…

It’s Tuesday, time to find out What Miss Plumcake is…

(more…)

Page 10 of 195« First...«89101112»203040...Last »