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Pumps/Court Shoes | Manolo's Shoe Blog - Part 2
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Fab Four: Green Suede Shoes (and how to clean them)

In the spirit of full disclosure, the Venn Diagram of “People Who Think Spangled and Be-Caped Polyester Jumpsuits Are a Good Idea” and “People from Whom Miss Plumcake Takes Sartorial Advice” does not see a great deal of overlapping.

Still, as both Elvis and Carl Perkins –the artist responsible for writing the seminal rockabilly classic– know, there’s just something about a good pair of suede shoes.

Blue is fine if a little expected, but greens from dusky olive to deep viridian are having a major moment this fall. Plus, green suede ages better blue does, where a bit of dirt and scuffing add to the character.

A little Annie Hall, a little Jules et Jim, these immaculate oxfords from Gravati (seriously, look at the soles, they are works of art) are the exact sort of shoe you didn’t know you needed until you find yourself wearing them for thirty years. Style it with rolled up jeans and a bateau-neck top for the kooky naif look, or go elegant with wide tailored trousers and a mercilessly chic cashmere sweater to channel Marlene Dietrich at her deadliest.

The iconic Alexander McQueen skull pump rarely goes on sale and this iteration is among the more elegant (the shark, I’m afraid, was jumped a good while ago with some of the late designer’s other iconic designs. See also, Marc Jacobs’ mouse shoe). Sizing is extremely limited, but if it fits your foot, you can get a signature shoe for over 50% off.

For something just as sexy but a little more sly, Robert Clergerie’s curvaceous Quatro in Basil is a lovely sample of a desk-to-dinner heel. The t-strap makes it perfect for dancing. In my experience, Clergerie cuts on a narrow last –it’s truth universally acknowledged that French women have skinny little banana feet– so size accordingly.

What do you wear to transition summer’s favorite maxi dresses into fall? A summer cut in an autumnal fabrication. The wallet-friendly Primrose from Seychelles fits the bill perfectly with a strong design element at the vamp that ascends higher up the throatline for a slightly less summery look. Even better, they’re on sale for 25% off.

Finally, I know people avoid suede because of the staining. I wouldn’t.

With use, suede develops a patina every bit as elegant as the crumpled lines of a linen pant. Buy them in neutrals and do your best to keep them away from oils –basically don’t fry chicken or perform automotive maintenance in them– and you’ll be good to go.

Oh, and as for maintenance: Ignore pretty much everything you’ve read on the internet on how to clean suede and listen to the advice from London custom shoemakers James Taylor and Son. They’ve been making bespoke footwear since 1857 and wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Manolo the Columnist: Nolan from Franco Sarto

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

Dear Manolo,

Next week, I’m going back to college to finish my degree. Sixteen years ago, before I quit school and started working, I never had any doubt about what to wear, or how to comport myself. Now, I’m in my mid-thirties and lost. What should I wear during my first week to make a good impression? Please keep in mind that I’m just a poor (returning) college student.

Stacy

Manolo says, from what the Manolo can see, the modern college students generally dress like the mental patients, in stain-resistant, loose-fitting clothing with drawstrings. Au currant for the young ladies are colorful sweatshirts and pajama bottoms, while the young gentlemen favor the sweatpants and novelty t-shirts.

And on their feets are the cheap flip-flops, shoes that induce in their wearer the sort of shuffling, shambling gait that goes well with the shabby clothing.

But then, when you are 18 years of age, it does not matter what you wear. Youthful beauty and vigor trump even in the most ridiculous of costumes, which is why the fashion designers hire willowy teenagers to model their clothing. However, for those of us whom eighteen is the distant memory, artifice, guile, and the keen eye for fashion must substitute for the natural advantages of youth.

This is why the Manolo suggests that the older students adopt the “business casual” standards for the on-campus wear. Treat your time back in the school as the job. Be more serious in comportment and attire than the average student and you will succeed admirably.

Here is the Nolan from Franco Sarto, the reasonably priced, mid-heel loafer that will distinguish you as the person who is there to learn, not par-tay.

Nolan from Franco Sarto

Manolo’s Late Night Bargin: Proenza Schouler OE2023

Proenza Schouler OE2023

Manolo says, from the Proenza Schouler comes this super-kawaii, cutey-cute, peep-toe, slingback pump with the color-blocking. And look! It is reduced 50% from the usual price! The savings of over $500 of the American dollars!

Shoe Personalities: Daltord from Robert Clergerie

N.B. Psychologists have proven what we already know, shoes tell us much about the wearer

Daltord from Robert Clergerie

The Daltord from Robert Clergerie, $595.

Manolo says, it is not easy being the assistant general counsel for the major, Fortune 500, consumer goods corporation, but after several years of clawing your way upward, working 80-hour weeks, and cutting the throats of your competitors and yes, occasionally, your friends, you have achieved just that.

All you have to do now is wait for the general counsel–the genial dunderhead with the 4 handicap and the 28-year-old trophy wife–to mess up, and his job is yours. And you deserve it, too, having sacrificed your first marriage on the altar of your ambition, opening its chest as if you were the Aztec priestess armed with the ragged obsidian knife.

But, whatever, right? It was worth it. You have no regrets. None… Not one.

Yes, occasionally, at night, while you are waiting for the Ambien to kick in, you think about what it was like when you were eleven. About your mother, mostly.

There is this recurring image of her standing at the kitchen sink, slicing tomatoes for the dinner salad. She is humming. You do not even know what the song is, but you know it sounds happy, because your mother, for all of her many faults, always seemed happy, bustling around the house, or playing tennis, helping at the church, going to the garden club.

She should have been miserable, five children in seven years, with your father only making the civil engineer’s salary. But she wasn’t. Not even when the breast cancer was eating away at her. Instead, she was still writing you these chipper letters talking about how poorly her azaleas were doing, and how she was going to give this yellow Hermés scarf that never suited her to the church’s spring jumble sale. She was only three years older than you are now.

Jan is just like her, with her four boys, her petty hobbies– crocheting!–and her rented summer cottage at Cape May. She and Mac have been together 29 years now, married for 26 of them.

You keep trying to get them to come spend the week or two at your place in Paris. It’s not much, just the two-bedroom flat on the third floor of the nondescript building, but the location is spectacular, in the 7e arrondissement just the short distance to the Rue Cler. (You bought these shoes at the Clergerie shop on the Champs-Élysées, which isn’t too far away.)

You should just send them the plane tickets. Get Pat, their oldest, to help you arrange it. Make it the surprise for them, something romantic. You can be there for the couple of days, and then let them have the place to themselves for the rest of the week.

And thinking of this, of your sister Jan and her stolid husband in Paris, actually makes you happy, which reminds you of something else your mother used to say, something you have always regarded as ridiculous, to wit: “The best way to cure insomnia is to help other people.”

Maybe there is something to that.

Tina from Salvatore Ferragamo for the Tuesday

Manolo says, it is Tuesday and you will not be at your desk this day, for you must attend the three-day strategy planning conference held at the world headquarters of the InEmTechCoCorp, Inc.

To say that you are not looking forward to this is the understatement. Three days of the tediously protracted committee meetings, filled with blather and jargon, and fueled by over-roasted coffee and free-floating angst. The toadies will toady, the vice presidents will preen, and you will be forced to pretend to pay attention to the proceedings.

No doodling for you! Sit up straight! The Vice President in Charge of Forward-Thinking Strategic Planning Strategy is giving the presentation!

You will tap listlessly on your electro-tablet iThingy as this besuited buffoon talks about how he took charge and strategically planned the corporate plan for strategy, while his toadies nod their heads.

Maybe, just for the second, you can mentally slip away…

“Manolo,” you whisper to yourself, “quick, show me the shoes!”

Tina from Salvatore Ferragamo

Here is the Tina from the Salvatore Ferragamo. Simple, elegant, restrained, handsome.

Clarice Satin Pump from Kate Spade for the Wedneday

Kate Spade Clarice PumpKate Spade Clarice Pump

Manolo says, this is how things sometimes work in the world of the Manolo: he is looking at the shoes, and suddenly, something catches his eye, and delights his fancy, and he is moved to cry hosanna and put it on the humble shoe blog for all to admire. Such is the case with this, the Clarice Satin Pump from the Kate Spade New York, the perfect shoe for the festive celebration where the bold color is required.

Cinderella. Louboutin. Cinderella by Louboutin!

Cinderella by Louboutin!

Manolo says, Ayyyyyy! Finally, the fairy tale has come true!

Manolo’s Late Night Bargain: Dizzie from Charles by Charles David

Dizzie from Charles DavidDizzie from Charles David

Manolo says, here is Dizzie from Charles by Charles David, the classic suede pump that would look most super fantastic with the pencil skirt and the properly sassy attitude. Incredibly, they are selling for the mere $19.99, nearly 80% off of the regular price! Hurry!

Manolo the Columnist: Camelia from Taryn Rose

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

Dear Manolo,

I was recently promoted to a fairly important job, one that requires I be presentable for the public and the press. Because I work in a place with long, long hallways, can you recommend a pair of shoes that will allow me to walk about comfortably while still looking professional?

Allison

Manolo says, oh how well the Manolo remembers that day at the shoe shop of the Mercurio Albornoz y Bahamonde when he was finally allowed to interact with the public.

The Manolo had begun his career in the backroom of the shop, as the Second Assistant to the Associate Boot Black, working diligently, ten hours each day, keeping the shoeshine rags in good order. But after only seven months of this hard work the Manolo was promoted to management, as the Sub-Director of Tissue Paper, responsible for helping the Director of the Boxing and Re-Boxing oversee the placement of the shoes into the boxes. It was in this role, that the Manolo finally encountered the customers.

Happily, the Manolo felt confident as he carried the bundles of fresh tissue paper to the stock boys in the front, because he knew that all of the customers were admiring the beautiful two-tone, black-and-white spectator oxfords that the Manolo wore on that first day in his new position.

Such is the power of handsome and appropriate shoes!

Look, here is the Camelia from the Taryn Rose, the smart, comfortable pump with the little flowery cutout details.

Camelia from Taryn Rose

Manolo the Columnist: Pargata Buckle-Toe Raffia Pump from the Maestro

Dear Manolo,

I am a tax attorney in an exceedingly formal office. I work with a number of charming, albeit elderly gentlemen who might well drop dead on the floor if they encounter a naked toe in the work place. However, spring is quickly passing towards summer here in New Orleans, and even my affection for my colleagues cannot compel me to wear pantyhose during the summer in this climate. Can you direct me towards an office-appropriate shoe that is not too warm for summer wear but does not reveal my lower digits?

Nola

Manolo says, the Manolo has often noted that, strangely, even the most staid lawyer can be driven mad by the glimpse of succulent toe flesh, which is why sandals have never been considered to be the proper business attire.

And yet, our young tax attorney, who is undoubtedly slaving away in the corporate salty-tear mines as the countdown to the infernal April 15th nears, will soon be needing something truly glorious — high-heeled, bejeweled, and open-toed — to celebrate her temporary release from bondage.

In the meantime, she must concentrate on rendering unto Caesar and the senior partners that which is due them, to be defined as 3000 billable hours the year. Because of this, she deserves the most beautiful, beautiful office shoes, so as to be the tiny daily consolation for her mighty labors.

Here is the Pargata Buckle-Toe Rafia Pump from the Maestro Manolo Blahnik, the perfect, super-sophisticated, summery shoe!

Pargata Buckle-Toe Raffia Pump from Manolo Blahnik

Manolo the Columnist: Warhalla from Sigerson Morrison

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

Dear Manolo,

This year, the whole family is going to New York to spend Easter with my in-laws, who are wonderfully sweet people, whom I adore. The one problem is that they go to a very traditional, fairly stuffy church. (I was raised in a more charismatic Protestant tradition, and we currently attend a church that encourages a come-as-you-are informality.) Can you recommend a shoe, something I can also wear with work clothes?

Elaine

Manolo says, Easter is one of the Manolo’s most favoritest times of the year. Spring has arrived in its fullest glory, heralded by birdsongs, and crowned in flowers. It is the season of joy and reconciliation, when the lion will lay down with the lamb, and the person in the three-piece suit will smile when he hands the church program to the bearded man in the novelty t-shirt and board shorts.

Easter is when we must put aside our differences and recognize what is most important; whether or not Coca-Cola is better than simple brown sugar for glazing the ham, or if it is best to start with the ears, or nibble
away slowly at the body so that only the chocolate bunny’s face remains, to be consumed at last only with the greatest remorse and pleasure.

Here is the Warhalla from the Sigerson Morrison, the handsome, classic, reserved mid-heel shoe that would look perfectly at home in either Westminster Cathedral or the offices of InTechTronCo, Inc.

Warhalla from Sigerson Morrison

Manolo the Columnist: Licorice Too from Kate Spade

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

Dear Manolo,

I will be attending the entire Wagner Ring Cycle in April at the Lincoln Center. Since we had to almost refinance our home in order to afford tickets that do not require high altitude acclimatization, I cannot afford new shoes for each performance. So I am looking for one pair of Wagner-worthy shoes. The other three pairs of shoes needed I will have to fashion from scraps of vintage breast-plates and horn.

Lenora

Manolo says, how to explain the Cycle of the Wagnerian Ring to the person who has never attended the entire thing in the single marathon week, except to note that it is at once horrifically enthralling and terribly corny.

How is it possible, the Manolo asks, that the Richard Wagner converted such ridiculous and bombastic source material – the Norse Gods are having the bad hair millennium – into the work of supreme affect?

It is the music! What else?

This music of Wagner, so stirring, so brilliant, so memorable, works the transformational magic on what is essentially the elevated flapdoodle, and thus the tangled soap opera story of the comic-book super hero is converted into the purest gold.

Plus, how can one resist the over-the-top spectacle of the handsome men being assailed by stout women in armor? It is like the candy; very chewy, very dense candy

Speaking of the candy, here is the Licorice Too from the Kate Spade, glittery perfection for the opera.

Licorice Too from Kate Spade

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