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Pumps/Court Shoes | Manolo's Shoe Blog - Part 4
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Nicholas Kirkwood Platform Silk Peep Toes for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, and ayyyyy! Look at all of the work that must be cleared away before you can go on the two week of the vacation.

Hurry! You must get to it before the big day arrives and you depart for two week of sun in the fun!

Of the course, you must also be certain to leave undone the few semi-important items which only you can do, so that your bosses and co-workers will realize that they cannot get along with out you. (Be sure also to hide at least one very important client file somewhere unlikely.) After all, the last thing you would want is for someone to realize the painful truth, that your position at the XYZ Corp could be filled by the well-trained orangutan.

But, do not worry. It is not your fault. Various studies over the last decade have proven that 87% of all private sector positions (and 98% of government jobs) could be done entirely by analog computers, greater apes and border collies.

“But, Manolo,” you are saying, “What about the robots?”

“Ha,” replies the Manolo, “what can the robot do that the Australian shepherd or the bonobo cannot?”

No, it is clear, the future belongs to the monkeys and the canids.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for our new animal overlords to take charge, here are the beautiful shoes…

Nicholas Kirkwood Platform Silk Peep Toe Pumps

Nicholas Kirkwood Platform Silk Peep-Toe Pumps.

Beautiful shoes, truly, they are what separate us from the beasts of the field!

Miu Miu Patent Leather Mary Jane Pump for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, and today you are ready to go! You woke up early, the fire for success in your belly, rumbling like the spicy burrito of accomplishment to come, pushing you forward to success.

Coffee! Coffee! Shower! Coffee! Clothes! Coffee! Go!

Must get to office to do that thing that will get you that promotion that will result in worldly success!

“Get out of the way,” you shout to the cars that are impeding you on the turnpike, “I have places to go, dammit!”

You arrive fifteen minutes early to the office, the testament to your diligence and can-do-it attitude. You leap from the automobile and race through the lobby, past the Ed the Security Guard.

“You go, missy!” he says genially to your back as you hit the elevator at the run.

“No time to talk, Ed,” You shout over your shoulder.

Up to the 6th floor, into your seat, boot up the computer, ignore the emails, and buckle down for the meaningful session of work. Ten minutes later the boss arrives, he nods his head, clearly happy to see you there at your desk.

Mission accomplished!

And now, you can click over to the real internet, to enjoy the first day of the week as is customary, by looking at gossip sites and beautiful shoes.

Miu Miu Patent Leather Mary Jane Pump

Look! Miu Miu Patent Leather Platform Mary Jane Pumps, with the bow!

Manolo the Columnist: Dachen from Isola

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

Dear Manolo,

I have a dilemma. On the first three weekends of June, I’m supposed to attend three separate weddings, which will mean at least two separate outfits, if not three. My problem is that I can only really afford one decent pair of shoes, hopefully priced below $200. Can you help me?

Chelsea

Manolo says, frankly, after the Giant, Royal, Big Deal, Fairy Tale Wedding of the Prince William the Balding and his not-royal bride, Kate Middleton the Skinny, who cares about the shoes anymore?

The shoes are the news of yesterday. Today, Manolo loves the hats!

Hats! Hats! Hats! In all their splendid multifarious fabulousity! Who can forget the sight of all those horsey upper-class English women wearing the most incredible creations on top of their pinched and sour faces?

Swooping birds of prey in teal, with feathers of gold! Mauve life rafts bedecked with the garden of flowers! Frank Gehry fascinators with compound curves and silver scales! Artful stacks of fluorescent forest twigs with multicolored wind chimes! Almost all courtesy of the The Mad Irish Hatter, Phillip Treacy, the sly genius who has convinced the entire generation of titled women that looking silly is chic.

Yes, the modern monarchy may be the sad and greatly diminished affair, most often seen at supermarket grand openings and the covers of the tabloids, but in the matter of hats, they still reign supreme.

Here are the beige platform pumps, the Dachen from Isola, that will, in the words of Larry the Guy of Cable, “get’er done.”

Dachen from Isola

Risp Knotted Peep-Toes from Manolo Blahnik For the Tax Day Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and …

TAX DAY!!!!

TAX DAY!!!!

TAX DAY!!!!

TAX DAY!!!!

TAX DAY!!!!

Here is the Manolo’s best advice…put the thick envelope with the 1040 into the mail box, open the bottle of the mid-priced chardonnay, pour yourself the big glass, and stare at this for several minutes…

Risp Knotted Peep-Toe Pumps from Manolo Blahnik

The Risp Knotted Peep-Toe Pumps from the Maestro Manolo Blahnik

Beautiful, elegant, cool, classical, and guaranteed to take some of the sting out of life’s indignities.

The Tragic Beauty of Vintage Shoes

N.B. Our friend the Legatrix, who last time wrote about the ill-omened hairdos, is back with the post that the Manolo thinks is brilliant.

I love vintage clothing. The cut, elegance, and craftsmanship of clothing from the 1930s to the 1960s have always captivated me. Perhaps it’s because I can’t separate the fashions of those decades from the films. I’ve got my Bette Davis suits, my Barbara Stanwyck blouses, and my Jayne Mansfield sweaters. I wear my vintage pieces for work and play, mixing them up with current clothes to keep anything from looking costumey. I love the art of vintage clothing construction so much that I’ve even bought scraps of vintage dresses only to admire the exquisite handsewn beadwork left on pieces of shattered silk. But there’s one place I draw the line: vintage shoes. (Cue outrage and indignation from all the vintage fashionistas out there.)

Here’s the deal. Unless you’re a collector who hangs fancy shoes from your Christmas tree, don’t buy vintage shoes. No matter how curvaceous the vamp, well-turned the heel, or smooth the skin (yes, we’re still talking about shoes,) try to resist their siren song. I speak from experience. Over the decades, leather weakens, glue dries out, and stitching breaks. However accomplished your cobbler, he cannot restore such shoes to wearable condition. So when you consider buying a pair of vintage shoes, ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky?”

Right now I have two pairs of vintage shoes. I wear neither of them. Because for every pair of vintage shoes presently in my closet, three died painful, public, embarrassing deaths. There isn’t a place in New York City where I haven’t wiped out in a pair of gorgeous vintage heels. I went down in a blaze of pantyhose when my 1940s snakeskin ankle-straps disintegrated underfoot at Columbia University. I landed skirt-over-face on a midtown sidewalk when the heels of my 1950s cherry-red babydolls snapped clear off beneath me. And, apart from the concussion, I can’t remember what happened after a pair of 1930s golden sandals gave out in the East Village.

So rather than risk your hard-earned money on a pair of shoes that may leave you and your virtue(s) splayed out on the pavement for all to see, save your pennies for new shoes with a vintage vibe.

These crisp white lace-ups from Chloe remind me of the Katharine Hepburn’s sporty chic look.

Katherine Hepburn Wearing Shoes That Look Like They're From Chloe

Kate says, 'If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.'

They’re reminiscent of the ghillies that were popular in the 1940s, but are miles away from the orthopedic ones your nana still wears.

And these deceptively simple Kate Spade pumps, with their almond-shaped toe and low, curved vamp, are reminiscent of Jean Harlow’s infamous “where’s my shoe?” scene in Red-Headed Woman.

Jean Harlow wearing Kate Spade?

Jean Harlow says, 'Do it again! I like it!'

The heel is narrower than you’d see on a shoe from the 1930s, but the sleek and subtle curves are emphatically art deco. They’d be as fitting at the office as they would out on date night.

And finally, there are these shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo. Every time I see them, they bring Sophia Loren to mind. Like her, they’re classic and restrained, yet unabashedly sexy.

Sofia Loren wearing vintage Ferragamo?

Sofia tells Salvatore, 'Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.'

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Brian Atwood Maniac Patent Peather Pump

Manolo says, may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.

And may your St. Patrick’s Day be as fun and as happy-making as the these patent leather pumps from the Brian Atwood!

New Shoes from the Abel Muñoz

Elizabeth Pump from Abel Muñoz

Manolo says, the Manolo’s shoe designer friend, Abel Muñoz has just sent the Manolo his look book for the coming season.

What the Manolo loves about these shoes is that they are so elegant and restrained. Here is the description for the new collection.

His handmade collections are influenced by time spent at a number of ateliers in Milan and the artisinal work of shoe designers in the 1930s and 1940s prior to the introduction of worldwide mass industrial production.

The current collection is inspired by the classic silver screen’s female stars.

Betty from Abel Muñoz

These are very fun shoes with more than the little bit of style and class.

Brian Atwood Harris Platform Pumps for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk assiduously working your way through the giant stack of papers, when you notice that today is the last day of the February, 2011.

2011…

2011…

Ayyyyy! You are living in the future!

Remember way, way back before it was the year 2000, in the 1980s even, perhaps?

Back when you were still living in the 20th Century, when you kept thinking to yourself, “yes, things here are not that wonderful, what with the parachute pants and the big hair and the Vanilla Ice, but just wait until the 21st Century. We’ll have the flying cars and the magic diet pills that will keep us thin even as we enjoy our Tang and NASA food tubes.”

And now, here you are, it is the future and you still taking the bus to work.

Worse, the magic pills that would keep the bags of the saddles from settling upon your hips, have side effects such as hair loss and sleepless weeks. And as for the NASA space food, the less said about reconstituted meat made with the futuristic growth hormones, the better.

Star Trek Communicator versus iPhone

Take That, Gene Rodenberry!


Still, the future is not the complete bust.

Have you looked at your cell phone lately? It makes the Star Trek communicator look like the Buck Rogers, retro-future movie prop (which it sort of is). And, as for the functionality, the Captain Kirk was never able to view the humble shoe blog of the Manolo, or shop for the clothing on the galactic intertubes while attempting to bed the green-skinned space hotty.

So, there’s phoning technology, even if the bill that arrives every month must be paid in currency that is still earned by the sweat of your non-robotic brow.

What other benefits have the future brought you?

Well, the Manolo can tell you that the shoes have gotten much, much better. Indeed, one can say without the hesitation that we are living in the sort of Golden Age of Shoes. More designers, more variety, more and better shoes; truly, it is the most super fantastic time to be the lover of the shoes.

Look! Here is the Harris Platform Pump from Brian Atwood

Brian Atwood Harris Platform Pump

This is exactly the sort of shoe you imagined in the future: the super sexy Jane Jetson pump that would have all of the cosmonauts down at the Saturn Club doing that comic thing with the eyes bulging and the tongues hanging out.

Christian Louboutin Pigalle Plato Patent Leather Pumps For the Day of San Valentine

Manolo says, it is the Day of San Valentine and you are back at your desk thinking it is the no big deal. Although, as you say this to yourself, you know perfectly well that if your man fails to come across with the goods this evening the day will end on the note of sourness.

And what are these “goods” of which you speak?

If you were honest with yourself, you would say the absolute best would be the hand-written letter of love, in which your husband of many years produces poetry which will rival that of the Robert Herrick.

But, it seems unlikely that the same man who yesterday changed the oil on your car and then spent six hours on the couch in the basement watching college basketball, would be suddenly graced with greatness by the immortal muses.

Indeed, somewhere in the attic, secreted away in your chest of treasures, reside the examples of Gary’s previous poetic efforts, written when you were both young and in the first flush of love. As you recall, the word “forsooth” figures prominently in them.

And so, as the years have progressed, you have readjusted the definition of the “goods” downward, in inverse proportion to gifts required for the anniversary of the wedding. In anniversary terms, the first year is paper, the fiftieth is gold. In Valentine’s Day terms, the first is florid original poetry hand-written on parchment, the fiftieth is that he remembers your name as he gums his heart-shaped bowl of tapioca.

You are now at the stage midway between these two poles, which means that if Gary wishes to remain in good odor, he will fork over the large card into which he has handwritten the words “I Love You”, along with the box of decent chocolate and/or the bouquet of roses. He will then complete the evening with the dinner at the House of the Outback Steak, where he not wait for dessert to express his undying love to you, but will utter such words no latter than the moment when the remains of the Blooming Onion are cleared away.

And so it is written, and so it shall be.

Look!

Beautiful sexy red shoes from the Christian Louboutin!

Pigalle Plato Patent Leather Platform Pumps by Christian Louboutin

It is the Pigalle Plato Patent Leather Platform Pumps. Red shoes to impress the crowd at the Red Lobster!

Mais où sont les chaussures d’antan?

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has asked him the question…

Love your column! I went to Starbucks for coffee today and the woman in front of me in line was wearing the perfect shoes. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them and memorized everything I could about them! A quick search on the internet brought them up – Prada, but apparently from long ago. The pair I found online is not my size. Is there any way to find something comparable? Are square toes completely gone? They really were gorgeous. It was the color that was particularly beautiful. Here is a picture:

Prada Square Toe Vintage Pumps

Ubi Sunt? Prada Square Toe Patent Leather Pumps

Can you help??

Claudia

The Manolo will allow François Villon to provide the reply…

Prince, n’enquerez de sepmaine
Où elles sont, ne de cest an,
Qu’à ce reffrain ne vous remaine:
Mais où sont les neiges d’antan!

Sadly, because of the considerations of commerce and the ephemeral nature of the trends and fashions, the shoes that we love the most are often taken out of production by the designers, and never return.

And like Villon thinking about the snows of yesteryear, we feel sad and nostalgic when we remember them, or when we are looking at the pictures of them in our shoe scrapbooks, or when, mirabile dictu, we see them on the feets of the stylish young person we have encountered in the coffee shop.

But, no matter how much we search the online places, such as the eBay, or the vintage stores, or even the thrift shops we cannot find what we desire.

And we are triste, tres triste.

Is there something comparable?

No. It is these exact Prada shoes which the Manolo’s friend desires, and nothing else will fully satisfy.

Are the square toes out?

Over the past few years, the Manolo has become less and less concerned with the trends and the fashion fads. He has become more concerned with the matter of personal style, the thing which rarely accords completely with what is “in” or “out” at the moment.

So, the Manolo’s answer is, square toes will be in if you wear them with enough confidence and panache. This will be true no matter how many peoples around you are wearing the pointy toed shoes.

Other than this, all the Manolo can do is sympathize with the soul-suffering of his internet friend.

Manolo the Columnist: Cole Haan Carma OT Air Pump

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

Dear Manolo,

I’ve just moved from the Midwest to Washington to take a job as a junior aide to a newly elected member of congress. I’m finding that this job requires me to do a lot more running from place to place than I expected. Can you please recommend some comfortable but good-looking work shoes?

Melanie

Manolo says, every two years it is the same thing: the new crop of the congress beings is harvested in the American heartland and delivered shiny-faced, fresh and eager to the Capitol.

Each one of these civil servants assures us that he or she will “stand up to the interests of specialness, and do the business of the people,” as if they were the reincarnation of Franklin Mahatma Reagan-Washington.

And, every two years, the new group of idealistic aides arrives to lend assistance to these newly-elected, incorruptible men and women of civic-minded integrity. And for the first couple of the months, all goes well.

But then, one evening, the young aide is out with friends at the hidden bar in the Adams Morgan when in walks Mr. Integrity, arm-in-the-arm with the two notorious toxic waste lobbyists, one the tall square-jawed, fellow with the low golf handicap and the pocket full of cash-money campaign contributions, and the other, the very young woman with the impressively well-developed and well-displayed bosom, who cannot keep her busy hands off of your congress person.

Ayyy! It is like catching your boyfriend in the secret assignation!

Happily, there is one thing that will never let you down in this way, shoes. Shoes such as these Cole Haan Carma OT Air Pump, the lovely and practical comfort shoe with the unlovely name.

Cole Haan Carma OT Air Pump

Manolo Blahnik Clausado D’Orsay Pumps For the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday, and you are NOT back at your desk, NOT slaving away for the man.

You were supposed to be back in the office this morning, as surely as the sun rises in the Easterly direction, doing your bit to increase the bottom line of MarScro International, the privately held company with interests in the manufacturing, importation and marketing of such diverse products as the lead-based Chinese toys, powdered Sudanese baby formula, and Liberian-made cellphones.

You were supposed to be back at the work, but on Christmas Day, shortly after nine in the morning, you received the strangest phone call from the CEO, Mr. S., himself, the eccentric billionaire famous in the financial press for driving the 1962 Nash Rambler (which he purchased new), and for chasing business reporters away from his decrepit three-bedroom home with the walking stick.

It was the strangest call, because the perpetually sour, old Mr. S. sounded giddy, perhaps even drunk, shouting “Merry Christmas”, and weepily thanking you for being such the faithful employee. And then he gave you the week off, followed by the big raise.

At that point, you became certain that the phone call was some lame practical joke, that this was not really the CEO, but rather some co-worker playing the cruel trick upon you.

“No, no, my dear lady. I assure you it is I.”

“But, sir, it may sound like you, but…but….”

“But, it is not my usual behavior? Not my custom to give raises to valued employees?”

“Yes, sir. Not your usual behavior.”

“Well, let us just say that I am a changed man, that from this day forth, I shall know how to keep Christmas well.”

And then he asked about your son.

“And how is little Tom?”

“He’s fine, sir.”

“Is he? The last I saw of the boy he was in a leg brace, so pathetic.”

“No, sir, he’s fine now. He’s a sophomore at Johns Hopkins, on a lacrosse scholarship.”

And then you remember that Tommy had come into the office the few years ago, on crutches, right after he had hyperextended his knee in the scrimmage against the varsity team.

When you finally hung up, “Merry Christmas!” and headed back into the family room to finish the opening of the presents, you were still not sure it had really been him.

But this morning, while you were sitting in the kitchen, drinking the coffee and debating whether or not you should get dressed and go into the office, the doorbell rang.

You pulled your housecoat tight around you, and went to the door, where you discovered the courier standing on the front step. He said your name. You signed the receipt. And then he handed you the thirty-five pound turkey, together with the envelope containing the fancy Christmas card and the substantial, year-end bonus check, with the words “Merry Christmas!” scrawled in the spidery script on the subject line.

And now, you are sitting at your computer thinking about getting some new shoes…

Manolo Blahnik Clausado Dorsay Pump

Something like these Maestro Manolo Blahnik Clausado D’Orsay Pumps in this rich blue color…. You have certainly earned them.

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