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Manolo the Columnist: Idalia Splatter Fringe Thong Sandal from Dolce Vita

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

Dear Manolo,

My college roommate, who is going to Europe for all of July, is loaning me her Manhattan studio apartment while she’s gone. I haven’t spent much time in New York, so I want to do a lot of walking, but I also want to look good. What do you recommend?

Emily

Manolo says, Ayyy! New York in July! So romantic! The smells, the angry peoples, the sticky things stuck to the bottom of your shoes! It is like visiting Mumbai without the teeming masses of humanity. Everyone has gone to the Hamptons for the week leaving you alone with the street vendors and the hotdog carts.

Of the course, the best part is that you will have all of the museums to yourself, just you and the other tourists, gawping at the pictures and saying, sotto voce, “Jeff Koons, heh. I could do that.”

But, wait, you are not the tourist. For the month of July you are the local!

You have the temporary possession of the 91 square foot studio apartment in the Alphabet City, complete with micro refrigerator, hot plate, and pole onto which you can drape your clothing. Yes, your former roommate’s apartment can only be accessed through the crawl space that was once the coal chute, and rents for $1700 the month, but still, Manhattan!

New York, New York! The rents are up, and your apartment’s down, the hole. New York, New York! It is the hell of the town!

Here is the Idalia Splatter Fringe Thong Sandal from the Dolce Vita, the perfect flat sandal for those hot days in the big city.

Idalia Splatter Fringe Thong Sandal from Dolce Vita

The Museum Curator and the Flip-Flops

Manolo says, last year, our friends at the Collectors Weekly ran the most fascinating interview with the Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of the book The Heights of Fashion and the senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum, about the high heels.

This time, the Elizabeth Semmelhack is interviewed about the history and meaning of the flip-flops. Here is the excerpt.

Collectors Weekly: When did it become more acceptable to wear flip-flops outside of the home or during the week?

Semmelhack: Sigerson Morrison made expensive heeled flip-flops at the end of the ’90s. When they made it, it created a buzz because they were also charging quite a bit for those flip-flops. They were not your average $10 flip-flop. I think they cost more than a hundred bucks when they were first offered.

Sigerson Morrison Kitten Heel Thong

Sigerson Morrison Kitten Heel Thong

The acceptability of the flip-flop is related to the hypersexualization of women’s dress. That’s why my research has been focused on the high heel. The introduction of the sandal—not the flip-flop but the toe-exposing sandal—in the 1930s, was part of a greater trend towards the “nudification,” for lack of a better term, of the female body. I feel that there has been a marked progression toward increased exposure of the female body.

What I find intriguing now is that men have begun to follow suit—perhaps not the best term here. Men are now falling in line with this increased exposure, and it could be argued this increased exposure is starting at their feet. With that increased exposure is concern about male pedicures and all kinds of grooming of the male body. I do see this as part of this larger continuum toward hypersexualization in dress. But if this exposure of the body is related to hyersexualization, I think the question—are flip-flops sexy—also needs to be asked, and I think the answer is no.

Consider the Sigerson Morrison high-heeled flip-flop. At the end of the ’90s, we certainly saw a lot of high-heeled sandal-like evening shoes for women that exuded erotic appeal.

Traditional Japanese Zori

19th Century Japanese Zori

And yet, somehow, that exact same structure, the heeled flip-flop structure wrought in inexpensive plastic, wasn’t. I think that the materials used to make flip-flops, their garish colors and their consistent association with play, has kept the flip-flop from really becoming sexy. On the cover of “Playboy,” you will see women in high heeled thronged sandals, but you don’t see them wearing a pair of flip-flops.

The “nudification” of the female body! This is why the Elizabeth Semmelhack has become one of the Manolo’s favorite fashion intellectuals.

Of the course, she is exactly right. For the past century, the general trend has been the freeing of the female form; bustles, corsets, girdles, and now the panty hose, all gone the way of the dodo bird.

Once the peep-toe shoes were too sexy for the work place, and now, thanks to the modern nudification project, everyone is vajazzaling.

But you must go read the whole thing for it is very interesting.

Yves Saint Laurent Suede Tribute Sandals For the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back in your office thinking about life, changing careers, and Prufrock.

I have known them all already, known them all:
The commuter’s evenings, mornings, afternoons.
My car, coffee cups throughout are strewn
Papers ones from the Starbucks by the mall.
Now, beneath the dash there is no room
So, I should get a broom.

And I have known the mornings steady, known them all:
Mornings that break early, bright and fair.
[But, in the afternoon, clogged with smoggy air!]
Is it the floorboard mess
That makes me so digress?
Mornings that lie along the road, or languish while the traffic crawls.
And should I send my resumé?
And what should my cover letter say?

Shall I say, I have gone back to school for my poetry MFA?
And watched the student loans defaulting,
With lonely writers in shirt-sleeves, working as barristas?…

I should never have been an actuary,
Scuttling across the spreadsheets of silent seas.

Yves Saint Laurent Tribute Suede Sandals

“I am Yves Saint Laurent, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”

Manolo the Columnist: Flower Shine from Kenneth Cole Reaction

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

Dear Manolo,

I can’t believe it’s already April and things here in the District of Columbia are blooming. It seems like just the other week that we were buried under yet another snowpocalypse. Can you recommend some fun, inexpensive sandals to help me welcome this new season?

Erica

Manolo says, the springtime is indisputably the bestest of all times to be in the Washington, D.C.

In the summer, it is both roastingly hot and insanely humid, setting in motion the rare meteorological phenomenon in which the water is simultaneously condensing on your skin and being boiled away. Essentially, you are being poached in your own juices, rendering you nice and tasty for the mosquitoes.

In the winter, the first snow is greeted by the city government as if it were the unexpected, icy fist of God. Let four inches accumulate, and you are living in the Siberian version of Mad Max, in which society collapses and insane people careen around the street in outlandish vehicles looking for petrol and cat food.

As for the fall, every other year it is the election season, and the less said about that period of utter madness the better.

But, in the spring, the weather turns soft, and the cherry trees, the greatest of all the Washington monuments, bloom. Everyone seems happy, and kindness and charity reign supreme. And on the first warm days, you and your co-workers and neighbors go for the long lunchtime strolls along the Mall, talking about how lucky you are to live in the greatest city in the world.

Here is the Flower Shine from the Kenneth Cole Reaction in the stone color, perfect for your walk beneath the blossoms.

Flower Shine from Kenneth Cole Reaction

Manolo the Columnist: Malana from Badgley Mischka

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

Dear Manolo,

One of my best friends, who had done very well for herself, is having a swanky birthday bash at ’21 Club’ in Manhattan. My problem is that I live in Oklahoma, and although I used to live in New York back in the day, 15 years ago, I’ve been a stay at home mom since. I have picked out my little black dress, now I need some shoes. Please help.

Beth

Manolo says, ayyy! The Country Mouse Goes to Town!

In the first half of the movie, the country mouse, at the invitation of her friend, Sarah Jessica Rodent, will live out her most fabulous high-life fantasies in Mousehattan! Imagine, then, the montage of the two mices together, one in the homespun coat, the other carrying the tiny Hermes Birkin bag, getting the makeover at the finest shops in the city, dining on the gourmet cheeses, and then discoing the night away at the Studio Ratty-Four.

Of the course, on the way home, they are mugged by the cat.

In the second half, the country mouse must teach the city mouse the heartfelt lesson about the simple life on the open prairie, where the mices wear the cowboy boots and drive the toy-sized Ford pickup trucks and eat the chicken fried cheese.

Here is the Malana from Badgley Mischka, the edgy urban sandal that will transmogrify even the most retiring country girl.

Malana from Badgley Mischka

Sergio Rossi to Fabulous Up Your Day

Blue High Heeled Peep-Toed

Manolo says, what better way to brighten your Thursday than with the pair of the over-the-top fabulous, blue suede, gold bedecked Sergio Rossi platform sandals?

Kylie High Mignon Sandal from Loeffler Randall on the Sale

Loeffler Randall Kylie high Mignon Sandals

Manolo says, as the readers of the Manolo know, in the late winter, it is often possible to find the excellent bargains on shoes worth the wearing. For the example, this marvelous Loeffler Randall sandal, the Kylie High Mignon, is selling for nearly $300 off of the original price!

Manolo the Columnist: Layla from Beverly Feldman

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

Dear Manolo,

My lovely fiance and I are getting married at our favorite tiki bar in May. I am wearing a short, toga-ish, one-shoulder white dress; my fiance will be wearing a Hawaiian shirt (and pants). I’m looking for fun, cute shoes that will look good with this dress – and that will also be comfortable for running around enjoying the wedding. Any suggestions?

Arin

Manolo says, Ayyyyy! The tiki flavored wedding at the tiki bar! It is the perfectly whimsical solution to the problem of the enormous costs of the modern ceremonies. Instead of the surf-and-the-turf sit-down meals, pu-pu platters and poi for everyone!

Of the course, such things are not without the danger. For the example, the Manolo does not fully remember his own last visit to the neighborhood tiki bar, Trader Melvins, the exotic realm of giant Styrofoam stone heads, bongo drums, and the rampant Polynesiana.

All the Manolo can say with confidence is that the evening began with the giant clam shells of Mai Tais, together with the long straws for everyone at the table, and ended many hours later with the Manolo hula dancing wildly to the sound track of Blue Hawaii.

And after that, the Manolo vowed never again to drink the rum.

Here is the Layla from the Beverly Feldman, the mid-heel sandal in silver with the South Sea pearl-type accent.

Layla from Beverly Feldman

Christian Louboutin Balota Glitter Sandals for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you doing whatever it is you are doing on the Day of the American President, and frankly either way, you are feeling somewhat worn out.

Is it the spring yet?

This interminable winter of discontentment has been sapping you of your vital essence, and now you are in the danger of becoming the mere husk of your formerly robust and vibrant self.

What can get you through this depressing period of snow and seasonally affective disordering?

Shoes!

What else can lift our spirits so reliably when they are flagging?

Christian Louboutin Balota Glitter Strappy Sandals

Here is the Balota Glittery Leather Strappy Sandals from the Christian Louboutin, the sort of wonderfully luxurious shoe that would make even the darkest winter day as bright as the summer sun.

Manolo the Columnist: Isis from Pour la Victoire

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

Dear Manolo,

My high school reunion is coming up, and I am in dire need of your assistance in acquiring the beautiful shoes. I was in the band, dorky and very shy back in 1991, and some classmates even made fun of my Chuck Taylors! I’m much more strong and confident now, and I’d like a gorgeous and sexy shoe to help me project these new feelings. Thank you for being so superfantastic, Manolo!

Kim

Manolo shouts, by the power of the glockenspiel and the sousaphone! Band geeks unite!

After the unprecedented success of the Glee! the Manolo is now considering writing the pilot for the dramedy based on the band geekery.

In the Manolo version, to be entitled Marching! the protagonist will be the boy who plays the tenor sax, because that is the coolest of the high school marching band instruments. (Yes, it is sort of like saying that Chief Justice John Roberts is the Tiger-Beat dreamiest of all the Supreme Court judges; the competition for the title is not stiff.)

And so, this Adonis-like saxophonist, who will also be and the student body president and the quarterback of the varsity football team (many funny scenes at halftime as he changes uniforms) will each week interact with the diverse crew of angsty teenaged musicians, who will express their complicated and angsty teenaged feelings through show-stopping flute solos and tuba concertos.

Here is the Isis from Pour la Victoire, the black evening sandals that would rock any reunion. Ayyy! And it is on the sale!

Isis from Pour la Victoire

Manolo the Columnist: Olympia Sandal from Elie Tahari

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

Dear Manolo,

Can you recommend some sexy shoes for Valentines Day? Something that will make my husband of ten years sit up and take notice?

Janice

Manolo says, the Day of San Valentine’s, it approaches! And woe be to the man who does not sit up and take the notice!

The wheels of womanly justice grind exceedingly fine, and the man who fails to make proper obeisance at the shrine of romance will be doomed to have it brought up to him, yea unto the seventh generation.

Thus, the Manolo says to the men folk, unleash your inner Fabio!

No, this does not mean to grow your hair long and go about the house with your pirate shirt undone to the navel.

In the stead, it means that you must act as if you were the brutishly sensitive hero on the cover of the novel of romanticness, one who would, on the way to consensually ravish the maiden, stop off at the florist for the bouquet of roses and the extra large box of the Russell Stover’s chocolate.

Of the course, if the lady is dressed in the proper romantic novel fashion, which the Manolo would describe with the phrase “the stays on the corset are popping loose”, the man will not even notice if she is wearing the shoes.

Here is the Olympia Sandal from Elie Tahari, the shoe with the subtly romantic sexiness that will make you feel like one of Barbara Cartland’s more wanton heroines.
Olympia Sandal from Elie Tahari

Donald Pliner on the Sale

Nenet from Donald J. Pliner on SaleNenet from Donald J. Pliner on Sale

Manolo says, now is the time for the end of the season shoe bargains, for the example, there are many good deals available on the shoes of the Donald J. Pliner, such as the stiletto-heeled, ankle-strapped sandal, the Nenet, which is selling for nearly $170 off of the usual price, the savings of almost 50%!

These shoes have the grommety, rocker aesthetic that the Manolo finds most amusing, the look that would be the stylish counter-point to the platform-wearing crowd.

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