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For All The Saints (okay, just one, but he’s fabulous)

A little Yves Saint Laurent for All Saints Day. Yes, I coordinate my designers with the liturgical calendar. Don’t judge me, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person to play Jesus while wearing a pair of oxblood Christian Lacroix sandals with a cream crocodile sculpted heel. In your face, Jim Caviezel!


Click the images for links. Sadly, the heels –could you die over those emerald soles?– don’t come in size elephant foot, but anyone who wears size 10 and below is in luck.

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”

Getting the ‘Drille

N.B. Today, our dear friend, the always amusing Miss Cavendish, talks the espadrilles.

I became intrigued by espadrilles when I visited Cuba, a number of years ago.

There to experience the island’s university system, I spent an evening at the Hotel Armadores de Santander, a grand hotel in old Havana.  In the morning, I opened the French doors that led to a pink-tiled deck overlooking the Malecón. 

A previous guest had forgotten—or left behind—her sky-blue espadrilles; they sat contentedly under a table, all sun-and-salt-water bleached beauty.

What was so appealing about this humble mix of cotton canvas and jute?  Exactly that: the simplicity of design, the thoughtful color, and the fact that the espadrilles had been much loved (or much worn, at the least; they were abandoned).

This spring, designers have been in a flurry as they reimagine the classic espadrille, with looks that range from pretty to the truly eccentric. 

Here’s the “Tahiti espadrille pump” from Dior, which seems to be a fancy drink umbrella and shoe all in one;

 

The “cage” espadrille by Yves Saint Laurent;

 

Lanvin’s ballet-inspired “French” espadrille, in satin;

 

Kate Spade’s “Lido,” which conjures happy visions of bathing huts at the beach, or perhaps the stripes on Tadzio’s sweater in Death in Venice;

 

Tory Burch’s version, with her ubiquitous logo.  If I could coin a portmanteau, I might call it toobiquitous;

 

Ralph Lauren’s winning platform ankle wrap in a neutral tobacco;

 

a classic picnic-blanket version from Castaner, the Spanish company that has been making espadrilles since 1927;

 

the Tamariu tie espadrilles, worn to spectacular effect by Penelope Cruz in Volver (remember the from-the-beneath-the-bed shot?);

 

and this curious inclusion from Bergdorf Goodman’s website.  Made by Prada, this “espadrille” reflects neither the traditional espadrille materials nor design.  I call it the “ugly ’drille-ing.” (It’s more macaw than swan, though.)

 

My favorite espadrille remains the classic model, made in either Spain or France, without embellishment—the kind that can be kicked off at the beach or worn in town. 

Which model would gentle readers choose as the winner of their “Espy” award?

I Want ‘em. I Buy ‘em. I Can’t Wear ‘em.

N.B. The Manolo’s internet friend Heather is not only the shoe-lover’s shoe lover, she is also the true deadpan wit, as you will see in this second installment in the Manolo’s Guest-blog-a-palooza.

High, elegant, in-step curving, vertiginous heels. I want ‘em. I buy ‘em. I can’t wear ‘em.

They line my closet shelves, singing their siren calls of elongated legs and a sexy pelvic tilt, mocking me with the knowledge that nothing about sad limping and oozing blisters is sexy. I fire back with every heel pad and shoe stickum thing on the market, but no. The burning of the balls of my feet beats me every time.

YSL Tribute Platform Sandal

YSL Tribute Platform Sandal

Sure, there are some heels I can manage and even find comfortable. God bless Stefano Pilati at YSL and Alber Elbaz at Lanvin and whomever they have hired to design their shoes…

YSL Tribute Sandals are an absolute staple in my closet – I own four pairs in different colors.

The woven satin Lanvin platforms – another slam-dunk winner.

Lanvin Woven Satin Platform Sandal

Lanvin Woven Satin Platform Sandal

So I’ve learned, platforms are important for me.

Thin soles KILL me and the platform gives me height without putting the burden solely (Ha! A pun!) on the pitch and the poor ball of my foot. (Of course, we all know how Maestro Manolo Blahnik feels about platforms.)

So what do I do? Do I limit my purchases to things I know I can manage? I wish that were the case!

Alaia Snow Leopard Hiking Boots

Alaia Snow Leopard Hiking Boots

Right now, my closet boasts a pair of Alaia Snow Leopard hiking booties and a pair of Theyskens Theory Velvet Wedge pumps.

I LOVE them! I want to wear them. I want to show them off to everyone. I don’t want to need an orthopedic device afterwards. Neither pair has been taken out of their box. They are each nestled in their tissue lined boxes – taunting me.

Don’t try to convince me that everyone suffers for high heels. I know that isn’t true.

Theyskens Theory Velvet Wedge Pumps

Theyskens Theory Velvet Wedge Pumps

Meet my sister. I swear she was born with Barbie feet. You know, the ones that, even when naked are permanently arched so as to fit only into heels?

I think my sister is more comfortable in heels than she is in flats.

And here is my sister’s other genetic gift. We wear the same size.

I buy these beauties. Ogle them in my closet. Caress them before getting dressed. Totter around my bedroom in them before thinking better of it and returning them to the box. Eventually, the shoes are packed into a shipping box and sent off to live out the rest of their natural life with my sister. I love my sister. I want her to be happy. But supplying her is not why I buy these shoes.

Barbie Feet

My sister's feet look like this.

You know what? I want a class! There are all sorts of other programs offered to women who want to make changes in their lives. You can take fitness classes, you can take dance classes, you can take life guidance classes, you can take art classes. Where are the heel walking classes? Why is my local Y not offering such things? Can I hire a personal instructor? Hey! My sister is a personal trainer and she can walk in heels. I wonder if she’s ever thought to combine the two.

Seriously, I’ve invested thousands in shoes that have only ‘visited’ with me. I have treasures in my closet right now awaiting word of their fate. I’m an educated person. I’m physically fit.

Why can’t I learn this one thing?

The YSL Tribute, Redux

Manolo says, here is yet another article about this year’s Super Duper Hottest-Hippest Shoe!!!!, the Yves Saint Laurent Tribute. (About which the Manolo has already written.)

YOU’LL fall head over heels. Maybe literally.

The must-have shoe for spring is the “Tribute” from Yves Saint Laurent, adorned with a towering 5 1/2-inch heel. Sold out in most New York retailers, it’s one of the tallest high-fashion shoes ever produced – yet celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani can’t wait to walk at elevations usually reserved for Las Vegas dancers and Vivid Video actresses.

And who among us would not wish to look like the porn actress?

Of the course, this has not kept the slavering masses and their enablers in the press from enthusing in the breathless voices.

“You’re not going to feel sexier in another shoe,” says Chris Frey, accessories director at Lucky magazine. “It’s one of those things you wear when you’re jumping into a cab, going to the event, and jumping out of a cab. I have a shelf life of about two hours in a shoe like this.”

Frey says the shoe’s insane sex appeal isn’t just about the height, but also the shape and style. Plus, she thinks there’s something confident, gutsy and cool about a girl who can get that high.

“I think what’s so cool about it is we’ve been seeing platforms for so many seasons and they’re not going away. But YSL sexied it up by adding the stiletto,” she says. “Plus it’s a Mary Jane style that’s so hot this season with an ankle strap that’s not too high on the ankle so it still makes your leg look super-long.”

For Frey, they’re also inspirational.

“It’s a lunge-inducing shoe because you want to wear the shortest skirt possible with them,” she says. “It’s like a gym membership for a year in a shoe, because as soon as you put them on you feel five pounds thinner.”

And fifty IQ points dumber.

It is not the bad shoe in the shorter versions, but this excessively tall one is just silly.

The Yves Saint Laurent Tribute

Manolo says, for the past few months the Manolo has tried to avoid writing about the Yves Saint Laurent Tribute pumps, the peep-toe mary jane platforms with the six inch heels.

These shoes are the current “it” shoes, the hottest of the hottest, worn by the celebrities such as the J-Lo, the Becks, the Gwen Stefani, the Christina Aguilera and other hot young chickies who are in the eye of the public (often like the persistent sty).

Yves Saint Laurent Tribute in PurpleYves Saint Laurent Tribute in Red

The reason the Manolo has avoided writing about these shoes is that he does not particularly care for them, and because it is the policy of the Manolo to avoid whenever possible becoming involved in the extraordinary popular delusions and in the madness of the crowds.

However, the Manolo has now decided to write about them because there is the amusing article about them in The Mail of London.

Last night, I walked in the hallowed heels of Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani, risking vertigo and personal injury for the sake of high fashion.

And “high” is the key word here. Having survived the experience, girls, I doff my cap to you.

The Yves Saint Laurent “Tribute” Mary Janes are this season’s must-have shoes. In London, they are sold out and there is a waiting list of 200.

On American eBay, the last resort for a desperate shoeaholic, they are changing hands for $1,295 (£648). Mercifully I managed to get hold of one of the last pairs at the YSL store in Manhattan. Next delivery isn’t until mid-May.

The shoes come in three colours: black (with a cream-coloured heel), red or purple, and two heel heights; four inches or five-and-a-half. At the front they have a one-and-a-half inch platform and a thin ankle strap.

“Oh my, they are very, very sexy,” purred Paulo, my Peruvian sales assistant, as I strutted in front of the mirror. I’m 5ft 5in, and was now nearly 5ft 11in. For $660 (£330) – a bargain by today’s designer shoe prices – my legs looked impressively long.

“You could dance all night in them,’ Paulo assured me. “The platform sole actually makes them more comfortable because it’s like your foot is only really working with a two-and-a-half inch heel height. You see?”

As the Manolo has said in the recent past, we have entered the final phase of the platform mania, and these shoes are yet more proof of the Manolo’s thesis.