The One That Got Away

When I started curating my shoe collection nearly a decade ago –when Lacroix still had his atelier, Gaultier was CD for Hermès and Muccia Prada’s current models were still fetuses instead of just practically ones– I did so with the knowledge that someday the newspaper gravy train, where I was raking in tens of dollars a month, would end.

I bought carefully and within my means, bringing home a pair of new lovelies only if I could pay cash and was confident they’d be just as stylish thirty years from the moment I stood, insidey parts all a-tingle, at the Neiman Marcus jewelry counter where my wisecracking sales associate always secretly checked me out so I wouldn’t have to wait in line like an animal.

That means my collection errs on the conservative side.

Good shoes are too expensive if they’ll look foolish after two seasons, and capable bank robbers willing to share their bounty with law abiding fat girls in heels don’t grow on trees, at least they didn’t in Texas.

Several years ago, I fell in love with a shoe.

Not just any shoe, the green python Anniversary pump, the cornerstone shoe for Dior’s entire magnificent collection, a far cry from the demure Valentinos I was collecting at the time.

It rung bells in belfries I didn’t even know I had.

My favorite house, referencing my favorite fashion era, using my favorite material in my favorite color. The only way they could’ve been more suited to me is if they came with a free chiseled commitment-minded footballer who loved to give foot massages as a gift with purchase.

Sadly, it was not to be. I did manage to locate a pair in fuchsia kid leather and I do adore them, but my beloved green Anniversaries got away and even though the shoeniverse eventually tried to make it up to me by sending me that foot-rubbing footballer, it’s just not the same.

What about you? What’s your one wearable that truly got away?

Do The Right Thing

Whether Democrat,

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Or otherwise affiliated,

Get out there are vote! Oh, and click the images for links.

Manolo the Columnist: Huntress Boot from Hunter

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

Dear Manolo,

Thanks to a recent unpleasant experience with a late-season hurricane which shall remain nameless, I have come to the realization that I need to upgrade my rain boots to something sturdier and less girlish. Please help.

Angela

Manolo says, it is true! The pink girly gum boots that were fine for skipping down the street to the patisserie in the light mist would likely prove unsuitable for wearing while chain-sawing into kindling the oak tree which has crushed your Prius.

But this is why the five-hundred square feet walk-in shoe closets were invented, no? Because you need many different sorts of the shoes for many different sorts of the occasions, including the various situations that arise during the natural and/or manmade disasters.

For the example, by the Manolo’s reckoning, to be properly dressed during the recent hurricane would have required at least five different pairs of the shoes, to include the it-won’t-be-so-bad-hurricane-party shoes, the ayyyy!-we-are-all-going-to-die-drunk shoes, the oy-it-was-worse-than-imagined-hangover shoes, the what-to-wear-to-the-Red-Cross-shelter shoes, and finally, and most importantly, the shoes of did-not-listen-to-the-warnings-remorsefulness.

As for what sturdy foul weather boots the Manolo would recommend for the young lady who vows to take matters more seriously next time, the Manolo is partial to the Hunter Huntress, the traditional tall wellington that has served generations of unflappable English ladies very well.

Huntress from Hunter

Whose Shoes Wednesday… The Answer

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Helena Bonham Carter Shoes

Manolo answers, it is the Helena Bonham Carter!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend, the K, for being the first to correctly identify this week’s kooky-nutty celebrity of note.

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.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?

Shoes in Cinema: Kinky Boots

I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing cobblers glue.

I’m in Virginia now, and although the worst seems to be over, the whole DC Metro area got pounded like British currency. My fella, Hot Latin Boy, is holding down the fort at Plumcake Cottage in Baja, Mexico where a previously inactive volcano has started to be less inactive as one might hope. Frankly I’m just one Aimee Mann song away from that crazy scene in Magnolia and I’m pretty sure my wiper blades won’t be able to take it.

I’ve got this weird survivalist streak that means my hatches were battened down days ago, and friends, let me tell you: once I batten something, it stays battened, so my best friend and I had nothing to do but watch old movies and wait for the power to go out.

Miraculously, our grid has stayed up and we made it all the way through my All Time Favorite Movie About Shoes: Kinky Boots.

I have been told by people who would know that I was at the American premier of Kinky Boots, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true. I was working for a film festival  so it’s certainly possible, and that was the year I discovered the magical hallucinatory powers derived from a heady combination of extreme sleep deprivation and a diet consisting entirely of Chupa Chups lollipops and absolutely unforgivable cheap champagne. Still, I’d like to think I’d remember something.

It’s not every day you see a six-foot tall black British man with a voice for Othello in a wig for Diana Ross, at least not since my circuit party days.

For those who were also chasing the Chupa Chups dragon and managed to miss it, Kinky Boots revolves around Charlie Price whose family has been making high-quality men’s footwear for over a hundred years. When the company hits the skids thanks to an influx of cheap competition, he realizes his factory must change or die.

Enter Lola, a SoHo (the proper one, not the fake Yankee one) drag performer with a penchant for red patent leather, riding crops and Eartha Kitt.

Although it’s based on a true story, it is a bit formulaic, but so was Romeo and Juliet and they didn’t even have cute shoes (well, maybe they did, they WERE Italian) but it’s well worth a watch if only for the soundtrack and the Blue Angel Boys.


(ignore the cheesy American voiceover. Please.)

So what’s your favorite movie about shoes? The Wizard of Oz? The Red Shoes? Or maybe it’s just a scene. Put it in the comments!

Manolo the Columnist: Park from Stuart Weitzman

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

Dear Manolo,

Can you please help me? I’m having a hard time deciding on my Halloween costume this year. It’s come down to a choice between Morticia Addams (with a very short skirt), a Sexy Librarian, or Sarah Palin. Which do you think would be the best? What sort of shoes should I wear with it?

Emmy

Manolo says, the Manolo remembers when the Halloween was a holiday for only the little kids, who dressed up like the balleina, or the cowboy, or the Superman, and took delight in the seasonal joys of carving the pumpkins, eating the candy, and “scaring” the neighbors.

But then, sometime around the 1995, the Halloween metamorphosed into the fully adult holiday, in which the little kids are almost the after thought. Now it has become our annual Brazen Festival of Hoochie Unbound, the Dionysian bacchanal in which even the most matronly soccer mom must, for the single evening, put on the micro-mini dress and halter-top and become the Sexy Nurse, or the Sexy Pirate Lady, or the Sexy Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Manolo suggests, this year, tossing out the old, exhausted Sexy Something Halloween template, and going with the more creative costuming. Instead of tarting up the mundane, (such as the Sexy Meter Maid), try to de-tart something naturally alluring, such as the Unsexy Stripper, the Unsexy Scarlet Johansson, or the Unsexy Librarian (which, at this point, would be the radical departure from the new Halloween tradition.)

Here is the Park tall boot from the Stuart Weitzman, something that would look great under the full-length, tweed skirt that is the centerpiece of your Unsexy Victorian Trollop outfit.

The Park from Stuart Weitzman

Multiple Choice Time: Dolce & Gabbana

I’m going to Italy with two pairs of shoes. Talk about a tough decision. I mean, it’s Italy. That’s where the shoes were BORN. Selecting one pair of flats and one of heels was like Sophie’s Choice, except you can always have more kids, but Miu Miu only made those vernice slingbacks one season.

As much as I’d like to traipse around the cobblestones of Italia in my most precarious heels, it’s not going to happen. You need to be either a billy goat or an Italian woman to carry that off and since I am neither (although I do share their mutual predisposition to facial hair), I had to leave my fanciest foot coverings at home.

My grandfather, whose mother was Scottish and father was Welsh, used to tell us we were Italian.

Familial legend has it two Italian brothers were shipwrecked on the coast of Wales sometime in the early 19th century and settled down with a pair of local girls. Although it would explain the slightly Italianate name before the fine folks at Ellis Island decided to change it, I suspect it’s mostly fanciful thinking, much like how he told me his got his kidney shot out by a specialized kidney sniper in Okinawa (he was born with only one).

Dolce & Gabbana have been playing the Italian card even harder than usual lately and I have loved every minute of it. I’m especially excited to see the low, ladylike heel from seasons past show up again in the SS2013 collection.

I mean, I love a 5″ ankle buster as much as the next girl, but I’m already 5’10” and now that I’m in a dance company in a nation where I passed the average height for men in the fifth grade, I’ve got to be careful about heel height lest my partner for the evening inadvertently end up wearing my sweaterpuppies for earmuffs.

 

So which Dolce & Gabbana is your favorite? I like the colorful kitten heel, although the whimsical side of me is crazy for the references to Roman aqueducts and Ionic columns.

Found in Translation

…with varying degrees of success.

Heels from Malene Birger, Reed Krakoff and Giambattista Valli all available on considerable sale from The Outnet.

Manolo the Columnis: from La Canadienne

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

Dear Manolo,

Now that Fall is here, I find I need some new boots, something that will keep me warm and dry. Did I mention that I’m a poor working girl? I am, so can you please suggest something reasonably priced?

Lola

Manolo says, as always the Manolo’s advice is to save up your moneys and purchase the best quality, most super fantasticest shoes possible, as nothing can give as much satisfaction as wearing the pair of beautiful, well-made shoes.

However, the Manolo knows what it is like to be the poor person during the rainy cold season, the poor person who must fashion his own super fantastic winter boots out of plastic soda bottles and bits of home insulation that you have harvested from the abandoned building site near the cave where you keep your Madame Alexander doll collection.

Unfortunately, despite the Manolo’s boundless sympathy, when it comes to the weatherproof boots, unless you are the wizard with the duct tape and the fake fur, you will have to spend some money to get something that will both look good, keep out the weather, and last the long time.

This is why the Manolo is especially fond of the La Canadienne boots. They are made in Montreal, by the French Canadians; people who live in igloos but still care about what is appearing on the runways in Paris.

Here is the Mazy from La Canadienne. It is not cheap, but it is the solid long-term investment in comfort, the sort of handsome weatherproof boot that will be wearable for many winters to come.

Mazy from La Canadienne

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Hugh Laurie shoes

Manolo answers, it is the Hugh Laurie!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend, the Susannah, for being the first to correctly identify this week’s British-Actor-Who-Pretends-to-Be-American-But-Has-the-Terrible-Accent celebrity of note.

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