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.

Holy Grail Ballet Flat

Once upon a time I wrote about a gorgeous pair of Alexander McQueen crocodile pumps that were available for something like 90% off. I’d tried them on at the Barneys mothership in Manhattan when they first came out and had been whispering sweet nothings to them in my mind for about a year and a half.

There was only one pair –my size– and instead of buying them –sensitive readers might want to look away now– I blogged them. Someone bought them, and instead of having my beloved McQueens, I had heartburn for a week.

I only mention that most unfortunate event because, in a rare example of learning from my mistakes, I waited to post about the Lux ballet flat from Bloch London until every color in my size had wended their way to my little cottage by the sea.

They might be, and I say this without hyperbole, the most comfortable ballet flats I’ve ever owned. Most folks, if they know about Bloch at all, know them as manufacturers of dance shoes, so the flats are engineered not just for maximum cuteness, but for flexibility and padding.

They’re also a true turnshoe, meaning they’re made entirely inside out on the last. There are a whole mess of reasons making turned shoes are both highly desirably and highly inconvenient (read about making pointe shoes in the turnshoe style here) but the only one I care about is the fact you can abuse them much more than a regular welted flat without them abusing you right back.

Fit Note: Bloch as a brand tends to run a little small, but the Lux runs true to size if not a half size large. I cracked a fresh pair right out of the box today and walked along uneven pavement for about an hour with just a little heel irritation.

 

From the Archives of the Manolo: Sigerson Morrison for the Monday

N.B. In honor of the Manolo’s eight years of shoeblogging, here is one of the Manolo’s most favorite posts from the past, from October 20, 2008.

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back in your office wrestling with the copy machine, and the fax machine, and your computer, and the mail machine, all of which are attempting to sabotage–with persistent paper jams and inexplicable malfunctions–your effort to complete one of the most important projects of your career. .

And now, the stapler on your desk (Swingline, 747 Classic in red) is looking funny at you, and you are wondering “What did I do to deserve this?” And so you call the tech support guys.

“Tech Support.”

Oh, gosh darn it, you got Creepy Greg, the one everybody is wary of, not Nice Greg, the one everyone trusts. But, what can you do? You are desperate and need help right now, and so you tell Creepy Greg about the problems, and he replies with something unexpected.

“You have to propitiate the God of Office Machines.”

“What?!?”

“Photocopicus, he demands an offering.”

“What?”

“Photocopicus, dammit! Photocopicus! He needs a sacrifice. Grab some paperclips and go to the storage closet in the copier room. We’ve got a small altar there. Bow your head, state your desires, and leave the paperclips as an offering.”

“What? Can you have the other Greg call me?”

“He’ll tell you the same thing, dammit. Just do it, alright? Just do it. Trust me it’ll work.” And then he hangs up.

And now you are certain that you are part of the elaborate practical joke, but you are desperate, very, very desperate. And so, even though you are the Methodist, you grab the box of paperclips from your desk drawer and you go to the copier room, and there, in the closet, just as Creepy Greg said, there is the tiny gilded bronze replica of the photocopier, the Canon 330d, with the words “Photocopicus, God of Office Machines” engraved on the base. Around the idol are scattered paper clips, erasers, rollerball pens, and elaborately-folded origami sticky notes, colored in fanciful ways with highlighters.

Following instructions, and feeling more than the little ridiculous, you bow your head and ask Photocopicus to aid you in the completion of your presentation. And then you leave six paperclips, hoping that it is the correct number.

Two hours later, after you have successfully finished your presentation without incident, the phone rings, and it is Nice Greg, the tech guy everyone likes.

“So, did it work?”

“Um, yes, I think so.”

“Good.” And then he hangs up, leaving you feeling like you’re living in the middle of the Charlie Kaufman movie.

You know what you need now to erase that feeling of unheimlichkeit? Shoes, good old dependable, concrete, wonderful, never-let-us-down shoes.

Look, here are the marvelously real, wonderfully pretty Sigerson Morrison suede skimmers.

Sigerson Morrison Suede Skimmers.  Manolo Likes!  Click!

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?

Magic Foot-Ensmallening Shoes from Gucci

I am not going to pretend I spend a lot of time worrying whether my feet look big.

I didn’t especially worry about it before, and now that I live in Mexico where the directions to my remote beach cottage involve, “turn left on the dirt road by the big pile of rocks onto the trail that looks like you could probably drive across it and turn right just before you hit sand. If you drive into a dolphin or other surprised marine creature, you’ve gone too far” whether my big feet do, in fact, look big usually gets pushed into the the “Bigger fish to fry” cavity of my sunbleached brain.

That being said, I do notice when a shoe makes my size 41′s look especially petite.

Enter the Viola from Gucci.

A few years ago during one especially torridly hot summer, I found a pair of bottle green silk velvet sandals in just this shape on practically obscene markdown at The Happiest Place on Earth, a.k.a, Neiman Marcus Last Call.

I’m pretty sure they’re Sergio Rossi and not Gucci –I’d check but they’re languishing somewhere in a storage facility stateside– but the moment I strapped them on, they made my Bob Terwilligers look like Tinkerbell toes.

They’re a festive party shoe, giving a bit of visual weight to anchor a cocktail dress without being full-on editorial.

Oh, and if you’re ever looking for a way to perk up your velvet shoes, set them in the steamiest part of your bathroom as you take a hot shower. Then rough up the nap with a shoebrush (an old toothbrush works too), let them cool a bit and brush the nap back into place.

 

 

 

Eight Years of Shoeblogging!

Manolo Blahnik Winter Boot

Manolo says, on this day eight years ago, October 16th, 2004, the Manolo began his earthly mission of bringing the beauty and magic of the shoes to the internets.

And now, nearly the decade later, the world has changed, and beautiful shoes are everywhere, all over of the internets, the shops, the runways, and the streets. Shoes have been finally and universally recognized as the greatest and bestest fashion accessory of all time.

To put it more plainly: We are living in the Golden Ages of Shoes.

What joy it gives the Manolo to know that he has done his small, tiny part in helping bring to about this apotheosis.

Most of all, however, on this happy day, the anniversary of the shoeblogging, what joy it gives the Manolo to know that he has made so many dear internet friends over the years, friends who have provided him with their attention and affection and support.

The Manolo, who could never fully express the deep gratitude he feels, can only say, dear readers, you are indeed most super fantastic!

Manolo the Columnist: Moscow from Ecco

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

Dear Manolo

Can you recommend a shoe that’s comfortable enough for my half-hour metro ride and fifteen minute walk to work, but still classy enough to wear in the office?

Elyse

Manolo says, ayyy! It is the eternal working girl question: the shoes in which you will strut around the place of employment in your semi-offical role as the Office Fashion Plate are not comfortable enough for the commuting back and forth from your home on the public transportation.

It is ture, that for as long as the women have gone to the place of work outside the home, this problem has been with us.

Indeed, the Melanie Griffith’s hit movie Working Girl, which appeared more than 25 years ago, prominently featured scenes of our heroine commuting back and forth from the Staten Island in tennis shoes, with socks wore over her pantyhose.

But, the Manolo actually suspects that if one looked into the ancient fashion records one would find that the 1920s secretaries complained about not finding shoes that were suitable for both riding on the omnibus and taking stenography from that young Victrola salesman who looked like Rudy Valleé.

Happily, the Manolo can report that shoe technology seems to have advanced moderately from the days of the Thoroughly Modern Millie. Here is the Moscow, the attractive stacked heel pump from Ecco, the company that specializes in making comfortable shoes that do not look as if they were meant for Thoroughly Ancient Millie.

Moscow fro Ecco

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Ashley Judd Shoes

Manolo says, it is the Ashley Judd.

Sadly, none of the Manolo’s internet friends were able to guess this week’s celebrity of note.

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