Merry Christmas!

Manolo says, the Manolo wishes all of his super fantastic internet friend the merriest, cheeriest, happiest, most wonderfulest Christmas ever!

Santa Manolo?

N.B. Our dear friend the The Sarah has returned with the startling theory!

I’m starting to get a little suspicious about Santa.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still believe in him! Of course I believe in him. One would have to be entirely foolish not to believe. I have, after all, read my Pascal. And I have small children. Santa’s real all right.

But here’s the thing. I think I know who he really is. I mean, I think I know who he is the rest of the year, when he’s not flying around the world, scampering down chimneys, and dispensing delightful tchotchkes to the deserving.

Consider, my dears, the evidence.

1. His origins and whereabouts are mysterious.

2. We have seen evidence of him, but no one has ever seen the man himself.

3. He is known for his sartorial excellence (Or possibly his peculiarities. I suspect this subtle distinction turns on one’s personal feelings about ermine and red velvet.)

4. He is an appreciator of fine food and drink. Cookies! Milk! Booze! (When I was growing up, Santa expressed a strong preference for a nice single malt.)

5. He is decidedly European in affect, but seems to be most lauded in the US.

6. He has a startling fixation on footwear. In the US he leaves gifts in stockings. In Austria he leaves the gifts in shoes. In Aruba, kids leave shoes filled with food for his horses outside their doors. When the food is eaten, he fills those shoes with gifts. And on it goes. In Belgium, France, Hungary and Germany (where kids apparently polish their shoes in preparation), the Netherlands, Romania, and I’m sure in a lot of places I didn’t manage to google, footwear features heavily in the celebrating of either Christmas or Saint Nicholas’s Day.

And now, my darlings, to the second half of my argument.

I refer you to this very website’s description of our good host. He says of himself that he is, “two parts high-class shoe fetishist, one part Ricky Ricardo, and one part Jacques Barzun, a dash of Ignatius J. Reilly, shake vigorously and decant liberally, and you’ve got Manolo the Shoeblogger.”

Now I ask you! One need not have a PhD in logic or analytical philosophy (and let us be clear that the Sarah does not) in order to figure this out.

Faithful readers, the Manolo is the Santa.

And I’m a 6 ½ B. And I’ve been very very very extremely good this year. And these are tweed Alexander McQueens with sparkly skulls on them. They’re creepy, impertinent, and professorial, much like the Sarah. And they’d add just the right touch to my next discussion of Hamlet.

I’ll leave cookies. I promise.

Manolo the Columnist: Tracking from Stuart Weitzman

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

Dear Manolo,

Now that all my Christmas shopping is done, I can address my real problem, finding a pair of shoes to wear on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I are going out with some people from his office (including the big boss himself) for a fancy evening of dinner, dancing and drinks. What do you suggest?

Marilyn

Manolo says, the Manolo is sad to say that the formally elegant sartorial traditions surrounding the New Year’s Eve celebrations are slowly fading into the past. Where once we took pride in our appearance, shooting our cuffs and adjusting our cummerbunds before stepping onto the public stage, now we simply tighten our drawstrings and hope for the best.

Undoubtedly, our future celebrations will find us wearing brightly colored unisex jumpsuits made from miraculous fabrics that holographically conceal the shabbiness of our underclothing.

And now the Manolo will reveal to you the forgotten secret of why dressing up for the New Year’s celebration is important: it both sacralizes the occasion and makes us feel better about ourselves. Beautiful clothing has the potential to elevate and ennoble us, to remind us of our potential to transcend the mundane problems of the ordinary world. It is also just fun.

Here is the Tracking from Stuart Weitzman, the elegant strappy sandal perfect for tripping the fantastic light on the Eve of the New Years.

Tracking from Stuart Weitzman

Fred Perry Stampdown Shoes for the Wednesday before Christmas

Manolo says, it is Wednesday and you are back at your desk, and you just realized that you have completely forgotten to do the shopping for your 22-year-old nephew, the one studying in the UK, who is not coming home for Christmas, and whom your daughter says has gone completely native.

“What does that mean,” you ask, “gone native?”

This is the pertinent question, because when you think of the young people dressing in the identifiably British manner it involves dirty jeans, torn leather jackets, and the mohawk hairdos. (For your older sister it would be nehru jackets and mop tops.)

“Well, from what I can tell from Skyping him, I think it’s sort of preppy”

“L.L. Bean preppy?”

“Nah, less fuddy-duddy, more international. Think polo shirts and Fred Perry.”

Great, and now where to find these preppy items and get them to your nephew in time for the big day? So you search the web and you come up with this very well reviewed online store which has the good things like the handsome Hugo Boss wallet and the Denham polo shirts, and promises the next day delivery in the UK, and fast delivery worldwide.

And after much looking at the site you narrow your choices down to the Original Penguin polo in purple…

And the Ferry Kingston Stampdown Stripe Shoes in the red canvas.

And so you call your daughter in and ask her what she thinks.

“He’ll love any one, but the shoes are cool.”

And, that is all you needed to know.

Manolo the Columnist: from Stuart Weitzman

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

Dear Manolo,

My semi-serious boyfriend of five months, has asked me to come to his parents’ house for dinner on Christmas Day. I met them once before, and I don’t think it went so well, so I really want to make a good impression
this time. What do you suggest?

Jeannie

Manolo says, there are the reasons why the holidays are usually reckoned to be the most stressful time of the year. Not only must we get everyone the exactly perfect gift, and make every meal and every occasion festively wonderful, but we are frequently required to make nice with people who may not be especially fond of us.

And yet, this is for the best, is it not? It is good that we should attempt to be reconciled, one to another, during this most wonderful time of the year.

This is why the celebrations and the holidays are so important, because they are moments in which we can put aside our differences be drawn closer together as humans. And so, we must approach these events in the proper
spirit of charity and love, reminding ourselves that in doing so we are helping to make our relationships stronger.

Of the course, it helps if you have handsome shoes, shoe which impart confidence and make you seem like the person of quality. Here is the Spymid from Stuart Weitzman, the modest peep-toe pump in the color known as “Fire Quasar”.

Spymid from Stuart Weitzman

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers, it is the Gloria Estefan!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend, the Retna, who correctly identified this week’s spicy Latina personage of note on the first guess.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?

Belinda from Salvatore Ferragamo for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, counting down the days to the Christmas eve and the arrival of the Santy Claus.

This year, unlike many years in the past, you did much of your shopping in the week immediately after the festival of Thanksgiving, choosing to do most of your gift-getting on the line, thus avoiding the many hassles of the in-person shopping at the mall.

Frankly, although you appreciate the convenience, the ease of the modern shopping (browse, point, click, enter the information of the card of credit) actually seems to take some of the joyousness and meaning out of the season. Finding the exactly right gift for each person on your list is not supposed to be so easy!

Have you learned nothing from literature? Are you not supposed to sell your very hair to find your beloved husband the modern equivalent of the platinum watch fob chain?

But, then, through the magic of Google, you learn that the secondary market for used hair is not what it used to be. And besides, given your age, you will need all of the hair you can hang onto going forward.

Sigh.

Such are the problems of prosperity, that we now worry that our lives have become too easy to be meaningful.

All the Manolo can say is, don’t worry! Christmas is coming!

Look! Beautiful and elegant mid-heel D’Orsay pumps…
Belinda from Salvatore Ferragamo

The Belinda from Salvatore Ferragamo!

Manolo the Columnist: Bardot from Munro American

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

Dear Manolo,

I walk at least 1 mile (sometimes 2) every day between buses and Metro stations. When it snows my flats aren’t good enough, but snow boots are often too much. What sort of shoes can I wear to and from work that are stylish and lightweight but will help me safely navigate snow and ice patches?

Cristina

Manolo says, the Manolo can never remember, is the Washington, D.C., supposed to be the Southern city that thinks it is Northern, or the Northern city that thinks it is Southern? Or should we simply say, “Mid-Atlantic”, which makes it sound as if it were located somewhere near the Azores Islands.

Either way, the Washington weather is always the topic of amusement and astonishment. Yes, the autumns are gorgeous, the springs sublime, and the summers unbearably hot and humid.

But it is the winters — often clement, frequently rainy, and occasionally snowpocalypsy – with their extreme variability that makes it difficult to find the single pair of winter shoes suitable for all occasions. One minute it is the balmy stroll to the bus stop, and the next you are like Yukon Cornelius wrestling with the Abominable Snow Monster in the peppermint mines of the North Pole.

Here is the Bardot from Munro American, the sharp-looking, water-resistant ankle boot for those days when the snow is melting away.

Bardot from Munro American

What the Manolo Wants from Santy Claus

Manolo says, if you are shopping for the Manolo (and who is not these days?) please consider giving him the following gift.

Nespresso Citiz Aeroccino

The Manolo was recently the guest in the home whose kitchen was equipped with this, the
Nespresso Citiz Aeroccino C120.

Each morning, during his visit , the Manolo would awake at his customary late hour and head to the dining room, where he would sit for the few minutes before realizing that his hosts, being productive citizens, had already departed for the day.

Thus it was left to the Manolo to make his own coffee! Happily, this magnificent machine makes the perfect cup every time, without the special coffee barista training. Truly we live in the age of wonders and miracles!

Yet One More Reason to Love the Maestro…

He does not know who the Suri Cruise is!

As always, the Maestro Manolo Blahnik delights and amuses.

And, just in time for the Christmas, he has produced (with Camilla Morton) the seasonally appropriate fantasy picture book…Manolo Blahnik and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker

Manolo Blahniks the Elves and the Shoemaker A Fashion Fairytale

Ayyyy! He does not know who is Suri Cruise AND he has the new book. That is not one, but two reasons to love the maestro!

Bonnie and Clyde, the Musical

Manolo says, two years ago, the Manolo did the little comparison of the real outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde, with the fake movie star outlaws, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, in which the Manolo came to the conclusion that the real Bonnie and Clyde were more stylish and elegant than the movie stars, using photos such as they for the examples….

Bonnie Parker and Faye Dunaway

Allow the Manolo to stipulate that you would have to be as tiny as Bonnie to pull off that fascinating blouse with the faux cropped-jacket detailing. It is far more original and impressive than anything cooked up by the talented Theadora Van Runkle, who was nominated for the Oscar for Best Costume Design for the movie.

These photos are also striking because the take us beyond the differences in clothing and physical beauty, (Faye Dunaway is indisputably beautiful, and dressed by the famous professional, and yet Bonnie outshines her) into the realm of attitude and posture and pose.

The pose is superficially the same, but while Bonnie is all sinuous s-curves (hips, bosom, arms, legs), Dunaway is angular and erect. Faye leans away from us, Bonnie leans in. Dunaway is imperious and haughty; Bonnie frank, direct, and exceedingly dangerous.

It is one of the most fascinating feminine comparisons the Manolo has ever seen.

And now, today, in the New York Times there is the not so favorable review of the new Broadway musical version of the Bonnie and Clyde, accompanied with these photos..

Bonnie and Clyde the Musical

Bonnie and Clyde, the Musical

That dress! The Manolo loves it all over again and gives special accolades to the costume designer, Tobin Ost, for including this striking example of the pre-war American design.

Unfortunately, as the NY Times reviewer notes, even with the right outfits, it is not the clothes that makes the scrappy, outlaw woman…

Ms. Osnes is a lovely young woman of fashion-model proportions and an instinctive, accessible elegance that reads Ingénue. (She was perfect as the romantic lead in the current revival of “Anything Goes.”)

I don’t think ingénue was what Bonnie Parker was about. Ms. Osnes brings to mind a Bennington girl slumming with rough trade on her semester off.

And this was also the biggest problem with Faye Dunaway, that she was essentially unconvincing as the Depression-Era, Texas outlaw. But, then again, this is the problem with most modern actors, that they lack the breadth of life experience to convincingly portray the historic figures. (For the example, generally likeable, pretty boy actors of moderate shallowness should not be allowed to play Achilles.)

Likewise, the Manolo has the difficult time even imagining the actress who could do credible justice to the Bonnie Parker. Perhaps the young Holly Hunter?

And now, as the special bonus, here is the Tobin Ost talking about some of the costumes for the Bonnie and Clyde musical…

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