Manolo the Columnist: Giorgio Armani Two-Tone Wingtip Brogue

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

Dear Manolo,

What are the hot shoe trends for 2013?

Kelly

Manolo says, from what the Manolo has seen in the various spring shoe collections of the major designers, the hottest trends will be the outrageously tall 6 plus inch heels in the super hot colors, like puce and verdigris, made from the skins of exotic endangered animals such as the lesser tree sloth and the greater pangolin, shoes which will sell in the $4700 and up range.

The Manolo’s sources among the with-it crowd also say that mix and match will be all the rage, as super skinny ladies of mode will seek to wear different shoes on the different feets, perhaps the Jimmy Choo stiletto snakeskin sandal on the left foot, and the Louboutin embroidered satin flat on the right, or vice versa. Hobbling will briefly replace strutting on the catwalks of Paris and Bucharest, and pedestrian accidents will skyrocket in parts of lower Manhattan.

In late March, the widespread front of Swarovski crystal spikes will move into the tri-state area, causing panic buying among matronly women on the Upper East Side, who will pile into the Saks 10022 Shoe department to load up on the 9 inch Giuseppe Zanotti wedge heels in the metallic color known as “”samovar””.

By early April, crystal spikes on mis-matched shoes will be out, out, OUT! Ugh, how can you wear that, it is so last minute?

Manolo says, chasing fashion trends is out. Developing your own personal style that is timelessly you is the new black!

Here is the Giorgio Armani leather and patent, two-tone wingtip brogue, just because.

Giorgio Armani Two-Tone Brogue

Manolo the Columnist: Gira from Born

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

Dear Manolo,

Now that winter has officially arrived, I need a pair of comfy, handsome, tall winter boots that suitable for the conditions. Also, I should mention that I want something stylish enough to wear into work, if possible. Please help.

Cynthia

Manolo says, for the Manolo—who has all of the tolerance for the wintery weather you would expect of the person raised in the balmy Mediterranean—winter means the few days of wettish, coolish weather, followed by the hasty trip to Ibiza to recover.

Thus, it is foreign to the Manolo, this Midwestern idea that for several months each year you must daily bundle up like the Yukon Cornelius and go out into the frosty world to face the Abominable Snow Beast in the hand-to-the-hand combat, armed with nothing but the snow tires and the long-handled ice scraper.

Unfortunately, the Manolo’s friends from the great frozen north tell the Manolo that the only alternative to learning to like being out and about in the snow, is to languish inside your house, crouching by the fire, hoping that the cable television and booze supply do not go out, otherwise you will be quickly eyeballing the various members of your family like Jack Nicholson in the Shining.

Look! Here is the Gira from Born, the tall, shearling-lined boots that will keep your toes warm, while having giving you more than enough fashion snap in the worst conditions.

Gira Boot from Born

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas Shoe

Manolo says,

Merry Christmas!

The Manolo wishes you the most super fantastic of holidays, warm and happy, with friends and family, good food and wonderful gifts!

Manolo the Columnist: Aksaya Sandal from Schutz

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

Dear Manolo,

It has been a very tough year for me here in Suburbia, so I really want to celebrate its end. So, can you recommend some shoes for a New Year’s Eve black tie gala in the city, complete with dinner and dancing?

Patricia

Manolo says, as is always the case, the last few weeks of the year are filled to the bursting with events, which require substantial preparation and attention, such as the Christmas, and the Eve of the New Year, and the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse.

One minute you are trimming the Chrismakwanzakah tree and taking your little black dress to the seamstress for adjustments, worrying about which shoes are in fashion, and the next you are stocking up on the Meals Ready to Eat and filling sandbags so as to fortify your basement against the fiery arrival of Quetzalcoatl and his Army of the Undead.

But, then the life of the suburban housewife has never been easy, has it?

Happily, the gigantic party at the very end of the year makes up for the various indignities you have suffered over the course of that year, such as the bald spots in your lawn, and the rust spots on your minivans, and the way your seven year old’s violin practice makes you want to call the meteorite down upon the head of the person who wrote the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

Here is the Aksaya Sandal from the Shutz, perfect for the celebratory boogying.

Schutz Aksaya Sandal

Manolo the Columnist: Ivette from Jimmy Choo

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


Dear Manolo,

On the day after Christmas, my husband and I are going to Argentina for two weeks of tourism and fun. We want to go out dancing at night in Buenos Aires, but I’m worried because the Argentine women are so glamorous. Can you help me glam it up.

Carolyn

Manolo says, ayyy! How exciting to be going to the Manolo’s beloved Buenos Aires in the early summer!

Of the course, there will be no reason to worry about being insufficiently glamorous, as on the day after the Navidad, all of the most glamorous people of Argentina go to the Uruguay, to the place called Punte del Este, where they put on the tiny little bathing suits and strut around on the white sand beaches, and that is just the men!

Still, even though the high society leaves for elsewhere, there will more than enough places left in the city to dance away the night The Manolo strongly recommends the Bar Million, the combination art gallery-restaurant-bar -dance club in the opulent fin de’siècle French-style townhome in the center of the city as being the place to have the great deal of glamorous fun.

For the maximum effect the Manolo recommends the Ivette snake-print leather sandals from the Jimmy Choo 2013 Resort Collection as being the super fantastic shoe that will make the Argentine ricos goggle at your utter glamorosity.

choo-ivette

Manolo the Columnist: Jolie from Sam Edelman

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

Dear Manolo,

I will soon attend my granddaughter’s baptism. This church asks that women do not wear dresses above the knee, or trousers. I am short, and longer skirts make me look, well, grandmotherly, unless they are worn with heels. However, the ceremony is long, and the congregation stands for the whole thing, plus of course there is a party afterwards which will probably be too crowded for much sitting. Is there a flat shoe that says “although I am delighted to have a grandchild, and know how to dress appropriately for a religious occasion, nevertheless I am not too old to look superfantastic”?

Ruth

Manolo says, oh how often the Manolo wishes he were the wizard with the long beard and the conical hat with the stars embroidered upon it!

“Good Wizard Manolo,” the Manolo’s hobbity friends would say, “can you please do something to make our feets feel both comfortable and gorgeous while we are on the lengthy quest to observe our religious rites.”

To which the Grand Wizard Manolo would say, “No. The Manolo is only the mage, not the miracle worker. There are some things beyond the power of even magic.”

And then he would wave his wand over the pile of leather and silk causing them to magically turn into the glittery, six-inch-tall, Louboutainish platform sandals that could only be worn by the Elfish super models, who seem to glide along the forest in wispy-gauzy fabric shifts that show their sylph-like figures to good effect.

The non-wizard Manolo would say that if you have the shape for it, the elegant ankle-skimming skirt cut on the bias could look good with the romantic pretty flat such as the Jolie from the the Sam Edelman.

Jolie from Sam Edelman

Manolo the Columnist: Vivian from Badgley Mischka

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


Dear Manolo,

I survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday all in fine fettle. Now, however, I’m faced with the ultimate holiday season test, my husband’s office Christmas party. Not only will my husband’s boss be there, but the boss’s boss, and the boss’s boss’s boss, all the way up to the CEO. I’ve got my little black dress, and now I need some pretty shoes, something under $200 if you can manage, please.

Jennifer

Manolo says, ayyyy! The moment of great danger approaches, when the innocent young peoples who have ventured forth, Hansel and Gretel style, into the deep thicket of The Corporate Woods, encounter the gingerbread house at the center.

Yes, at the first glance, the holiday office party would appear to be festive sort of thing, with the decorations, the twinkling lights, and the row of smiling bosses with their skinny-toned, Harvard MBA, trophy wives.

But do not be deceived, young person, for there are traps and monsters and witches waiting for you, eager to pull you from the career ladder and devour your chances at getting your own reserved parking space in the office garage.

Keep in mind these sensible rules of proper behavior: Do not talk about the election just past; do not have that third glass of champagne; and do not, under any circumstances, dance with the boss, the boss’s boss, or the boss’s boss’s boss to the “slow jam”.

Look! Here is the Vivian from the Badgley Mischka, the strappy sandal in the metallic silvery color that seems sufficiently festive for the happily ever after.

Vivian from Badgley Mishka

Happy Birthday to the Maestro Manolo Blahnik!

Manolo Blahnik at Seventy

Manolo says, on this day, seventy years ago, our maestro di tutti maestri Manolo Blahnik graced the world with his presence!

In honor of this historic event, and in honor of our Maestro’s glorious day, the humble Manolo the Shoeblogger gives to you this link to the most recent interview.

Actually, I know what he means. It is strange to think, now, that there was a time not so long ago when shoes were just shoes, rather than the magical totems of success and femininity they have become. Expensive high heels have become a motif in our popular culture for Stuff Women Want. They are how Olympians reward themselves for success, and the default shorthand of every chick-lit book cover. And the origin of this idea of the shoe as a magical object stems, in large part, from the way Manolo designs them. His sketches of shoes are extraordinary: not inanimate line-drawings but character portraits, sensual and suggestive. Richard Avedon’s fashion photography showed us how clothes can lend charisma and attitude to the wearer, by teasing out and emphasising the posture and silhouette of the body. Manolo did the same with footwear. With his sketches, Manolo has done more to open the eyes of the world to the transformative power of the right shoe than anyone since Cinderella.

And yet, Manolo has never really cashed in on the phenomenon he helped create. He has never sold his company. He still personally designs every pair of shoes that bears his name, rather than delegate to a studio. Key roles in the company are held by members of his family, and he has never done a lucrative mass-market collaboration, along the lines of Jimmy Choo for H&M. He is a wealthy man with an enviable lifestyle, but perhaps not as wildly rich as one might expect. He lives in Bath, in an 18th-century townhouse that he adores; he says he moved there in the 1980s because he “could not possibly afford” such a house in London. “But who cares? I couldn’t care less about business,” he says cheerfully.

As always, he is revealed as the most delightful person, and our model in all things.

Manolo in the Daily Dot

Manolo says, in case you missed this, last week, the Manolo wrote the small piece for the Daily Dot website about the pernicious effects of the fancy food blogs…

It is all because of the deleterious effects of the food blogs that early this morning you had to make the special trip to that hipster butcher shop, you know the one with the nice young men who have the arms full of tattoos and wear the ironic handlebar mustachios. Unfortunately, because of the food blogs, you had no choice. You had to pick up the organic, pastured, free-range, eighteen-pound heirloom turkey, which had been ordered directly from the farmer for your big Thanksgiving meal.

When you got to the check out counter, you were afraid to look while the Betty Boop-a-like girl in the polka-dot kerchief rang you up, so you just handed over your debit card and pretended to examine the copy of Adbusters. It was one hundred and nineteen dollars and change. More money than you had paid for the past six holiday turkeys combined, all of them honest Butterball toms who had given their lives in noble service to gluttony and national pride.

You had not wanted to spend so much money on the bird, but two years ago it was your brother’s turn to host the family festival, and his wife (who is the adjunct professor of sociology down at the junior college) served the organic free-range turkey, which everyone, including your husband Gary, praised as “the best bird ever.”

What made this all so galling is that your sister-in-law has her own silly food blog, (silly, despite the fact that it was nominated for the James Beard Award for Excellence in Pornographic Food Photography, which it thankfully did not win) which means that on Friday morning the entire interwebs were treated to the large picture of Gary, fork in mouth, being transported in orgasmic ecstasy to the ethereal plane of turkey delight. Tweeted and retweeted by the followers of your sister-in-laws blog, this photo of Gary had become, by the end of the weekend, its own meme, prominently featured above the fold on the Buzzfeed with the variety of captions, the majority of which were variations on the theme “Ermahgerd Terky!”

And now you must go read the rest of the piece.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Manolo wishes all of his internet friends the Happiest of Happy Thanksgivings.

There is so much for which the Manolo must be thankful, but chief among those things are you, dearest readers. Your generosity of spirit and willingness to indulge the Manolo here at his humble shoe blog have brought immeasurable joy. May your day be filled with family, friends, turkey, and all things super fantastic!

Happy Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving, the day on which people all over the great United States of America come together to gorge themselves on turkey and pretend they prefer foodie Aunt Clara’s pomegranate confit with pink shallot relish to the can-shaped cranberry deliciousness that won the Cold War.

Considering the American importance of the date –not only is it Thanksgiving, it’s the 49th anniversary of JFK assassination– I should do a retrospective of Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’ fondness for Roger Vivier’s pilgrim pumps.

Unfortunately, I’m both lazy and jetlagged and so here’s a snap of the La Veuve Kennedy four years later in full New York swing sporting a pair of Vivier’s iconic buckled beauties.

Oh, and also a ridiculous platter of pumps.

White satin for autumn? I mean honestly.

Espadrille Hunting in Barcelona

I’m a bottle of wine, several razor-thin slices of Iberico ham and one digestif that tastes like burning tires into my afternoon recovery and I am still not emotionally prepared to discuss the heartache involved in finding La Manual Alpargatera, the century-old purveyor of espadrilles deep in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.

Handmade espadrilles taunting me

In the spirit of full disclosure, I really should’ve written down the address and not relied on the kooky idea that everyone would be as excited as I was about a sandal shop that’s been around since Wilbur Wright showed King Alfonso XIII the intricacies of his fabulous flying machine.

Alas, that was my first mistake.

My second mistake was a classic Southern one: relying on the kindness of strangers.

The anti-tourist sentiment in Barcelona is somewhat justifiably strong, and although I understand the feeling of having your city ruined by monied interlopers (does anyone remember how cool Austin used to be?) I am pretty much the ideal tourist, so I was surprised that the chill in the air came from the residents, not the weather system.

I mean seriously, I’m friendly, respectful, I speak the language (okay I speak Spanish not Catalan, but for an American that’s not half bad), I not only know, but actively care about how many weeks Carles Puyol, the questionably-coiffed captain of their beloved football team was out with an ugly elbow injury and I always, always differentiate between Catalunya and Spain. Plus I’ve got a big rack, and you know those things are accepted more places than Visa.

Xavi (left) and Carles Puyol could have had a V8

Xavi (left) and Carles Puyol could have had a V8.

Thankfully we ran into The Nicest Woman in Catalunya, proprietress of a little specialty food shop near the spectacular Palau de Music who not only laughed with us when she heard the completely awful directions one Barcelona denizen gave us, but drew us a map, and invited us to dinner if we were ever back in town.

We trekked the approximate six million city blocks back to the little shoe shop, located down an appealingly dark alley, spied the hundreds of colorful handmade espadrilles in the window and with a song in our hearts and euros in our pockets grabbed the door handle only to find it was closed.

Defeated, Hot Latin Boy and I slumped into a cab to go back to our hotel for a little siesta and liver damage a few minutes after 4:00. It was then, dear reader, I opened a minimized window on my laptop to discover the shoe shop wasn’t closed for the day. It reopened at 4:30.

I might try my luck again tomorrow if I’m still capable of self-ambulation, but I’ve got a little flamenco shop I want to visit to buy fans for the women in our dance troupe, and I figure I should start drawing a map right now. And also wear a minimizing bra. I tell you, these things are useless.

 

 

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