Manolo says, the unsinkable Suzy Menkes she has written the story about the inimitable Christian Louboutin!
On the shelves of his tiny store (21 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris) at the corner of a Belle Époque glassed-in gallery, Louboutin’s creations are on display: classic pumps scooping round the toes and poised on a thin 130-millimeter, or 5-inch, heel; sandals with playful pompoms where sturdy straps cross at the front; or operatic effects with lacy leather rings, echoing the years that the 13-year-old Louboutin went round Paris music halls showing his shoe sketches.
“Women don’t buy shoes – they look at themselves and their legs in silhouette – I saw that with the dancers,” says Louboutin, 41, whose nightclub subjects wore little beside their footwear.
There is a luxurious, oriental glamour to the boutique, where a curtain decorated with arabesques, mirrors with curlicue frames and a decorative screen bring a touch of the exotic. Born in Brittany but, he believes, with Tahitian blood in the family history, Louboutin has a penchant for the Middle East and has a vacation home in Egypt, on the Nile at Luxor.
How did Louboutin get from gawping at dancers to fitting his creations on classy beauties such as Princess Caroline of Monaco, Catherine Deneuve and Queen Rania of Jordan, not to mention Hollywood princesses Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow?
He passed through two iconic French houses, Charles Jourdan and Roger Vivier, where he helped organize a retrospective and handled shoes with a history of being created for Marlene Dietrich in performance, for the coronation of the shah of Iran and for Christian Dior haute couture.
“It was working with Jourdan and Roger Vivier that made me realize that shoe design was a real métier,” Louboutin says.
This it is exactly what the Manolo has been saying at his humble shoe blog, that the designing of the shoes, it is the craft, the art, one that is indeed most difficult to master. This it is why the shoes they are the objects worthy of our attention, because they can, in the hands of the master makers, truly be the art of the finest sort, the things that may bring us great joy through their beauty.
As for how one becomes first attuned to the beauty and potential of the shoes, it frequently has the genesis in the childhood, as it had with the Christian Louboutin
Louboutin can trace back his original creative “click.”
“As a child, I was taken to the musée des océans, and I saw a sign of a stiletto with two thick lines through it – and it haunted me,” says Louboutin, claiming that his schoolbooks were filled with drawings of the “no stiletto heels in here” sign. The images of Helmut Newton and the wild clubbing years in the 1980s at the Paris Le Palace cemented his fascination with shoes. Maybe it is significant that, apart from the splash of vermilion, the colors tend to be rich purples, smoky blues and moss greens, as if captured in Toulouse-Lautrec’s night world.
But Louboutin also makes daywear, from calf-hugging flat boots to platform-soled espadrilles that he encourages summer brides to wear, rather than spindly heels in which they cannot dance the night away.
“Luxury should not be anti-progress,” he says, referring to women’s freedom. “My idea of progress is to make shoes not higher, but ever finer.”
This it is why the Manolo the humble shoeblogger he adores the work of the Christian Louboutin, because he understands the shoe and the shoe-making perfectly.
May your day be filled with joy and your sabots be filled with the most super fantastic things!
Manolo says, the Manolo’s latest column, it is now available for the downloading at the Express of the Washington Post website.
It is the new version of the column of the Manolo, 300 words of Manolo-based wisdom, twice the size of the previous column.
This week, the topic it is the shoes for the Eve of the New Year.
I’ve been invited to the very swanky party on New Year’s Eve, but I’m a poor girl. Please help me find some super fantastic but affordable shoes.
Manolo says, the Eve of the New Years it is one of the most favorite nights of the year for the Manolo, as it gives your humble shoeblogging friend the Manolo the opportunity to slick back what is left of the hair, squeeze into the tuxedo (which has mysteriously grown smaller over the preceeding twelve months) and party like it is the 1999.
Even the better, it is the night when the Manolo gets to see the beautiful society womens go out in their fancy black dresses with the most super fantastic shoes on their feets, shoes that are surpassingly elegant and beautiful, and undoubtedly cost many hundreds of the American dollars,
How wonderful it is to know that at the least one night of the year, everyone is attempting to look their most super fantastic. This it is the night for the Blahniks, and the Choos, and the Louboutins, shoes that express your love of elegance and your impeccable style.
Of the course, what are you to do if, like the friend of the Manolo, you cannot afford the shoe of the Choo? (Retail price more than what “the Man” he pays you for the entire week’s worth of the drudgery.)
Be not afraid, the Manolo he is here to help.
Here are two beautiful shoes from the Vera Wang that are on the sale at the Zappos.
This first one, the black slingback with the sparkly sequined accents, it is selling at the 63% discount, the savings of over $300 of the American dollars!
This second shoe, the elegant pump with just enough of the tasteful bling, is is 53% off of the usual price.
Manolo says, as the Laura K has said about the third week of the Project Runway, it was the wreck of the train.
It has been obvious from the beginning of the season that the Daniel Franco he would have to be shuffled off the stage somewhat quickly. He has the talent for the tailoring, but he does not have the major talent for the design, and so off he was shuffled.
However, last night, the poor Daniel he also got the shafting by the producers of the show. His collection it was not bad (somewhat Joan Crawford, as the genius Tim noted) and he behaved in the most honorable manner, one worthy of respect and applause.
By the comparison, the Santino with his ridiculous “Spring Time for Hitler” collection, and his big, giant, whiney, titty baby hissy fits, he deserved to be out, so out that he should never again be allowed to pick up the needle and the thread.
But, of the course, as everyone knows, the Santino he is the “good” television, and his personality defects produce conflicts: conflicts with the other contestants, conflicts with the judges, conflicts with the blameless Tim Gunn, conflicts with the production staff, and presumably conflicts with the random passers by on the street. And the “reality” television it thrives on the ridiculous and needless conflicts, so the producers they allowed the Santino to stay on the show for at least one more week, so that he may continue to antagonize others for the benefit of the viewing public.
Normally, the Manolo he could live with this devil’s bargain, but this week it was too much, it was the clear miscarriage of the justice.
P.S. One of the Manolo’s internet friends has corrected the Manolo. It was the Joan Collins, not the Joan Crawford, to which the Tim had made the comparison.
Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has sent the Manolo the link to the article in the Forbes Magazine about the most expensive shoes for the womens.
Market analysts are keenly aware of the trend toward extravagant shoe-spending. “Footwear has become a fanatical purchase for even those women who never had a footwear fetish before,” says Marshal Cohen, chief analyst at The NPD Group. “Apparel is no longer the highest priority in women’s wardrobes: handbags and footwear have become the signature items used to project personal taste, wealth and style.”
Cohen estimates that shoes costing $1,000 and up account for less than 1% of total women’s fashion footwear sales (fashion footwear is defined as anything other than athletic), but he acknowledges a growing group of women willing to pay more for their shoes now than they ever have been before. “It changed as early as a year-and-a-half ago but picked up steam in the past six months. Women consider footwear their signature item now.”
Indeed, it is exactly as the Manolo has been saying for many of the years now, it is the feetwears that matter the most.
So, why are the expensive shoes so costly?
“When we’re talking about shoes at $14,000, it’s the materials,” says Michael Fink, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. “Leather and the pattern and type of wood they’re using, the jewels, are the beads hand done, how rare are the feathers–because a lot of shoes with feathers are using feathers that can’t be gathered anymore, from the archives of the couture feather houses. “Roger Vivier shoes have a specific curved heel, and the way it is attached to the footbed is very mechanical and difficult, so you’re paying for engineering, too,” Fink says.
Randall has seen firsthand how using the priciest materials can drive up the cost of a shoe. “Most beautifully made shoes are from Italy. The master craftspeople are there, and Italian leather is the best leather in the world.”
Mmmm, italian leather.
What does the $14,000 shoe look like?
This it is the alligator boot from the maestro Manolo Blahnik. Magnificent, no?
To the mind of the humble Shoeblogger, the costliness it is perfectly justified.
Of the course, not every expensive boot is worth the price.
They call it “a photographic conversation,” and the result is a book for every fashionista to lust for in her Xmas stocking. “Blahnik by Boman” (Thames & Hudson), with its shoe trailing a peacock tail through a shrubbery or its purple suede boot spilling over with lilac blooms, has an atomic sexual charge and a luscious sense of decoration.
Eric Boman photographed his friend Manolo Blahnik’s work in all its delicacy and intensity. As Paloma Picasso, part of the trio who met up in Paris in the 1960s, puts it: “Eric has been able to give Manolo’s creations the perfect setting in which to bloom before our eyes.” Her words and Blahnik’s exuberant, tangential, culture-packed commentary add an extra dimension to the book and its exceptional images.
It is rare for a book to capture so completely the visual, emotional and intellectual spirit of a designer, without any of the usual vainglory or sugary endorsements. The playful, elegant images – 165 in full plates – are a fitting tribute to the drama and craftsmanship of both cobbler and photographer.
Truly it is the most wonderful book, the perfect gicft for the person who loves the shoes.
Manolo says, if like the Manolo, because of the circumstances beyond your control, you are having to walk everywhere today, then you will need the boot that is not only both comfortable and warm, but also something that expresses your toughness in the face of the urban adversity.
Manolo shouts, Fluevog Today! This it is the perfect boot for striding downtown, in the fact, it is the downtown boot.
Here is the boot from the Paul Green that captures the grittiness of the urban life, without actually being gritty.
And finally, but not the least, here is the boot from the Taryn Rose, one that is not gritty or tough at all, but in the stead it is more winter wonderlandy. It is also on the sale, 50% off of the usual price.