Project Runway 4, Episode Three

Manolo says, Ah, the menswear, it looks so simple: the pants, the jacket, the shirt. It is not as if the male fashions have really changed in the past 75 years (other than the deplorable trend toward 24/7 casualness), and yet why is it that so many famous and talented designers produce such utter crap when they turn their hand to the menswear?

It is simple. Menswear does not fall under the purview of the fashion designer. It belongs properly and only to the tailor, to men who have devoted their lives to the arcana of button holes and pick-stitched lapels and French facings, and who know that what matters most in menswear is material, cut, fit and detail.

You cannot really learn this at the fashion college. Such knowledge can only be acquired through long apprenticeships at the feet of masters. Yes, the big fashion firms can mass produce the similacra of good tailoring–the off-the-rack suits that look moderately presentable on the size 42 regular–but it is not the same.

And so it was the nearly impossible challenge that was given to the Project Runway peoples last night, one made truly impossible by the choice of Tiki Barber as the model.


Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Manolo answers, the Nicole Richie!

Congratulations to the Manolo’s internet friend Christina, who gave both the correct answer and the first answer.


Dissent at the Blog of the Manolo

Manolo says, this is one of the reasons why the Manolo loves his readers so very much, because even when they dissent from the official Manolo Party Line, they do so in ways that are interesting, polite, and well-reasoned.

Here, for the example, is the Manolo’s internet friend Sarah commenting upon the Manolo’s outrage with the Steven Madden peoples.

Sorry, I have to go against the grain here.

Ever seen those Suave shampoo commercials? Where two women with gorgeous hair flounce around for thirty seconds, and the announcer informs us that one of them spends a lot for salon products, and the other uses Suave? “If you can’t tell, why should we?”

Seven hundred dollars is an exorbitant price to pay for a mass produced product that you don’t plug into your wall. That it is not even remotely beyond the pale, in fact ‘reasonable’ as far as couture products goes, simply shows how divorced female ideals of conspicuous consumption have been removed from products that provide us value for money.

I remember being shocked when a friend of mine, a professional geisha, told me the average kimono she wore to work cost over ten thousand dollars. Then she actually went into the economics of the kimono industry, explained that every single kimono was a work of handcrafted art which kept dozens of artisans, sometimes the only living remnants of their craft, fed, and which was completely unique and symbolically sound in every detail. I was convinced at this point, and then she said, “Besides, it’s no more than you’d pay for a high-end handbag at some department stores.”

Louboutin’s name is not worth seven hundred dollars. No one’s name is worth seven hundred dollars. Value in fashion is assigned by a very small, very select cadre of people, and those values exist solely to keep a level of stylistic cache unattainable by the masses. Or else, how do you know how chic you are?

Of course, those signifiers fall apart if chicness is widespread, which is the real danger if mass market knockoffs. It is not a matter of protection of intellectual property; haute couture exists to determine the trend points upon which attainable intellectual property will be based, five years down the road. Nor is there anything patentable about patent leather, laces, shoe boots, or round toes. And if you honestly think shoe boots will be au courant long enough to constitute a ‘basic,’ or that any amount of money will make stilettos comfortable or long-lasting…

In summary, I am not offended by Steve Madden.

This is the exemplar of how intelligent and reasonable peoples should disagree! That the Manolo does not agree with this, does not change how happy he is to have received it.

As for what the Manolo believes, the Manolo can do no better than to point you to the replies of his internet friends Ninjarina, Dangster, and especially the Wannbe, who comes closest to expressing the Manolo’s own feelings with this perceptive comment below.


Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?



Manolo says, ayyyy! The honeymoon is over for Pam Anderson and her latest husband.


Blahnik’s Birthday Blogrolling!

Manolo says, in honor of the Maestro’s birthday, the Manolo the Shoeblogger has decided to update his blogroll, and to throw it open to all of the new fashion blogs he has not previously included.

The are so many new and wonderful voices out there that the Manolo can barely keep up with his blog reading and linking.

So, if you are the fashion blogger who links to the Manolo, but you are not on the Manolo’s blogroll please leave the the comment here so that he may link back.

By the way, the links in the Manolo’s complete blogroll rotate randomly through the front page, 25 at the time. So everyone does appear on the front page. (If the Manolo included his whole blogroll on the front page there would be room for nothing else.)

Happy Birthday to the Maestro!

Manolo Blahnik
Manolo says, today is the special day of obligation here at the Manolo the Shoeblogger’s humble shoe blog, for today is the birthday of our patron saint, the Maestro Manolo Blahnik, who was born on this day in 1942.

Naturally, we shall celebrate this holy day with feasts in the Maestro’s honor, toasts to his continued good health, and shoes!

Manolo Blahnik Shoes!
Manolo Blahnik Shoes!


Shoes of the Future = Backward Heels!

Manolo says, here is the short and amusing newsreel from the 1930s, in which the unnamed “fashion designers” predict what the women of the future, in the year 2000, will be wearing.

About one minute into the film you notice the appearance of our old friends, the ubiquitous shoes of the future, here called the “Cantilever Heel”, but known to the connoisseurs as the “backward heel”, the staple of 1950’s science fiction, and more recently Marc Jacobs and Junko Shimada.

P.S. Many thanks to the Manolo’s internet friend Lesle for spotting this.


Dolce & Gabbana Shoes for the Monday

Dolce and Gabbana Floral Pumps    Manolo Likes!  Click!

Manolo says, it is the Monday after the Thanksgiving Holiday and thanks to the undercooked stuffing, the overcooked turkey, and your husband’s insistence that you arise at four in the morning on Friday, so that you may do your first round of full-contact Christmas shopping at Best Buy, you have already had it with Christmas-Fest 2007.

You were actually happy to get back to the office, away from the ever-growing stack of mail-order catalogs, and the mountain of leftover dry turkey (who the Hell’s idea was the 24 pounder?).

And so now you are sitting at your desk, thinking, “Manolo, Take me Away!”

And so the Manolo does, by showing you something fun and frivolous and warm, like these beautiful Dolce and Gabbana pumps with the floral print.

With these shoes on your feets it is always the summer evening on the Amalfitano coast, with you and your consort (who is the image of your husband, only taller, without the little belly, and somehow, inexplicably, Italian) driving in the tiny sports car to this little restaurant on the beach, where you will be served grilled langoustines, crisp white wine, and this fabulous crusty bread baked by the owner’s mother.

More on the Steve Madden PhotoShopping

Manolo says, in case you may have missed this last week, the Manolo caught the shoe designer Steve Madde stealing the designs of the master Christian Louboutin, and also the photos used by the Saks department store to promote the Louboutin shoes.

Over the weekend the Manolo’s internet friend Susan, at the Counterfeit Chic, dissected this case, and notes the irony that the photo stolen from the Saks website has more protection under the law than the design of the shoes, themselves.

Of the course, for the Manolo the greatest crime is that Steve Madden is attempting to defraud his customers, by making them believe his shoddily made shoes are exactly like the masterful original upon which they are based.

P.S. The Manolo’s friend Julie, also had the few erudite words to say about this case at her new shoe blog, Almost Heeled.

Top Ten Christmas Movies

Manolo says, Glinda has continued her compiling of lists, with the seasonally appropriate list of the Top Ten Family Christmas Movies.

Naturally, there is already the spirited discussion in the comments section about “The Jimmy Stewart Movie Which Must Not Be Named”.