Seven Years of Shoeblogging: The Anniversary of the Manolo

Manolo says, on this day, in year 2004, the Manolo started his humble shoe blog.

Manolo Blahnik Carolyne Pump

Seven years? Who could have imagined that the Manolo would still be here after all these years?

So much has changed since the beginning, from the growth of the fashion blogosphere, to the democratization of the fashion reportage and criticism, to the commercial triumph of the corporate blogs, all of it visible from this odd little quarter of the interwebs.

And yet, here is the Manolo, still sharing his love of the shoes, still trying to make his friends laugh.

And through it all, this has been the Manolo’s greatest reward, to know that he has been able to bring the small measure of pleasure to to his internet friends, and that they have responded to him with love. And for this the Manolo will always be most grateful.

You are most super fantastic, indeed, dear internet friends!


Manolo the Columnist: Aprelle from Ugg

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

Dear Manolo,

In mid-November, I’m attending a wedding in Montreal. I’ve already got my shoes for the ceremony and the reception picked out, however, I need something both stylish and warm to wear around town, while I’m there. What do you suggest?


Manolo says, the last time the Manolo visited Quebec, it was the few years ago, in the February, when the weather was clear, beautiful and freezingly cold, with the outside temperature hovering somewhere around seven thousand degrees below zero.

Of the course, this did not dissuade the Quebecois from racing their mobiles of snow through the woods at all hours of the day, wide-open throttle in one hand, semi-frozen Molsen beer in the other.

But such hardy outdoor pastimes are not for the Manolo. who, like the iguana, is the warm weather creature, one which prefers basking himself on the rock in the sun to having parts of his nose fall off from the icy bite of Señor Jack Frost.

But, to each his own, eh? Far be it from the Manolo to suggest that people who race snowmobiles and voluntarily eat the cheese-curd-gravy-and-french-fried dish known as poutine may in some way be slightly off.

Here is the Aprelle from Ugg, the wedge-heeled shearling boot that will keep you looking good and feeling warm until spring.

Aprelle from Ugg

Whose Shoes Wednesday…The Answer!

Manolo asked, whose shoes?

Annie Lennox Shoes

Manolo answers, it is the Annie Lennox!

Sadly, this week, none of the Manolo’s internet friends were able to identify this chameleonic personage of note.

Whose Shoes Wednesday

Manolo asks, whose shoes?

Miu Miu Glitter Pumps for the Tuesday

Manolo says it is Tuesday and you are back at your desk doing that thing…you know, that thing.. with the computer and the performance memos and the shouting boss who is the female version of the Lou Grant, all gruff on the outside, and but filled with the marshmallow creme on the inside (which, frankly, does not sound all that appealing, but at this stage of the career, you will take what you can get.)

Back in the day, when you were leaving the college and entering the force of working, you were so excited. It was like the adventure, to be earning your first paycheck, and you were the spunky, brave, beautiful heroine, the working-girl Cinderella, part debutant, part warrior queen.

…and now, after 20 years of the hard labor, you would settle with being recognized as one of Cinderella’s least unattractive step-sisters, the slightly prettier and less mean Drizella.

“Cindy, why don’t you go to the ball in my place. Don’t worry, I can take care of those fireplace ashes for you.”

And for the majority of us, no longer the protagonists in our own stories, this is the best for which we can hope: to be the attendant lady, one that will do to swell the progress, start the scene or two, advise the princess.


Look Beautiful fairy tale shoes, the Glitter Pumps from Miu Miu!

Miu Miu Glitter Pumps

Ayyyy! Perhaps the story is not yet written. Maybe this is just the lull between the acts, or the brief stutter step in the epitasis, and you are on the brink of the momentous change, and you will be forced to overcome impossible challenges and rise to your ultimate triumph!


Manolo the Columnist: Key West from olsenHaus

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

Dear Manolo,

I would be happy to wear cruelty-free shoes when possible, but I can’t find many non-ugly ones except for my Converse Chuck Taylors. I love my Chucks, but their usage is limited. I would also like to find out if any of the newer “vegan leathers” can be used to create a super-fantastic shoe. In my experience, fake leather is sweaty plastic ick that cracks and peels. I know about Stella McCartney’s vegan shoes, but they’re way out of my price range. Can you help out a shoe-lover who would like to transition to a leather-free wardrobe where possible?


Manolo says the short answer is no, the Manolo is of little or no help when it comes to finding the good-looking vegan shoes.

And, the long answer, it is also no, or perhaps nooooooooo.

Finding the vegan shoes that are both stylish and not made from the recycled plastic waste is one of the most impossible of tasks.

It is because, from the beginning of time, leather has always been the material most perfectly suited for the shoes. It is inexpensive,
handsome, pliable, durable, moderately weatherproof, and capable of being worked into beautiful and practical forms.

But, the Manolo understands that there are those who object to the manner in which the leather is obtained, and so here is the Key West, the good-looking sandal from the vegan shoe specialist olsenHaus, the shoes which may be what you are looking for.

Key West Sandal from olsenHaus


Blue Suede Heartbreak

N.B. Our friend the Sarah, who wrote brilliantly about shoes and sin, is back with more sad news.

Elvis’s first single was “Heartbreak Hotel.” The first track on his first studio album was “Blue Suede Shoes.” This cannot possibly be a coincidence. Elvis clearly knew that when you purchase a pair of suede shoes you might as well book yourself an overnight stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. Why else would he have so enthusiastically adopted the lyrics to Carl Perkins’s hit, immortalizing forever the warning, “Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes.”

Blue Suede Shoes!

The Shoes of the Blue Suede, belonging to The King

The Shoes of the Blue Suede, belonging to The King

It’s possible that somewhere, some tormented graduate student has worked up an analysis of the lyrics of “Blue Suede Shoes” and argued that the song is, at heart, not so much a warning about the shoes as it is about protecting the singer’s masculinity, or identity, or coolness. That graduate student has obviously never owned a pair of suede shoes.

My mother had a pair. They were lovely. Black suede pumps with a scalloped edging and a delicately curved high heel that was at least an inch higher than the shoes she wore for work. We knew they were special because she kept them in a box on the highest shelf of her closet and, unlike every other pair of shoes she owned, we were never allowed to try them on.

black suede pumps

Naturally, I conceived an instant desire for suede shoes of my very own.

I have them now. In fact, I have several pairs of suede shoes. I even have a pair of blue suede shoes. (And honey, stay offa my shoes!) And here is what I have learned, despite eschewing the temptations offered by a pair of pale pink suede Betsey Johnson Mary Janes with 5 inch heels in favor of the far more practical black suede Betsey Johnson Mary Janes with 5 inch heels:

1. You cannot wear suede shoes in the summer. Fashion crime.

2. You cannot wear suede shoes in the spring. Marginally less significant fashion crime. Also, it’s going to rain.

3. You probably should not wear suede in the fall. It’s going to rain. All month. And next month too.

4. You dare not wear suede in the winter. It’s going to rain. And snow. And also sleet. And there will be road salt. Also de-icing chemicals.

Suede shoes—at least for those of us poor mortals who live in the Midwest and must trip the light fantastic toe through separate and equally inclement seasons—can never be worn at all.

And if that does not break the hearts of the friends of the Manolo, I cannot think that they have any hearts at all.


Manolo Blahnik Suede Ankle Boot for the Monday

Manolo says, from Aquinas:

Pulchritudo non habet rationem appetibilis nisi inquantum induit rationem boni: Sic enim et verum appetibile est: Sed secundum rationem propriam habet claritatem

Our friend Eco says that this is Aquinas’s proof that beauty, goodness, and truth are “equivalent and convertible”.

But, the Manolo does not need the Aquinas, nor the Eco, to know this.

All the humble shoeblogger must do to understand that truth and beauty and goodness are the same is gaze upon this…

Manolo Blahnik Pointy-Toed Suede Ankle Boot

The pointy-toed suede snkle boot from the Maestro Manolo Blahnik.


Manolo the Columnist: Stefanie from La Canadienne

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

Dear the Manolo,

I would like to ask for your expert advice and opinion. I bought a pair of tight-fit blue jeans and I need a nice pair of brown or black kneehigh (or a bit lower) walking boots that are comfortable, orthopaedic, and at the same time stylish to wear with them. I want to wear them for years and years and still love them.


Manolo says, this word “orthopaedic”, it is to the shoe connoisseur what the garlic-dipped crucifix is to the vampire, the object of loathing and terror.

How could it be otherwise?

To be the devoted lover of the shoes is to invest our emotions in the objects of beauty and impracticality. The Louboutin with the four inch heels can never be orthopaedic. It is simply impossible. They are as water and oil.

And, yet, because we are not the vampires, but merely people of aesthetic discernment, we must sympathize with those who cannot wear the beautiful and impractical shoes.

To have the painful feets is the greater curse, and so the Manolo as the man of feeling and humanity, must master his revulsion for orthopaedia and help these poor peoples in their time of needs.

Yes, it is true, the Manolo is the humanitarian.

Look! Here is the Stefanie from La Canadienne, the knee-high boot that is not only stylish and comfortable (perhaps even orthopaedic) but also weather proof, just in time for the autumn.

Stefanie Tall Boot from La Canadienne

The Return of the Chopine

Manolo says, clearly, we are in the late-decadent phase of our culture…

Strass Wedge from Alexander McQueen

The Strass Wedge from the Alexander McQueen, which looks remarkably like the 16th century Venetian chopine.


Alexandre Birman Strappy Denim Wedges for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and is it just the Manolo, or has the entire world gone cuckoo nuttybar crazy?

Look! Beautiful and interesting shoes…

Alexandre Birman Strappy Denim Wedges

These strappy denim wedge sandals from the Alexandre Birman are the sort of shoe that you would perhaps at first scorn, thinking to yourself, “Denim? Where would I wear these,”

Only months later, while sitting at your desk daydreaming about things more personally consequential than your job, you would realize that they were the most popular shoes in your closet, capable of being worn more things than you could ever have imagined.


Manolo the Columnist: Jerico from Vigotti

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

Dear Manolo,

When I first wrote you, I was but the tender age of 14, entering high school and unsure of my shoe choices. Now, as I enter my senior year of high school I am in need of your help once more. I need a shoe that tells the incoming freshmen, I rule the school but I will still take you under my wing and show you the roller coaster that is high school. A summer’s worth of nannying and future babysitting appointments make price not really a concern but still- I’m only in high school! Hope you can help!


Ayyy, the Manolo has been giving out the shoe advice for so long that the entire generations of the school children have grown to womanhood!

Happily, it appears that the counsel of the Manolo, about how to achieve better living and social domination through beautiful shoes, is having the desired effect.

Indeed, it is clear that the Manolo’s friend, Margo, through careful attention to the Tao of the Manolo, has made it to the pinnacle of teenaged human achievement — the cool, senior girl’s table in the high school cafeteria — without losing her humanity. Yes, she rules the school with the iron fist (hidden behind the velvet pompom) but she has not neglected the little peoples who are her subjects.

Truly, this is our definition of gracious majesty, for Margo has learned one of the centrals truths of the Way of the Manolo: with great shoes comes great responsibility.

Here, in the grey suede, is the Jerico from Vigotti, the reasonably priced ankle boot with the kickin’ rock-n-roll zipper cuff detail.

Jerico from Vigotti