Fab Four: Green Suede Shoes (and how to clean them)

In the spirit of full disclosure, the Venn Diagram of “People Who Think Spangled and Be-Caped Polyester Jumpsuits Are a Good Idea” and “People from Whom Miss Plumcake Takes Sartorial Advice” does not see a great deal of overlapping.

Still, as both Elvis and Carl Perkins –the artist responsible for writing the seminal rockabilly classic– know, there’s just something about a good pair of suede shoes.

Blue is fine if a little expected, but greens from dusky olive to deep viridian are having a major moment this fall. Plus, green suede ages better blue does, where a bit of dirt and scuffing add to the character.

A little Annie Hall, a little Jules et Jim, these immaculate oxfords from Gravati (seriously, look at the soles, they are works of art) are the exact sort of shoe you didn’t know you needed until you find yourself wearing them for thirty years. Style it with rolled up jeans and a bateau-neck top for the kooky naif look, or go elegant with wide tailored trousers and a mercilessly chic cashmere sweater to channel Marlene Dietrich at her deadliest.

The iconic Alexander McQueen skull pump rarely goes on sale and this iteration is among the more elegant (the shark, I’m afraid, was jumped a good while ago with some of the late designer’s other iconic designs. See also, Marc Jacobs’ mouse shoe). Sizing is extremely limited, but if it fits your foot, you can get a signature shoe for over 50% off.

For something just as sexy but a little more sly, Robert Clergerie’s curvaceous Quatro in Basil is a lovely sample of a desk-to-dinner heel. The t-strap makes it perfect for dancing. In my experience, Clergerie cuts on a narrow last –it’s truth universally acknowledged that French women have skinny little banana feet– so size accordingly.

What do you wear to transition summer’s favorite maxi dresses into fall? A summer cut in an autumnal fabrication. The wallet-friendly Primrose from Seychelles fits the bill perfectly with a strong design element at the vamp that ascends higher up the throatline for a slightly less summery look. Even better, they’re on sale for 25% off.

Finally, I know people avoid suede because of the staining. I wouldn’t.

With use, suede develops a patina every bit as elegant as the crumpled lines of a linen pant. Buy them in neutrals and do your best to keep them away from oils –basically don’t fry chicken or perform automotive maintenance in them– and you’ll be good to go.

Oh, and as for maintenance: Ignore pretty much everything you’ve read on the internet on how to clean suede and listen to the advice from London custom shoemakers James Taylor and Son. They’ve been making bespoke footwear since 1857 and wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Alexander McQueen 3D Flower Platform Wedge

Alexander McQueen 3D Flower Platform Sandals

Manolo says, here is the pair of Alexander McQueen platform wedges with the all natural, organic-y, leather detail that pushes it out of the ordinary and into our cold, urban hearts.

Alexander McQueen Pumps for the Tuesday

Manolo says, it is Tuesday and you are back at your desk, after what turned out to be the relatively sedated Halloween. Yes there were the usual parade of visitors, this year gravely disappointed that your man Gary, he of the elaborate annual Halloween displays, did not celebrate the occasion in his usual over-the-top style.

It was in May, when you first noticed that something was amiss, that Gary had not closed off the garage and converted it into his laboratory, the sort of Halloween DARPA, where he has traditionally begun to test the fanciful ideas for his annual extravaganza. (Who can forget the year when he built the full-sized pirate ship with cannons that fired candy?)

“Gary,” you asked one Saturday in early June, “why haven’t you begun the preparations for Halloween? Aren’t you doing it this year?”

“I thought I’d give it a break,” he answered somewhat morosely.

You did not say anything, you just dropped the matter. And why would you not? In the first place, Gary not doing Halloween would save you several thousand of the dollars in materials. And in the second place, you suspected that Gary was suffering from the mild case of PHSD, Post Halloween Stress Disorder, and needed time to recover from the traumatic events of last year.

In the effort to outdo himself, Gary had built the alien spaceship, from which were emerging the be-tentacled green invaders, the first of whom was busily stripping the flesh from the corpse, with one surprised skeleton already lying nearby (Bony Bob in the supporting role).

Everyone agreed it the greatest display yet, and the sound track, complete with theremin music (recorded by Gary in his makeshift home studio), was indeed most spooky. Unfortunately, Gary had failed to properly ground the lighting system which illuminated the interior of the flying saucer. You know this, because the fire marshal said it was probably the loose wire which had heated the styrofoam to the point of combustion.

By the time Gary was able to retrieve the extinguisher from the garage, the flames had leaped into the autumny leaves of that tall larch by the driveway, and from there, onto the fabric of the car cover Gary had placed over his most prized possession, the 1972 Camero Z28 in yellow and black. (The car had been parked beneath the larch tree because Gary needed room in the garage for his Halloween experiments.)

After the fire company went home around 1:30AM, Gary retreated into the Gary Cave and did not emerge until late afternoon the next day.

All he said was, “Let us never speak of this day again.”

Look, spooky suede Alexander McQueen shoes!

Alexander McQueen Suede Pump

Too bad the Halloween has already past, because these designer shoes could become the basis of your own personal Halloween extravaganza!


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.

Alexander McQueen Samurai Strappy Sandals for the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk agitated and annoyed by your coworkers, which, given the nature of the modern working place is not unusual.

On the one of the hands, the actual work itself would be made immediately better if most of your coworkers were magically transported back to the Jurassic Age.

On the other of the hands, you are something of the social animal. Who would you eat lunch with if not your friends Jenny and Jane? Who would bring you the gossip from the accounting department circus if not the Brenda? How would you make it through the day if Deadpan Mike did not make his hilarious quips?

And then you get out the piece of paper, draw the line down the center, and write two words at the top of the page, on the left, “Lifeboat”, and on the right, “Sharks”.

You write Jenny, Jane, Mike, Brenda, Nice Greg from IT, and six or seven more names of those who should be allowed to join you in the Dunder Mifflin corporate lifeboat.

On the right, the chum list immediately grows to unsustainable proportions, 30 names in the first instant, and growing. It is so bad that you are reduced to using the nicknames and silly descriptions because you do not even know the names of the doomed: Curly Surly Girl, Mr. Bigshot, The Dinky Dork….

And while you are engrossed in this most satisfying exercise, someone unexpectedly steps into your cubicle.

“Hey, whacha doing?”

You hurriedly flip the page over, and look over your shoulder. Oh, thank goodness. It is just the Deadpan Mike.

“Looks like a corporate restructuring,” he says.

“It was just a, er, um, um…”

“I couldn’t really see. Did I make it into the lifeboat?”

You turn the page back over and point to his name.

“Oh, good. Don’t forget to feed Frankly Fran to the sharks.”

Frankly Fran! This is why the Deadpan Mike has earned his place in the lifeboat, because he both extra observant and extra funny. Who else but Mike would have noticed that Frances the World’s Most Annoying Actuary had the verbal tick which involved starting most sentences with the word “frankly”.

And then you have the unorthodox idea that perhaps it is the aggravating people who make your job somewhat interesting, by providing fodder for amusement.


Look! Ridiculously tall shoes from the Alexander McQueen…

Alexander Mcqueen Samurai Strappy Sandal

The Samurai Strappy Sandal from Alexander McQueen with the six inches heel and platform combination that is almost silly, and yet somehow compelling.


Alexeander McQueen Floral Engraved Boots of Great Cost

Alexander McQueen Floral Engraved Leather Boots

Manolo says, these Alexander McQueen boots, they leave the Manolo…meh…not so excited.

What is the price? Ayyyyyyyy! The are made of pure unobtanium!

Alexander McQueen Open-Toed Ankle Boots For the Monday

Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk both exhausted and filled with candy, principally the Snickers, with the miscellaneous assortment of Skittles, Runts, Jolly Ranchers and Tootsie Rolls filling the smaller spaces in your digestive tract.

Frankly, you are agitated, your mind filled with many questions, for the example:

Query: When did the full-sized candy bar become the mark of civic generosity?

Query: Does your insistence on handing out the “Fun Size” bars of candy mean you are the bad person whose shrubbery and home should be covered in toilet paper?

Query: Were you wrong to scowl ferociously at the three hulking teenagers who came to the door late in the evening dressed as Juggalos? Did you not drop the single fun-sized Baby Ruth into each of their bulging pillowcases, despite the distaste you felt?

Query: How difficult is to get congealed egg yolk off of your automobile?

You know what it is you need now?


Alexander McQueen Open Toed Ankle Boots

Look! Here is the strikingly original Chinese-basket-esqe open-toed platform ankle boots from Alexander McQueen.

Exactly what is needed to erase the bitter taste of post-Halloween shame

Alexander McQueen Sandals on the Sale

Alexander McQueen Sandals on Sale!

Manolo says, here to start your summer’s day with the pleasant surprise is the pair of perfectly summertastic, pink Alexander McQueen sandals, selling for more than 50% off of the regular price, the savings of nearly $370 of the American dollars.

Alexander McQueen on the Sale

Manolo says, the Manolo was doing his usual surfing through the online shoe stores (because that is the way the Manolo doth roll), when he came across these beautiful Alexander McQueen items, all of which are selling at more then the 50% off of the usual price.

Alexander McQueen Flat Sandals on Sale!

These flitilicious little black, flat sandals are selling for more than 55% off of the regular price.

Alexander McQueen High Heeled Sandals on Sale!

For the Manolo these creative high-heeled sandals, which are reduced over $700 from the regular price, are exactly what you might wear to your next semi-fancy evening soiree, where you would undoubtedly be the envy of all.

Alexander McQueen Over the Knee Boot on Sale!

The Manolo does not know if last season’s trend for the over-the-knee, flat piratical boot will continue, or not, however, if you are intent on following that trend (despite perhaps sensible advice to the contrary), these Alexander McQueen flat boots are on the sale for 56% off of the regular price, the savings of over $900 of the American dollars!



Alexander McQueen, Requiescat in Pace

Manolo says, it is always sad when someone dies, and doubly so when someone in the prime of life, full of talent and promise, kills himself. And so it was with great sadness that the Manolo read this morning of the suicide of Alexander McQueen.

Although, not everything he made was to the taste of the Manolo, everything he made was emphatically his own, stamped with his own unique style and standards. And, his shoes were often undeniably beautiful, or striking.

He will be very much missed.

And now the Manolo must ask, why the prominence of the skull motif in his most recent collection?

Alexander McQueen Lazer Cut Skull Motif SandalsAlexander McQueen Skull Thong Sandals

And not just in shoes, but scarves, t-shirts, even the macabrely humorous rings.

Alexander McQueen Skull Ring

The skull motif was among the most popular things Alexander McQueen had ever done, and yet the Manolo wonders, why?

Why did Alexander McQueen produce his own memento mori?

In retrospect, it is now all so sad.

Update: Catie at the Cuffington Blog has something important to say about Alexander McQueen’s suicide.

Alexander McQueen Sandals on The Sale

Alexander McQueen Sandals   Manolo Likes!  Click!

Manolo says, the sparkly, electric blue-ish, turquoise-like, gladiatoresque sandals from Alexander McQueen are exactly what is need to chase away the winter doldrums, an look, they are on the sale over 55% off of their usual price.


Steve Madden May Finally Get His Comeuppance

Manolo says, as the long-time readers of the Manolo know, the Manolo has long deplored Steve Madden’s unethical practice of knocking off the famous shoes of more talented and competent designer.

Previously the Manolo has complained about Steve Madden ripping off the Balenciaga, and, in the especially egregious instance, ripping off the Christian Louboutin and Saks.

It appears that someone has finally decided to take the unoriginal Mr. Madden to court over the matter of the shoe knocking off, and that someone is Alexander McQueen.

The Manolo’s internet friend Susan, of the always interesting Counterfeit Chic blog has the story.

Steve Madden copies creative shoe designers so frequently and so, well, faithfully that it’s often quicker to identify the few changes than to catalog all of the similarities. In this case of the Seryna bootie (below right), only the substitution of a plain zipper pull and a few minor details of construction (quality of materials, sharpness of the foldover points) give away the game.

Alexander McQueen & Steve Madden...Original and Knockoff

The real difference this time around, however, is that the knocked-off designer hasn’t accepted being K.O.’d — and the next round will take place in federal court.

But wait, you say, U.S. law doesn’t protect clothing designs against copying. Hence Steve Madden’s apparent business strategy: copy everything from sole to shoelace, but avoid the legally secured trademark.


For Alexander McQueen, this means noting that Faithful devotees have included Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate Olsen, Rihanna, and the photographers who fall at their feet. Surely, the argument goes, such extensive editorial notice has established a link in the public mind between design and designer sufficient to qualify for trade dress protection. Time — and the Southern District of New York — will tell.

Let us sincerely hope that Alexander McQueen prevails in this case against Steve Madden.

It is not that hard to design the interesting shoe that has been inspired by the more famous model. Indeed, if the recent gladiator sandal mania has taught us anything it is that even the more modest brands can produce worthy shoes using the famous designs as their starting point. This is how the system is supposed to work: the famous designers lead the parade, with the down-market brands providing their takes on these trends, but at the more reasonable prices. It is the perfectly legitimate and ethical practice, one that encourages even the most modest team of designers to use their creative abilities.

Steven Madden’s practice of producing the nearly exact replica (sans the identifying logo) is lazy, unseemly, and unethical, and it must end forthwith.