Dressing Down Those Who Dress Down

Manolo says, the Manolo’s good friend, the Linda Grant, has written the much needed piece in today’s Guardian about the sloppiness of the modern restaurant patron.

Forty or 50 years ago, when a couple went out to dine the men wore suits, ties (preferably regimental) and shined shoes, and the women would be in cocktail dresses, heels and even mink stoles. The dress code of an establishment was directly linked to the numbers of pieces of cutlery at each place setting. Judging by the films of the period, there might also be a small dancefloor, and a band.

There was always the suspicion that restaurants imposed dress codes so that oiks would be prevented from getting any further than the front door. Now you can wear anything you like. You can blame it on the fact that eating out is no longer classified as a special occasion. Or perhaps that the price of meals is so astronomical, in London at least, that diners can no longer afford expensive clothes. Or that the competition between proliferating numbers of restaurants is so intense that owners can’t afford to place restrictions on who can and can’t come in. And for celeb diners, who can always get a table at a full restaurant at 8pm, there are no rules.


This change extends beyond restaurant etiquette – no one goes to the theatre or opera in evening dress any more. The outfits photographed on the red carpet have no occasion except the red carpet. Apart from weddings, when are we allowed to dress up? What are all those clothes doing in the shops, if we have no place any more to wear them because of the relentless dumbing down of dress? It is a depressing experience to sit in a beautiful room eating delicious food and see at the next table a party dressed in beige fleeces and Cornish pasty shoes. Surely going out is all about dressing up, about making an effort, about suiting the clothes to the activity?

This is one of the more lamentable changes of the past three decades, this slow inexorable slide of the general population into sweat pants and crocs.

Yes, right now you are going out to eat at the fancy restaurant in the pressed bluejeans and polo shirt. He doesn't care how he looks, why should those who dine at his restaurants care?

“It is okay,” you say to yourself, “at least I am dressed better than this restaurant’s celebrity owner…” Who has just at that moment come shambling out of the kitchen wearing the scruffy beard, the orange crocs, the scarf made out of sausage, and what appears to be no pants, just the dirty apron.

And so, one more step toward the slippery slope has been taken.

Next thing you know, you have ditched the polo and pressed jeans for the tattered cutoffs and the stupid/ironic-ironic/stupid hipster t-shirt that you pulled from the dirty laundry hamper moments before leaving the house.

So what if you are the 45-year-old senior vice president at the bank, you only live once, eh? No reason to put on the old monkey suit, not when everyone else looks like orangutans.

The Linda Grant is so completely and terribly right, we are losing our occasions to dress up.


The Platforms Are Out

Manolo says, the platforms are out. It must be true, because the USA Today has said so.

It took one swift kick from the new shoe trend — ballet flats — to topple platforms from their perch.

“Quite simply, customers have had enough of high heels,” says Robert Burke, president and founder of luxury consulting firm Robert Burke Associates. “Flats seem young and fresh.”
Dior Platforms, Out, Out, Out!

It certainly helps that they’re easier to wear than the ankle-wrenching wedge, and they can look elegant or coquettish with this year’s empire-waisted dresses, hot pants and capris. And despite a more casual work attitude, flip-flops and sandals flunk many office dress codes, but flats won’t.Dior Platforms, Now Emphatically Out.

“As for the customer older than 40, platforms never really were popular this time around,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group. “But offer women ballet flats, and they’ll take them in a second. Flats are just so comfortable. If I gave you permission to wear slippers to work, you would, wouldn’t you?”

Of the course, this is not news to the readers of the Shoe Blog, as the Manolo was predicting just this eventuality in February of this year.

Although, to judge from the height and the color and the excessive strappiness we have moved from the restrained and classical period of the platforms into the final decadant period before they leave the scene for the few years. You have until perhaps the end of the year to enjoy them.

And thus it came to pass.


The Beautiful Foot

Manolo says, many of the Manolo’s internet friends have been emailing him the link to this story.

It is 8 o’clock on a serene blue morning in Beverly Hills and Dr Ali Sadrieh, a podiatrist, has just performed a 45-minute operation on a client, cutting a section of bone out of her toe to shorten it. She was awake during surgery, watching a film; next week Sadrieh will do the same thing to the second toe on the other foot. There was nothing medically wrong with the toes, but his patient didn’t like the way they protruded over the lip of her high-heeled Manolo Blahniks.

Welcome to the wilder shores of La-La Land, where cosmetic surgery has finally travelled the full length of the female form. […]

Feet are the new frontier: our legs are all waxed and tanned now, but look where they end: in a scrubland of hard heels, yellowing nails, bumps, lumps and toe hair. And everything is on show: the ascendancy of the shoe designer has strapped us into whip-thin sandals and vertiginous heels, at once revealing our imperfections and aggravating them: is that an incipient bunion there? A touch of toe-besity? In America the high priests of podiatry are offering salvation.

Frankly, the Manolo doubts the widespread popularity of this trend, simply because of the appearance of this B-List celebrity foot.

The Gnarly Bunion of Posh Spice

The bunion in these fetish shoes belongs to that dreary spotlight hound, the Posh Spice.

You may be assured that if she–the connoisseur of plastic surgery–has not yet had the feet operated upon it is because she has not yet thought it fashionable.

Of course, this is not to say that one should not worry about the foot beauty, only that there are less drastic measures to beautify the foot, measures which stop short of surgery.


2007, The Year of the Fetish Shoe!


Manolo says, here from the Daily Mail is that saucy trollop the Victoria “Posh” Beckham wearing the ridiculous and dangerous looking spikey shoes.

And thus, with this picture, the Manolo now officially declares 2007,

The Year of the Fetish Shoe.

Forget for now the beautiful, elegant, and stylish shoes, and wear only those shoes which emphatically say to the public “the wearer of these shoes may be hired to satisfy your more outré desires.”

Five and the half inch stiletto heels? The height of fashion!

Weird dominatrix boots? Wear them to the red carpet!

Bizarre and clunky pony-play platforms ? Hottest shoe of the Fall!

It is all too much and too ridiculous, but do not worry, dear friends of the Manolo, this fashion moment shall pass.

The YSL Tribute, Redux

Manolo says, here is yet another article about this year’s Super Duper Hottest-Hippest Shoe!!!!, the Yves Saint Laurent Tribute. (About which the Manolo has already written.)

YOU’LL fall head over heels. Maybe literally.

The must-have shoe for spring is the “Tribute” from Yves Saint Laurent, adorned with a towering 5 1/2-inch heel. Sold out in most New York retailers, it’s one of the tallest high-fashion shoes ever produced – yet celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani can’t wait to walk at elevations usually reserved for Las Vegas dancers and Vivid Video actresses.

And who among us would not wish to look like the porn actress?

Of the course, this has not kept the slavering masses and their enablers in the press from enthusing in the breathless voices.

“You’re not going to feel sexier in another shoe,” says Chris Frey, accessories director at Lucky magazine. “It’s one of those things you wear when you’re jumping into a cab, going to the event, and jumping out of a cab. I have a shelf life of about two hours in a shoe like this.”

Frey says the shoe’s insane sex appeal isn’t just about the height, but also the shape and style. Plus, she thinks there’s something confident, gutsy and cool about a girl who can get that high.

“I think what’s so cool about it is we’ve been seeing platforms for so many seasons and they’re not going away. But YSL sexied it up by adding the stiletto,” she says. “Plus it’s a Mary Jane style that’s so hot this season with an ankle strap that’s not too high on the ankle so it still makes your leg look super-long.”

For Frey, they’re also inspirational.

“It’s a lunge-inducing shoe because you want to wear the shortest skirt possible with them,” she says. “It’s like a gym membership for a year in a shoe, because as soon as you put them on you feel five pounds thinner.”

And fifty IQ points dumber.

It is not the bad shoe in the shorter versions, but this excessively tall one is just silly.

Toaster Helmet Fever!

Manolo says, from the American Digest comes news of the retrospective of one of the hottest fashion trends of the last half of the century…Toaster Helmets!

A magnificent fashion show recreates the colourful history of the toasterhelmet on the catwalk, starting with the early experimental and functional helmets, going through the extravagant models of the 60s and ending with the well known designhelmets of the past decade. As a special feature young and promising designers show their latest creations. Not to be missed for fashionwatchers and others who want to meet the trend for this summer!


More Predictions

Manolo says, many of the Manolo internet friends who made the predictions were late to the Carnivale of the Couture, and so the Manolo he will now provide the links to their websites.

The Kim of the I Am Pretty NYC, she predicts that the Blue is the New Black, but does so in the manner that makes the Manolo both think and laugh.

The Almost Girl she has posted the usual erudite and very well written pensée on the topic of the conspicuous consumption, one which predicts the end of the logo brand.

The Italian blog the Red Apple predicts that this year we will all be following the examples of the Bridget Bardot and the Jackie O, to which the Manolo asks, when have we not?

The topic of the next Carnivale of the Couture it is “Fashion Don’ts that Make You Crazy.” The Manolo he will be collecting the links later this week for the publication of the Carnivale one week from today, Monday the 16th of the January.

Carnivale of Couture #1

Manolo says, here, long overdue, is the first Carnivale of Couture!

The Manolo he wanted to start the first Carnivale and the new year with the interesting and the timely topic, and what could be better then asking the super fantastic, super smartie fashion bloggers for their fashion predictions for 2006.

Manolo loves the shoes, and so what better way to start the first Carnivale of the Couture than with the Shoewawa‘s Spring shoe predictions, which they are the chunky leather, platform moccasins, formal-looking wedges, and white!

At the I Am Fashion, the Herrods Girl and the Barneys Girl they are predicting that this it will be the season of the pretty white blouse and the stockings.

The wonderful Coolchiq says that the slaves to the fashions of the 2006 will be sporting the high waists, the balloon skirts, the calm neutral colors, and vegetable prints!

The Verbal Croquis (who the Manolo has just discovered and added to his blogroll) predicts the return of the purple, the 1940s, and lots of the militaria.

The Pink Mirage, who the Manolo has loved and read from the first day of her blogging, predicts that the animal prints they are out, the white and the cream they are in, and, the best of all, Pirate Galliano!

The Counterfiet Chic, the smart and stylish lawyer who blogs about the fashion and the counterfeiting of the fashion, she says that white/brown/greige is/are the new black/blacks.

The Devilish Heels says that the shoes of the 2006 will be more over the top then ever.

The DoggieWoggie, she gives us the dog fashion trends for the 2006.

The Jewlery Weblog says that it will be the layers, the romance and the beads for the 2006.

At the Persiflage the outlook for the 2006 it is indeed very grim: another year of the Uggs, the velour and the low rises.

For the Bagsnob, the 2006 it means crocodile!

The Shangrilaw predicts, the return of the curvy girly girls, not the skinny flat-as-the-board girls, but the curvy, bouncy, bosomy girly girls, in girly underwear.

And, at the last and appropriately, the Final Fashion has the few words about the end of the Megatrends.

For the future of the Carnivales, the Manolo he will host the next one here at his humble shoe blog, but he would like to have the Carnivale of the Couture rotate through the fashion blogosphere, so that all may share in the duties and the bounty of the traffic. So, if you would like to participate please email the Manolo so that he may put your name on the list to do the hosting.

The topic for the next Carnivale, to appear next Friday, it is: Fashion Don’ts That Make Your Crazy.

Prepare accordingly.

The Carnivale of Couture

Manolo says, now that the Manolo is back at the blogging it is time to (in the words of the Emeril) “kick it up the notch”, and so the Manolo he would like host later this week the first Carnivale of Couture, the collection of the bloggings from the Manolo’s internet friends the fashion bloggers.

And to help his many internet friends to find the topic on which to write, the Manolo he would propose blogging about the topic: Fashion Predictions for 2006

So, if you are the fashion blogger, or the blogger who would like to write about the fashion trends of the new year, blog something good and send the Manolo the link. On the Thursday or Friday of this week, the Manolo he will post the links and we will have the first Carnivale of Courture.


Manolo says, the Manolo’s internet friend the Virginia Postrel, she is also purse blogging today!

Actually, the Virginia she is cool blogging, posting the article in which the she considers what it is that makes something “cool”, and among the things cited as being cool for her is the most attractive purse from the BCBG Max Azria.

Ultimately, however, although the Virginia can point to the items of coolness, she cannot explain exactly what it is that makes them cool.

This it is because the “coolness” is more about the emotional than the intellectual.

In the past the Manolo he has discussed this matter of the super fantastic, which although not the same as coolness is similar enough for the purposes of this discussion. In such discussions, always the Manolo returns to this conclusion.

Sometimes the Manolo he can explain why something, it is super fantastic. Other times, the Manolo can only feel the super fantasticness in the vibrating of his very being.

This it is the recognition that the emotional response to the item under consideration precedes and and sometimes preempts the rational consideration, so that we want something before we know precisely why we want it.

It is the opinion of the Manolo that if we have trained out tastes over time, through exposure to truly wonderful things, we can come to rely upon such emotional responses as being worthwhile of acknowledgement. So that, for the example, the Manolo he does not need to articulate and explain why he loves the particular shoe, because he can feel, and he has learned to trust his tastes in such matters of feeling.

This it is exactly what is happening to the Manolo’s friend the Virginia. She cannot articulate why, but she nonetheless knows.

P.S. You must also buy the Virginia’s book The Substance of Style : How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness. It is one of the Manolo’s favorite books from the past two years, and it would make the fine gift for one who likes to consider the role of style in the modern world.

The Disscussion

Manolo says, the discussion session it did not work exactly as the Manolo had intended, mainly because the technology it hindered the Manolo, rather than helped, as it was not the Manolo’s voice that you heard, but someone who was attempting to read the Manolo’s IM’ed responses to the questions.

However, the Manolo he has the few words of response that he was unable to make known during the session.

First the Manolo he would note that the Kim and the Never teh Bride they were wonderfully well-spoken and informed about the importance of the fashion blogging.

For the Manolo the great trend, as he has noted below, it is the democratization of the fashion, and the great strength of the fashion blogging it is that it is part and parcel of the democratizing trends of the age.

Individuals now have voices that are being heard, and the animus of the Elizabeth Hayt to the blogs perfectly illustrates how this trend it has upset the poobahs and panjandrums, who believe that they alone are entitled to speak to the unwashed masses.

But, sadly for the Elizabeth the Correspondent and those who are like her, the world it is changing under their feet, and the pride they take in their ignorance and lack of curiosity will not change this.

Update: Ayyyyy! The Manolo he neglected to mention that the Kristen, who the Manolo thought was quite funny, was also on the panel. Many apologies.

There is the marvelous picture of the Kim, the Kristen, and the Elizabeth the Correspondent.