Fashion Blogging and the New Media

Manolo says, it is not the secret that the Manolo has recently joined up with the Pajamas Media (who will by the time you are reading this be called the OSM). This it is the new media venture designed to join the bloggers together with the old media peoples under the single roof.

It is also not the secret that the Manolo has been asked to moderate (via the computer from the comfort of the Manolo cave) the discussion session at today’s launch party of this new company. This session it will be entitled “Are Blogs the New Black”, described as “the lighthearted look at the fashion industry’s mingling of pop culture, passion and power.”

This description it is not correct. The fashion industry it has little control, except as subject matter, over the actions of the fashion bloggers.

In the stead, the Manolo would describe this session as “Let The Hundred Flowers Blog: the Democratization of the Fashion and the Fashion Reportage.”

As the long time internet friends of the Manolo know, the Manolo is convinced that one of the great trends of this the new century it will be the democratization of the fashion, just as one of the promises of the blogging revolution it is the democratization of the news and the commentary.

What does the Manolo mean by the democratization of the fashion?

The Manolo believes that as more peoples are becoming better educated, they are demanding the beauty and the good design in their own lives, and that the best fashion will appeal not just to the cognoscenti, but to the wider world.

Thus the search for the suitable, flattering, and appealing individual style, it has become the true quest, the true desire of millions.

There are the dozens of the things both small and great that the Manolo can point to to support his thesis.

For the example, within the last twenty-five years the names of the most famous fashion houses, Prada, Gucci, Chanel, have become the household words, and their fashions have trickled down so that they are coveted by millions, including the American rap stars and the British chavs, alike.

Likewise, the desire for good design and fashion is revealed by the current great success of the department store chain the H & M in selling the designs of the Stella McCartney at the affordable prices, just as last season it had (to the chagrin of the Manolo) the great success in selling the designs of the Lagerfeld.

Or if you wish to see the same principle at the work in the matter of the housewares look at this, The George Foreman/Michael Graves Grilling Machine.

We now wish our clothes, our things, even our grilling machines to be stylish in the way that we hope reflects our indivuality.

At the same of the time, the medias they have become more democratic, and the new media tools, especially the blog, they have given ordinary peoples– shoe lovers, teenaged girls, dandies, stylish college professors, and anyone who has the computer– the tools to talk about the style and the fashion to the wider audience, to become the fashion and style critics.

Many of these new critics are not only passionate about the fashion, but they are also wonderfully knowledgeable and entertaining writers. And, as the consequence, they are gaining the audience for their writings on the internet, joining their voices to the voices of those who have been annointed fashion critics by the newspapers and the fashion magazines.

Once, we had to wait for the Vogue, or the New York Times to read what the high and the mighty thought about the latest runway show. Now, on the day of the show, we can turn to the La Coquette in the Paris, or the Spirit Fingers in the Hong Kong, or the Cool Chiq in the Scandinavia, or the I Am Fashion girls in the New York and the London for the informed and entertaining commentary.

This it is nothing short of miraculous, and it is why the Manolo is excited about the future, about the possibilities of discovering the new talent, the new views, the new ways of looking at fashion and style. It is also why the Manolo he is the greatest supporter of the fashion blogging, because he belives that this process of democratization it cannot but result in good things.

The Age of the Super Fantastic it approaches!


Cartoon Raccoons

Manolo says, the Chelsea Clinton, she has gone all Rachel Zoe!

Backed into the corner, the sisters Olsen respond with …Super Mecha Rachel Zoe!

Manolo says, the Rachel Zoe look, it is now officially over.

The Animal Within

Manolo says, Ayyyyy! The animal prints they are everywhere this season!

Dolce & Gabbana Shoes Fall - Winter 2005/06   Manolo Likes!   Click!

First the spectacular one from the Dolce and the Gabbana.

Kenneth Cole  Soft Serve   Manolo Likes!  Click!

Then the semi-practical one with the round toe, from the Kenneth Cole.

Donald Pliner Veras   Manolo Likes!  Click!

Finally, if you are going to wear the animal prints, do not be shy. The super fantastic girl who would wear these boots from the Donald Pliner she is indeed the creature of dangerousness.

Fashion Week: Bland is the New Black

Manolo says, it is the fahion week in the big city, and the Manolo he is the very busy man. However, many of the Manolo’s internet friends they have been doing the exemplary coverage of the shows and the clothes.

The Barney’s Girl and the Herrod’s Girl they have been analyzing several of the shows, including that of the Marc Jacobs.

Lera the Fashion Addict notes that the trends for the spring they are the beige, the empire waists, and the short shorts.

The Bunnyshop she is bored with this season. (And here the Manolo he must partly agree. Beige?)

The Fashionologie she also says that bland is the word. Although, like the Manolo, she gives the qualified props to the Project Alabama, but not to the Marc Jacobs soundtrack.

The Brittney Ancell, until she saw the spring-colored show of the Temperly she was “worried that everyone was going to be walking around in ill-fitted, neutral-hued clothing next year.”

The Girls at the Papier, they expend much energy getting into the shows, so as to be amazed by the Diane von Furstenberg.

And, finally, you must vist the Fashion Tribe, as they are podcasting the fashion shows! Even the better, if you listen to the podcasts you will see why they make the Manolo laugh with their sassy-bad-selves. Listen to them talking about the Zac Posen, and you will be swept up by their jejune enthusiasms for the fashion. They are indeed most amusing and most charming, even if the clothes this season are not.

UPDATE: The Final Fashion has many pictures of the shows, and she agrees with the Manolo that the Alexandre Herchcovitch collection is this seasons worst.

The Fashion Blogs

Manolo says, Ayyyyyy, the Times of the New York they have done the article on the fashion blogs! And there is the picture of the Manolo’s internet friend the Barneys Girl, and she is indeed most beautiful and super fantastic.

With names like Fashionologie, Kiss Me, Stace, Shoewawa and Now Smell This, the more popular fashion blogs are compelling enough that “to ignore them is to run the risk of seeming out of touch,” said Brandon Holley, the new editor in chief of Jane, the young women’s style magazine. Readers identify with bloggers’ idiosyncratic, rebellious voices, said Ms. Holley, who has added two online diarists to her stable of contributors. The blogs, which are updated weekly, daily and sometimes hourly, are a platform uniquely well suited to fashion news, she added.

“Fashion moves so fast, ” Ms. Holley said, “that readers find the blogs keep up better than even the tabloids like Us Weekly.”

Writing with a candor not often glimpsed in the pages of that celebrity weekly, or in W, InStyle or Harpers Bazaar, bloggers form an opinionated, informed and spirited community. They may be a long way from displacing Vogue as a fashion authority, but they are steadily gaining clout with consumers and marketers.

“In coming months we can expect that fashion blogs are probably going to have the same kind of influence that we see in widely read blogs about gadgets and high tech toys like BoingBoing,” said Bob Wyman, the chief technology officer and a founder of PubSub, a search engine that offers a weekly rating of a blog’s popularity based in part on the number of links that appear in the content and also the number of postings.

This it is exactly what the Manolo said many months ago in this very blog.

The Manolo he is confident in predicting that the fashion blogging, it is only in its infancy, and that it will grow in the importance over the coming two or three years. Indeed, look for more of the fashion industry insiders to begin their own blogs.

Of the course, this it was not the especially prescient prediction, but the Manolo he takes the pride in it nonetheless, and he notes that indeed the fashion insiders, like the Beverly Feldman, they now have their own blogs.

This article by the Ruth La Ferla, it is quite good, but, sadly, for some reason, the Manolo he was not mentioned. Happily, many of his internet friends they were!


The Boots of the Cowboys

Manolo says, here is the article from Times of the New York about the increasing popularity of the boots of the Cowboys.

Western boots worn out of season represent “a really strong trend, one that still is gaining momentum,” said Michael Atmore, the editorial director of Footwear News, a trade weekly. And to judge by the number of boot makers who have added Western models to their lineups, Mr. Atmore said, “a lot of companies are banking on the look for spring, summer and fall.”

It is something of a paradox that the Western boot, a classic emblem of Americana, derived much of its latest currency from the streets of London, where style-setting neo-bohemians like Kate Moss and Sienna Miller were snapped earlier this year wearing boots with flounced tunics or peasant skirts. Stateside, early adopters, flaunting boots as counterweight to the summer’s wispy skirts, led to a spike in sales.

The clamor for summer boots prompted the Frye Company to raid its archives and reissue discontinued looks like the Daisy Duke, its onetime signature Western style. The company, which is privately owned, does not release sales figures but forecast that its boot business would more than double this year. Jim McCormick, the president of the company, said that a substantial portion of that growth “is reliant on brisk sales of boots in the traditionally slow months from February through August.”

As often as not, the most prized boots are vintage models.

Of the course, this it is not the news to the Manolo. He has long said that every super fantastic girl needs the pair of the boots of the cowboy, and he has always recommended the most traditional of these boots, something like these handsome boots of the Lucchese below, because these traditional boots have always, and will always, weather the fickle winds of fashion.

Lucchese - N4540 (Tan Mad Dog Goat) - Women's  Manolo Likes!  Click!

Lucchese - G9706 (Chocolate Cashmere Suede) - Women's

These boots they will be worn for many years to come.

The Shoes Without the Socks

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s many internet friends has sent the Manolo the link to the ridiculous article about the men who wear the dress shoes without the socks.

IT seems almost obscene, given the expanses of midriff, thigh and backside that too many people are all too willing to bare today, that the decision to show a little ankle with dress shoes should raise eyebrows. But almost obscene is just how it seems to many.

“It’s the new male cleavage,” said Thom Browne, the men’s wear designer and a professed ankle exhibitionist. “You can’t believe the snickers and comments I get because I’m not wearing socks. It sends people into a tailspin.”

Mr. Browne is an extremist, given that he wears traditional suit pants, cut short, and pairs them with English wingtips. You don’t expect to see a swath of naked skin separating the two. Nonetheless, many men are uneasy showing ankle, fearing perhaps that it smacks of the garish machismo of “Miami Vice.” You can debate whether dress shoes without socks looks cool, but there is no question that your feet feel that way.

“It’s nice to feel like you’re not wearing anything,” said Daniel Chu, a Manhattan advertising executive, who, come warm weather, deep-sixes the dress socks even with his Crockett & Jones lace-up, cap-toe oxfords. “It’s more of a comfort thing than a fashion statement.” He added, however, that he likes pairing the modern athleticism of bare feet with the Old World elegance of dress shoes, a clash concocted by those 1950’s rebels who paired white athletic socks with loafers. “That’s what makes people stare,” he said. “They’re totally unfamiliar with the look, which is the beauty of it.”

Oooooh, you are the rebel! Look at the rebel who does not believe in the socks for the expensive shoes!

Such the rebel who eschews the commonsense traditions of the untutored masses! All hail the rebellious non-sock wearing men, who challange the very foundations of our hide-bound society.

Manolo says, Pah!

Miuccia Speaks of the Clothes

Our Muse!

Manolo says, the Miuccia she has unveiled her spring/summer men’s collection for the 2006, and the beautiful Samurai Suzy she has passed the judgement…it is the triumph!

In her fresh, clean-cut show and in her wise words, Miuccia Prada put into perspective the malaise pervading high fashion menswear, which other Italian designers have tried to face off with vivid color and graphic pattern for summer 2006.

“Fashion should become more egalitarian. I am not interested in dealing with a few sophisticated people,” Prada said. “Crisscrossing everything is the main issue: the need to face the huge world and to appeal to new countries and new customers.”

So for Prada, Monday’s show was a stark return to basics: to the skinny silhouette, to fabrics treated with techno shine, to nylon work-wear, to hosiery-fine sweaters and to symbols to identify the label. And being Prada, with her penchant for a communist/populist aesthetic, that meant stars (but not necessarily red) printed on shirts, neckties or decorating the new must-have nylon backpack – along with hearts to put soul into a sober collection.

The result was a show of those perfectly judged and wearable clothes on which Prada built its empire. But the reprise did not include her much-copied brief coat, short boxy suits or sour colors. In fact, Prince of Wales tailoring was classic, and there was a wry sweetness to an aqua blue suit, to a dusty pink shirt or a moss green sweater. Pants with softening pleats offered a new cut.

Why is Prada so often ahead of the pack? Because she has an ability to invent new menswear classics as if they had always existed. After a few seasons of kooky effects, any piece of this show – and that includes the head-wrap hats – could have walked right out on silvered sneakers or smart leather shoes onto the Milan streets. It was fashion for the real world and for its future.

For the Manolo there is much that must be discussed from this show and from this article. First, we must address the wise words of the Miuccia herself.

“Fashion should become more egalitarian. I am not interested in dealing with a few sophisticated people,” Prada said. “Crisscrossing everything is the main issue: the need to face the huge world and to appeal to new countries and new customers.”

Manolo says, the regular readers of the Manolo know that this, this egalitarian approach to the fashion, it is the bedrock philosophy of the Manolo. Being super fantastic, it is something we should all strive to achieve, and the beautiful clothes and the beautiful shoes they should be for everyone who wishes to do so.

Yes, not every piece of every collection is able to be worn by every person, but the designers who are important they are making clothes that are wearable by the real peoples, not the clothes that are simply the ridiculous runway statements.

The democratization of fashion and beauty, it is one of the trends that is, in the humble opinion of the Manolo, changing the world. As more people they become better educated, they are demanding the beauty and the good design in their own lives. (This it is the special topic of the Manolo’s internet friend the Virginia Postrel.)

What the Miuccia and the Suzy Menkes recognize is that the best fashion it will appeal not just to the cognscenti, but to the wider world. This, what we are speaking of, it is not the mass clothing of the Wal-Mart (although to some of the extent it eventually trickles down to the Wal-Mart) but it is instead the idea that the new tools of the medias, they have enabled ordinary peoples living in the ordinary places to become carefully attuned to fashion and beauty, to the point where they wish to have these things in their own lives. And the search for the suitable, flattering, and appealing individual style, it has become the true quest, the true desire of millions.

This, it is why the Suzy Menkes she ends her discussion of the show of the Prada with the words, “It was fashion for the real world and for its future.” The future, which has already arrived, it is the democratization of fashion, and the desires, which will be satisfied, of individuals everywhere to wear beautiful clothes.

P.S. The Manolo he has the few picture from the show and comments about them over at his Prada blog.


The Mohawk

Steve Madden - Mohawk (Black Suede) - Women's

Manolo says, as hard as it may be to be believed, sometimes the Manolo he misses the development of the fashion trend. Such it was the case with the Steve Madden Mohawk in the black suede, which the cool New York City school girls they are wearing this summer with their little skirts and t-shirts.

Sad to say, this it had escaped the notice of the Manolo until one of his many friends had pointed it out to him. The Manolo, he was indeed most chagrined to be out “shoed” in such the manner.

However, the dignity it was somewhat recovered when the Manolo told his friend that the rhinestone buckles on the vamp, they are what makes this shoe of the moment.


Less Skin

Manolo says, look at this story!

Hip-hugging jeans and tight-fitting tiny tops are out. Less skin is back in for the young American.

U.S. fashion experts say a trend toward modesty is evident in new fall styles for clothing aimed at girls in their early teens, and will become more common with spring 2006 designs.

“We’re seeing skirt hemlines that are at the knee and are very demure, very proper pants, prim tops and large pearl necklaces,” said Gloria Baume, fashion market director for Teen Vogue. The magazine showcases fashion and photography much like its parent publication Vogue.

Baume, who said she looks to European fashion runways to spot what will be hot for American teens, said designers have been focusing on “ladylike and almost old-fashioned” styles that were inspired by the 1950s.

That would phase out the belly-baring, skintight numbers championed by the likes of Britney Spears. “There is nothing form-fitting about the latest fashions,” Baume said.

Does that mean the low-rise jean fad is over?

“I hope so,” said Baume. “I don’t like them. That style has been around for four years and I think girls are getting tired of it.”

CosmoGIRL! magazine fashion editor, Tara McBratney, agrees there is a new trend toward modesty in fashion, but she says it has little to do with pressure from conservative elements in society.

“Fashion is a cycle,” McBratney explained. “We got to the point where the jeans were as low as they could go, shirts were as cropped as they could go, baby tees were as tight as they could go, so the natural progression is for fashion to go the other way.”

This woman, the Tara McBratney, she is wrong. Yes, to some of the extent, the fashion it is the cycle, with the hemlines going up and down in the somewhat predictable manner. However, the Manolo he believes that this it is indeed the beginning of the partial return to the standards of the dignity and the comportment that once ruled.

Do not forget that our muse the Miuccia Prada, she has been talking about this very issue. For the example, here in this recent interview in the GQ.

With women, the more unhappy they are, the more undressed they are. This is true. Dignity’s another very important part of this. Sex and the City is the opposite of dignity. You have to have dignity for your body–this is with men and women. You need to have dignity towards how you are, how you dress, how you behave.

This it is so perfectly true, and so perfectly self-evident that the Manolo he cannot understand why it took so long for so many persons to realize it.

The CoolChiq

Manolo says, the Manolo he must send you to the site of his internet friend the CoolChiq who as always has much intelligent discussion of the fashion, including the lengthy reporting on the Melbourne’s Fashion Week.

She also has this notice of the museum showing of Marika Harvey’s shoe collection in the Canberra, for the Australian friends to visit.

This it is the sort of smart and funny fashion blogging that the Manolo adores.


Cathy Horyn and The Fashion Bloggers

Manolo says, there is the very astute article written by the fashion reporter the Cathy Horyn in the Times of the New York about the six young influential Paris-based designers.

The article it is very much worth the reading in the entirity, however for the Manolo these paragraphs they leaped out at him.

You don’t have to be a fan of the reality show “Project Runway” to appreciate that fashion has become more and more populist. This is the age, after all, of the adolescent designer, the celebrity designer, the hip-hop designer, and the claimants have been as varied as Sean Combs and Esteban Cortazar, who was 18 when he held his first show.

And though fashion, like politics, is still an insider’s game, with its own addicts and agenda-setting editors, nothing, it seems, can compete with the authentic judgment of bloggers and Web viewers.

This it is to the knowledge of the Manolo the first time that any person in the Media of the Mainstream has acknowledged the role that the bloggers have begun to play in the setting of the fashion agenda.

The Manolo he is confident in predicting that the fashion blogging, it is only in its infancy, and that it will grow in the importance over the coming two or three years. Indeed, look for more of the fashion industry insiders to begin their own blogs.

In the meantime, the Manolo he points you to the links on the right side of this page where you may find links to many of the Manolo’s favorite fashion bloggers. If you know of any others that are worthy of the inclusion in this list please let the Manolo know.