SEP
2010
28

What is the Point of Being the Billionaire

Manolo says, yes, he was willing to spend the 100 millions dollars to get the job that pays $1 per year, but buy the new pair of shoes? That, apparently, is the extravagance too many for the Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

The two pairs of classic black loafers — one tasseled, the other penny loafers — predate his tenure as mayor and both are so well worn, with labels so long gone, that even Hizzoner himself can’t remember what brand they are.

“He could buy any shoes he wanted, but he likes these,” Loeser said. “They are comfortable, and they work, so he says there’s no need for a new pair.”

The mayor wears a 9EE, said exclusive shoe outfitter Allen Edmonds, which has sold Bloomberg several other pairs.

At least one of the pairs is likely a Cole Haan, shoe experts said.

The penny loafer looks like the “Dennehy,” an “old-school Italian leather [model] we specialized in for decades but discontinued” this year, said a longtime Cole Haan salesman at the chain’s Rockefeller Center branch. The shoe retails for $328.

Casual Friday at City Hall

Mike Bloomberg, Billionaire Man of the People, is pleased to see that the senior early bird special at Perkins this afternoon is all you can eat tilapia.

P.S. The tip of the hat to the Manolo’s friend, The Enabler

Interview With the Curator

Manolo says, the Manolo’s friends at the Collector’s Weekly (which earlier this year published the remarkable interview with the shoe collector John Walford) have returned with the excellent interview with Elizabeth Semmelhack, one of the curators at the magnificent Bata Shoe Museum and author of the book Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe.

There is much in this interview to both ponder and enjoy, but below are two intriguing excerpts.

Collectors Weekly: How did a pair of Manolos or Louboutins become star accessories?

Semmelhack: I don’t think that it was the designers themselves who did it as much as the culture. Clearly their shoes are lovely, but over the course of the 20th century, you have a great loss of accessories in women’s wear. I like to use the hat as an example of that. If you think about watching “I Love Lucy” on TV, so often she’s walking by a hat shop and she stops to purchase a hat. Now she’s got to hide it from Ricky because God forbid he sees it. It’s the hat that she must have, the hat, the hat, the hat. Along the same lines, we had white gloves and we had pearls and we had other similar ways of expressing status.

With the loss of iconic accessories like those, shoes carry a greater burden of meaning. We now require shoes to really, as someone said, punctuate our fashionable outfit or unfashionable outfit, whatever we’re doing. They are increasingly a way of turning a generic outfit around, and I think that’s one of the reasons why shoes have become such a focal point of culture. We can read a lot into them.

But today, where fashion has been so democratized, you can have two women of wildly different socioeconomic standings or wildly different social constructs of themselves going into the same, say, Gap store and buying the exact same pair of jeans. One might wear her jeans with a pair of Manolo Blahniks, making one statement, while the other woman puts on a pair of Keds to go watch her kids play soccer, and she makes a different statement.

The loss of the hat as the fashion accessory elevates the shoes to the place of prominence? The theory is so simple and elegant, it cannot but be true.

Here is the second excerpt, this time on the topic of clothing for the men.
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JUN
2010
11

Manolo the Columnist: Timberland Heritage Driver

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

Dear Manolo,

I want to buy my boyfriend a new pair of casual shoes, something to replace his aging and very smelly sport sandals. Please help.

Jennifer

Manolo says, it is the well-known fact that men, like the small children and the bears, are the conservative creatures of habit, largely unbothered by rude odors, and most comfortable in familiar but squalid surroundings.

Thus, just as it is difficult to remove the bear from his den, and the child from his toy, so too will it be difficult to convince your man to give up his stinking sport mandals, and accept the novel pair of shoes.

“Why should I buy new shoes,” he will say to you as he applies the duct tape to the sole, “these ones still have a few miles left on them.”

Later, he will pretend you are crazy when you ask him to put these monstrosities outside, away from the inhabited spaces.

“These shoes don’t stink that bad,” he will say, as the plants on the balcony drop their leaves and turn the strange yellowish color.

But, do not worry, your man is not the totally insensitive lout, indeed, he is the otherwise wonderful person with many good qualities, which just do not happen to include the good fashion sense or the working olfactory receptors. If you give him the attractive pair of shoes, such as these Timberland driving moccasins, the Heritage Driver, he will not only wear them, but be very grateful indeed.

Timberland Heritage Drivers

MAY
2010
26

Men’s Heels: Elevator Shoes For The Modern Age

Manolo says, from the Times of London

Something is afoot in men’s fashion. So steady yourselves, because high heels for the heftier sex are making a comeback.Darling, you look mahvalous.

Diminutive shoe aficionados including Karl Lagerfeld, Prince, Richard Hammond and Nicolas Sarkozy have long championed the discreet(ish) Cuban heel. Now, though, height-enhancing footwear has begun to permeate across a broader demographic. For the first time since Glam Rock peaked three decades ago, men of average height are discovering the delights of a few extra inches. Well-heeled shoes of all types, from craftily sized “status” shoes to 21st century platforms, are enjoying a new vogue.

[…]
Some male style mavens, however, do even go so far as to wear extremely feminine styles out and about. The street fashion photo blog of Peter Stigter shows one example of a young man outside the New York fashion week venue wearing strappy, open-toed stilettos — teamed with a fringed handbag. These camp, provocatively gender-skewing style statements are not the only way in which the man-heel is flourishing. A mariachi-meets-Keith Richards shoe shape — a pointed shoe or boot teamed with a silhouette-boosting heel — is proving popular among a more overtly masculine crowd. Dior Homme’s collection features a cool pointed suede ankle boot that gives about two inches of extra lift.

This is nothing new. The Manolo reported and commented upon the “Sarkozy Effect” more than two years ago!

Here is the Dior Homme 6.5 Boot…

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Manolo the Columnist: The Rex from Donald J. Pliner

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

Dear Manolo,

I’m taking my wife to New York for a romantic weekend. However, I’m have a devil of a time finding a pair of hip, downtown shoes in my size, which is sixteen. Please help.

John

Manolo says, at the least, the Manolo’s friend can take comfort that the size sixteen, while enormous, is not the biggest feets of which the Manolo has ever heard. Indeed, the Manolo had the acquaintance many years ago, who wore the size eighteen (which he covered most frequently in the red Converse All-Stars). And even this freakishly large size is still well below the extra freakishly large Shaquille O’Neal size twenty-threes.

It is the opinion of the Manolo that men with such majestic feet deserve nothing less than the finest custom made English shoes, although such luxurious feetwear are generally beyond the means of the average person.

In America, many big-feeted men and professional athletes (including Shaquille O’Neal) shop at the venerable Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta which has specialized in extra big shoes since 1929. (If you cannot go to Atlanta you may visit their website at www.largefeet.com)

Likewise, there are other on-line shoe stores which carry the big sizes, including the always reliable Zappos.

Speaking of majestic shoes, here is the Rex from Donald Pliner. Wear them with blue-jeans and you will be the hippest big-footed man in all of the TribeSoNoLitaHo.

Rex Mens Shoes from Donald J. Pliner

DEC
2009
11

Manolo the Columnist: The Blundstone

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

Dear Manolo,

My dear husband fancies himself an outdoorsman, and although he did plenty of hiking and hunting when he was younger, these days he mostly confines his outdoor activities to raking the leaves and long walks in the park. What can you recommend as a Christmas gift that will flatter his self-image without seeming ridiculously woodsy?

Claire

Manolo says, it is true, that in his youth, your man occasionally marched into the great American wilderness with nothing more than the pocket canopener and the bag of pork rinds, emerging one week later covered with large patches of poison ivy, mutant mosquito bites, and enough outdoorsy credibility to last many month, before the whole odious process had to be repeated.

However, once most men enter the age of the middle, such arduous expeditions no longer seem perhaps so pleasant or useful, especially, if like the Manolo, one gets winded walking to the corner for the demitasse of cappuccino. And thus sedentary activities replace the more uncertain pleasures of rough camping in primitive natural settings.

Still, one needs to look sufficiently rugged and manly, without falling over the line into lumberjackery. This is why the Manolo loves Australia’s favorite outdoor boot, the Blundstone. And what could possibly be more manly and rugged than Australian outback boots?

The Blundstone Boot!   Manolo Likes!  Click!

DEC
2008
19

Manolo the Columnist: Braga from Ben Sherman

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


Dear Manolo,

Not only is it the most wonderful time of the year, but I’m also in love with a great guy. He’s a bit of a downtown hipster, even though he’s not obnoxious about it. Anyway, I want to get him some cool gifts for Xmas, and I thought some shoes would be good. Any suggestions?

Darcy

Manolo says, Ayyy. It is difficult to be the Downtown Hipster during the Christmas season.

On the one of the hands, like the rest of us, the tiny child inside of the hipster wishes to celebrate the season with all of the robust jollity it deserves. And yet, on the other of the hands, to do so sincerely is to betray the carefully studied pose of ironic detachment which distinguishes the hipster from his fellow man.

The Manolo says, give it up, Mr. Hipster. Christmas is not about the conspicuous display of urban coolness.

It is the time to open one’s heart to the innocent wonder of Santy Claus, up on the roof-top with the tiny clattering hooves and the Ho-Ho-Ho’ing. It is the time of happiness and honest affection for one’s fellow humans, even those who live in the suburbs and who have not heard of your latest favorite obscure band.

Look! Here is the Braga from Ben Sherman, the brown ankle boot with enough cool to satisfy any Brooklyn-based poseur.

Braga Boot from Ben Sherman

APR
2008
09

The Sarkozy Effect

Manolo says, the recent appearance in England of the tiny little president of France, M. Sarkozy, has started the mania for the high heels shoes for the mens.

The male heel has risen to the top of the footwear charts. And all because of ‘The Sarkozy Effect’. In the wake of the State visit by the vertically-challenged, 5ft 5in French President – whose towering, 5ft 9in, ex-model wife, Carla Bruni, wears flatties to try and minimise the height discrepancy – some British males are turning to heels to avoid similar embarrassment when out with their partners.Stacked Heels for Men? No!

The department store chain Selfridges has noted a surge in sales of men’s shoes with ‘stack’ heels of up to 5 cm or two inches. The store’s head of menswear, David Walker-Smith said, in the past, Cuban heels or cowboy boots were favoured as casual wear with jeans.

‘‘Now the pinstriped businessman wants to up his game by adding to his height.” Shoe brands such as Jeffrey West and Patrick Cox now provide heels of up to 5cm instead of the customary one and a half cm.

Trust the Manolo, the mythical man of business who wishes to “up his game” by wearing the stacked heel shoes, will indeed not only look taller, but also ridiculous. Few things indicate male insecurity as forcefully and as humorously as tacky elevator shoes. One might as well resort to the Ron Popeil hair-in-the-can as the cure for baldness as stacked heels as the cure for shortness.

Worst of all, the head of state who wears the platform shoes risks unflattering comparison to this shorty tyrant.

How Many Shoes Do You Need?

Manolo says, two of the Manolo’s internet friends Thom Wong and Linda Grant are both having the separate discussions about the requisite number of shoes that each person should own.

The brilliant and witty Linda Grant gives the almost definitive answer to the question, How many shoes for the woman?

The Manolo says “almost” because she has neglected the important categories of “beautiful shoes you have briefly glimpsed on other peoples feets, but cannot find in the stores,” and “beautiful shoes you have dreamed about, but cannot find in the waking world.” The Manolo includes these unusual categories because, for the Manolo, such shoes occupy much more space in his psychic closet than do shoes the Manolo actually owns. Thus, he considers them necessary.

Although, on closer reflection, perhaps, this sort of thing is peculiar to the Manolo.

In any event, you must go read the Linda’s entire list, as it is both amusing and totally correct.

Not coincidentally, the second conversation, being led by the Manolo’s internet friend Thom Wong, is about the minimum number of shoes required by the man. It is the firm rebutting of the ridiculous notion that the average man should own no more than three pairs of the shoes. (And here the Manolo openly scoffs at such sad and artificial limitations.)Salvatore Ferragamo Cap-Toe Oxford.

In this age of doing more with less, global energy crises, and the Ugg viral outbreak, it is the perfect time to contemplate how many shoes a man should own. The Thoughtful Dresser states a rule, unfamiliar to this writer, that a man tends to believe he doesn’t need more than three. The esteemed Manolo places that number closer to ten. The simple answer is – as many as he wears.

Most men treat footwear as an afterthought, which naturally risks derailing even the most carefully considered outfit. Before even thinking about tie and shirt combinations a man should take stock of what is going on his feet.

The Truth!

In regards to the Manolo’s declaration of ten as the magic number, the Manolo would simply note that this is the absolute minimum below which the well-dressed man dare not venture. Naturally, the Manolo would counsel that one acquire as many beautiful shoes as one’s budget and taste allow.

Perhaps tomorrow, or the next day, the Manolo will give you his practical list of the ten necessary shoes for the man.

The Real Manolo Blahnik Shoes For Men

Manolo says, so, like the Shoeblogger you are dissatisfied with the Maestro Manolo Blahnik’s collection for men.

Do not despair! There is the other option!

It is the little known fact, outside of the equestrian circles, that the Maestro Manolo Blahnik has designed the very handsome collection of paddock boots, available in both mens and womens sizes, boots which any man would be most proud to wear!

Look, here is the Dory, one of the most attractive paddock boots the Manolo the Shoeblogger has ever seen.

The Dory by Manolo Blahnik

And here is the Lera.

The Lera by Manolo BlahnikThe Lera by Manolo Blahnik

This is what the Manolo the Shoeblogger had hoped for when he first heard that the Maestro was designing the shoes for the men, not what recently appeared.

These boots are sold exclusively through the website Equestrian Chic, and they are not unreasonably priced for what they are, which is beautiful Manolo Blahnik boots for men.

Ron Paul’s Disgraceful Shoes, Redux

Manolo says, the matter of the disgraceful shoes of Ron Paul lives on, as the Ron Paul supporters have whipped themselves into the heady froth trying to defend the indefensible.

Ah, but there is push-back from the enlightened. Look, here is the D.C. Pleats telling us why Ron Paul should purchase better shoes.

Ron Paul's Horrible Shoes
There are a lot of Congressmen, businessmen, lawyers, doctors etc. who are 71 years old – and older – who dress professionally every day. I have searched a bit and not found any articles or anything else that would lead me to believe Paul has any sort of health problem in which he would need the extra comfort shoes. I did find out that he wears these sneakers everyday, which is even worse than I thought, just wearing them to a CEAFU reception. But even if he does have a medical situation in which he needs the extra support, there are plenty of manufacturers out there that make classy, well-polished and – dare I say it – comfortable shoes for men in all price ranges.

Here’s my problem, which I really feel Paul doesn’t understand: There is just a certain level of dress and professionalism associated with being in the political-public eye. And this is a completely unpartisan comment – I had issue with President Bush’s terrible outfit when he wore his Crocs and am constantly baffled by Hillary’s wardrobe – but when you are the leader of the free world, or running for that office, you need to present yourself as such. Everyone is looking to you to set the example; you are quite literally the icon of America. Now I know Bush has made quite a few political fumbles in the past six plus years, but in general, he’s dressed well while making them. He had to, he was on camera, and if Ron Paul chooses to put himself in that limelight he better act and dress the part.

And this is exactly what the Manolo (and any sensible person) would say about the clothing and the fashion.

In the fact, the Manolo has referred to this in the past as the Paradox of Not Caring

[C]laiming to not care about the clothes, to not be concerned about what one wears, is the paradox, for the clothes worn by one who claims not to care make as much the statement as those worn by one who dresses with purpose.

These inescapable facts obtain: that clothes are always necessary, and that others they will always judge us by them. These are the reasons why the Manolo he would have you dress with the purpose, to consider carefully what you would wear, and to think about the effect your clothes, and how you wear, them will have on others.

Of the course, this does not mean that you must dress to please others, nor that you should follow the lowing herd, but rather that you should be conscious of the image you are projecting.

For the example, if you wish to project the image of carefree disdain for the high fashion, be aware that your dirty t-shirt of the Oakland Raiders, torn sweat pants, and flip-flops may not be conveying that exact message, may in the stead be saying to the by passer, “Cross to the other side of the street, lest this person’s disdain for personal hygiene and grooming infect you with the parasites.”

Manolo says, the fashion, it is not the nuclear rocket brain surgery.

Ron Paul’s cheap shoes and his sloppy clothes say that he is not the serious person, that he does not care that the image he projects is of the small town, small time appliance salesman. Yes, this look is perhaps what endears him to his arm-waving and humorless supporters, but it inspires no confidence in the saner and more adult members of society.

Finally, as the example of how the change of clothes can completely alter how one regards the person, the Manolo gives you PopoZão.

P.S. From the Manolo’s internet friend Miss Janey comes this response, Honestly, when did it become desirable to look undesirable?

JUN
2007
30

The Ron Paul and His Disgraceful Shoes

Manolo says, the Manolo’s internet friend Darren sends these pictures of the presidential candidate Ron Paul, and asks the question, “What would the Manolo say?

The Manolo would say, “Ayyyyyyyy!”

He would also hope that the Croc in Chief would be replaced by something better than the Wal-Mart trousers and the ratty Reeboks.