Are Manolos making a comeback? // Or is it just a load of cobblers…

Manolos are GO.
And we’re not just talking about the whole ‘Drug Mule’ scandal reported last week where smugglers were caught moulding cocaine into shape of Manolo Blahnik shoes, oh no.
If we did some kind of ‘hot Vs not’ fashion-o-meter type thingy here on LB and took a reading right about now, it’d most likely say:

Louboutins = OUT

Manolos = IN

Manolo-Blahnik-AW11It seems Manolo Blahnik is having a bit of a moment. Again.
Once popularised by being Carrie’s kicks of choice in SATC – a time when 37% of American women would bungee-jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in exchange for a lifetime supply of Manolos – they’ve more recently been unceremoniously walked all over by the famous red soles of Christian Louboutin’s gravity defying designs.

After several years of towering platforms dominating the fashion landscape (during which time Manolo never caved in to popular demand to create super elevated styles himself), Mr Blahnik’s signature thin soled, pointy toed spindle-heeled pumps are suddenly (refreshingly) de rigeur once more.

George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA, reckons:

It was a chic idea for a minute. You wore a red sole, and everyone knew you spent $1,200 or $1,400 for your shoes. And I would say there was a period when certain customers abandoned us and moved into that world.

And Blahnik himself further sticks the knife in:

The gimmicky thing I’m not very keen on. I’ve never been tempted to do these hideous furniture shoes.

I think there’s several reasons for the Manolo moment:

Shoenomics AKA Manolo mathematics

Manolo Blahnik tabile suede pumpFlashing red soles when the majority of peeps are just in the red seems a bit vulgar in times of economical strife. It suddenly feels slightly crude to so obviously strut around in shoes that have blatantly cost you the best part of the average person’s monthly take home.

Posh New York stores like Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman can prove this theory and have reported a rush on Manolos – there’s even l-o-n-g waiting lists for certain styles.

Apparently Manolos are also exceptionally comfortable – well, as comfy as a pointy pair of kitten heeled pumps can get.
What’s the point on spending loads of moolah on shoes that cripple you, or make you spend the same amount again on cab fares to cart you from A to B?
I can certainly vouch for that: the single pair of Louboutins I own mostly get wheeled out at weddings and are so fucking painful that my tears during the ceremony are not because I’m overwhelmed with emotion.

This isn’t to say Manolos come cheap – they’re around £500+ a pair – but it’s a case of investing your money more wisely.
Maximising bang for buck, so to speak.
The price tag on a pair of Louboutins with their thick platform soles, studding, spikes, straps and scarlet soles can creep up to £1,250 and beyond. Shit a brick!

Moss got married


Kate Moss wore a classic pair of Manolos when she got hitched in the summer. And we all know Moss has the Midas touch when it comes to making things fashionable again. Says Manolo on the shoes:

We did them five times to get them the way she wanted. The shoes arrived the day before and there were too many jewels on the heel because of the long train. So we had women working up until midnight to change it.

Carrie’s coveting Manolos again


Okay, so not actual Carrie but SJP who was shot exclusively in the Blahnik BB pump in the August issue of American Vogue. Upon arriving at the shoot she said:

I walked in and looked around and saw all these shoes, and then I spotted the Manolos and it was like water in a desert.

Ladylike fashion


Fashion has turned on it’s fickle heel. Pared back, ladylike styles were all over the S/S’12 catwalks, making slutty stripper style heels redundant. Marc Jacobs paid sly homage to Manolo’s classic Mary Jane style stilettoes in his New York show. We all swooned. How refreshing! How now!

Me? I’m still torn. I can’t help thinking Manolos are a bit 40-year old frump, though I’m certainly waaaay past the wearing-painful-towering-shoes-wot-make-your-toes-bleed stage of my fashion life. I’ve always admired Mr Blahnik as a London based cobbler, staying true to his signature design. I love his famous shoe sketches – he’s solely (chuckle) responsible for the design and prototype of every shoe that bears his name. I’ve definitely started leaning towards a pointy pump to wear with skinny jeans – and recently snapped up a high street version to test ride.

For me, trends start to tire when you see mahogany skinned reality TV stars dripping in designer, so I almost like this Manolo movement by proxy. You?


  • Comments

  • avatar

    I still don’t like them, because they’re too dainty looking for a bigfoot like me 🙁

    • avatar

      I’m still undecided. They make me think school run mum. Or just: MUM.

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