Friday, September 26, 2008

While Rome Burns, Buy Roman Sandals

I am now a card-carrying survivor of what the Times calls "by far the largest bank failure in American history." I banked at WaMu because there is a branch nearby and I like the people who work there, and I hope some of them will still have jobs.

I got my first bank account, a passbook savings account, right after my bat mitzvah, when I had checks to deposit. As I recently confessed, my financial thinking has not really gotten much more sophisticated. However, I don't think I rushed right out to buy shoes with the money, as I have essentially done ever since.

At that time, my long feet were a source of embarrassment for me; they looked awful in the flat, round-toed Fred Braun shoes popular then, and not much better in the Kork-Ease sandals I adopted when I decided higher shoes would at least provide a bit of the Barbie-shoe effect (in retrospect, the idea was right, but the shoes were wrong). Then I discovered vintage stilettos; Patricia's Field's old store on 8th Street used to have a whole wall of them, an idea I adopted as decor for a while.

Eventually, that led me to Manolo Blahnik. My first pair was bought for me as a birthday present at Barneys in Beverly Hills by my current ex-husband (who is charming but even more of a fool about money than I am), and I have on average acquired a pair or two every year since, except for one magical year when I found myself in New Orleans three times and discovered Victoria's Shoes, a tiny shop in the French Quarter that sold Manolos at astounding prices (his styles are so classic that I don't care what year they're from), and where the friendly saleswoman not only said "Size 40, right?" when I walked in but also shipped the many pairs I bought there to LA.

I of course have flirted with Jimmy Choo and Andrea Pfister and Chanel and Michel Perry and Sergio Rossi and Louboutin. But Manolos have my heart. There is no shoe as sexy, or as well-made.

So it was somehow appropriate to hear, in the midst of all the financial turmoil on the East Coast, that Beverly Hills was giving Manolo its Walk of Style Award last night.

My friend the noted photographer Ed Caraeff was there and took these pictures:

(Manolos on the big screen, sized for the 50-Foot Woman.)

(The backdrop for the red carpet, which, appropriately, is known in the entertainment biz as the "step and repeat" because of what celebrities do - the word "pose" is left out because what else do they do? - in front of it.)

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