Furniture heels

26 Jan

It’s a painful confession, but I’ve been watching lately the first season of the FN Shoe Star. I blame the Manolo for this. Even if there’s undeniable talent in the candidates, I just have a hard time bearing the cheap drama oozing from this ‘unforgiving competition’ stuff. When we will finally reinvent the Roman circus games, I’m sure will innovate. We’ll get close-up on the eyes of the son of the guy dying in the arena. I’m expecting great shows.

Anyway, that’s not really my point. Last year, the girl ending third in the competition went overboard when trying to convey what inspiration she could gather from the French Decorative Arts gallery of NY’s Metropolitan Museum.

Epic. Fail.

The shoe was horrendous, and especially the heel, which tried to translate something of the furniture feet. But the poor girl may have pleaded for extenuating circumstances: the challenge is too tough for a rookie, even seasoned designers have struggle hard.

Evidence #1. United Nude EAMZ.

I have the greatest respect for Koolhaas and Clark, in particular because the former is a world class architect, the work of which I find at times extraordinary, often really good, and always interesting. I’m bound to post more about UN shoes, which are good indeed. Here are their Eamz:

United Nude's Eamz

This particular design caught my eye when I first saw it in a shop in Antwerpen, but I never really loved it no matter how hard I tried. For I really wanted to love these shoes. I mean, the idea is brilliant: they are meant as an homage to the classic 60s furniture designer Charles and Ray Eames. I’m seriously biased towards such referential design. That’s what high doses of philosophy does to you I guess. But it just doesn’t really work.

Now I was musing in the neighborhood this morning, and guess what I find in the Style Bubble?

Evidence #2. Tyake Tyoke shoes.

Now there is something seriously wrong with these. Susie Bubble says she has doubts, but then she’s such a nice person. I say: n.o. .w.a.y.

One of the reasons I see behind the not-so-great-ness of these shoes is the inevitable kitsch of a figurative representation of what inspires you. Imagine Messiaen putting actual recorded bird singing in his Réveil des oiseaux


I have another theory one the subject, which is good, of course. But I’ll post that later. It has to do with static vs. dynamic. Stay tuned.

And you, did you ever saw convincing furniture citation in a pair of shoes?

4 Responses to “Furniture heels”

  1. Manolo the Shoeblogger January 29, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    The Manolo has long been coolish to the shoes of United Nude. Yes, they are to be honored for their desire to marry theory and practice, but like most modern works, they are impersonal and cold.

    And this is the problem with modernity as the artistic movement, that, in general, its rejection of tradition is equivalent to the rejection of humanity. (And here the Manolo would like to blame Le Corbusier, but that would be reductive. His crimes are great, but he is not the only, nor even, in the mind of the Manolo, the chief villain.)

    The shoes of United Nude, seem to be more exercise in design than functional feetwear. There is no warmth, nor soul.

  2. Miss Eliza Wharton January 29, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Ah, Manolo! You hit right on the nail! It’s such a pleasure to read you!

    Nevertheless, I beg to differ. The major sin of modernism is revolutionary ambition: the will to create a new man by creating *for* a new man. Modernist works (in any art) strive for education of the sensibilities. The bet is: once your sensibility have undergone a reformation under the influence of the new art, you’ll begin to really feel the warmth and soul of those works.
    And something like that really occurs. To me for instance. Don’t get me started on Le Corbusier (but please try to visit a place he built once, before judging. I recommend Ronchamp or Chandigarh).

    But one may well retort i) that with sufficient efforts one may delude herself to feel whatever she wants; ii) even if the feeling is guenuine, most people will not trade the solid pleasures coming from tradition for potential delight, be it authentically modern.
    Combination of those arguments proved lethal for modernism, so now we are all post-.
    But there are those, especially in architecture, who are still fighting the fight. And Koolhaas is to some extent one of them. And I’ll side him on lots of his works, building- or shoewise. What makes us post is that nobody still believes that we’ll get to see a new man, thus that traditional art forms are not really an enemy barring humanity’s progress. The sad part is that everybody’s left without a real vision for mankind, and anyone is the measure of all things. There’s just a longing for a place where there was still a meaning…

    So, my dear, why not pour another glass of this fine Malbec from Mendoza, and let the party roll?

  3. Manolo the Shoeblogger January 30, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    Thank you for your kind words.

    You have, dear lady, exactly encapsulated why increasingly the Manolo is the reactionary (especially in the matters artistic), because although, like the postmoderns, he does not believe it is possible to form the new man from the ashes of the old, unlike the postmoderns, he does not believe it was necessary to TRY to form the new man.

    The old one, imperfect and tainted with corruption and sin, was good enough for everyday use, especially as there were traditional solutions to mitigate the harm caused by his flaws.

    And again, the problem with modernity is that it rejects what was sufficiently humane in favor of the speculative, with disastrous consequences. (To consider one minor class of annoying disastrous consequence: the fact that visual art must now be accompanied by gaseous statements penned by the ill-educated MFAs-cum-Artists who produced them is almost too much to bear. Allow us to stipulate that any work which by design cannot exist without graduate student explication is the work which has no soul, nor warmth to feel. )

    Yes, there are the few strictly modernist works of art which move the Manolo, although never in the direction of greater humanity. Generally, the strongest effect produced on the Manolo is one of unease, as if something were vaguely wrong. ( The steel sculpture of Richard Serra falls into this category.)

    However, now, after having thoroughly denounced the modern for its inhumanity, the Manolo must confess the heretical impulse: he loves modernist poetry, indeed, after Herrick, his favorite poet may well be Wallace Stevens.

    The Manolo suspects it is because the Manolo is essentially the linguistic creation, perhaps even, dare he say it, the postmodern linguistic creation?


  1. Tweets that mention Furniture heels | Which_is_Good -- - January 30, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Manolo Shoeblogger, david_m_wagner. david_m_wagner said: .RT @ShoeBlogger The Manolo argues modernity with the smarty-smart friend in the comments of her smarty-smart blog […]

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