Bow Pump Reviews: Diavolina via ASOS, Manolo Blahnik Lisane

After building a solid collection of basic work pumps over the years, my interest lately has been on shoes with unique detailing or in fun colors. I’ve always had a soft spot for bows (from Ferragamos to makeshift clip-on ones), and longed for a pair of heels with feminine, statement bows. Here are two suede contenders that I tried on this month:

Upper right/lower left: Manolo Blahnik Lisane sz 34.5, Upper left/lower right: Diavolina sz US 5 (label says 36)

bowheels1. Diavolina Suede pumps in fuchsia, also in black (sold via ASOS)
After being disappointed by the sizing, comfort, and quality of various ASOS-brand shoes, I pretty much swore them off for footwear. However, ASOS carries various brands in addition to their own, and offers the same convenient free shipping & returns. I’ve never heard of Diavolina before, but saw that they offer genuine leather/suede shoes down to a sz US 4 or 5 in certain styles.
Sizing & Fit: I am usually between US 5 to 5.5 (5 in Ann Taylor, 5.5 in BR/J.Crew) and ordered a US 5 / UK 3 in these. When the shoes arrived, the bottoms said 36 and I was bummed thinking they sent the wrong size. However, they were a perfect fit and felt comfortable for the few minutes that I tried them on.
Quality & Design: Solid construction, genuine suede upper, leather lining and synthetic smooth soles. Minimal toe cleavage with classic 3.5″ straight heel. Color is a true vibrant fuchsia in person, and the bow is comprised of three layers with patent sandwiched in the middle. My only qualm was that the bow lacked dimension and was a bit flat/rectangular for my liking.

2. Manolo Blahnik 90mm Lisane Bow (sold out online similar idea for $45, or other Lisane bows)
Knowing that most department stores are having their final designer clearance, I contacted my Nordies sales associate with a few style #’s that caught my eye earlier in the season. These designer sales begin each winter with 30 to 40% off and progress until late Jan/early Feb, so I had low expectations at this point. I was ecstatic when he reported that the Manolo Lisane bow pumps (which I loved on Sarah) in “bordeaux” were left in a 34.5 and 35.5 for about 70% off retail. If you are interested in calling a store to check stock, the style # is 574768 and shipping is free.
Sizing & Fit: I normally would’ve gone right with the 35.5, however, I recently got to try on Kelly’s gorgeous Manolo BB pumps in sz 34.5. I didn’t even want to shove my foot in (in fear of stretching them out), but she assured me that they run big. Sure enough, those fit perfectly and so do these bow pumps in 34.5. I’m sure different styles may vary, but I would say this style runs half to one whole size big.

Quality & Design: When I opened up the box, the bows were like little works of suede ribbon art. I couldn’t stop admiring them. The construction is of noticeably good quality, and the uppers, soles, and lining are all leather (with “handmade in Italy” imprinted on the bottom). My qualms with this shoe are with the lower (3”) curved heel shape and longer pointy toe area, which together lend to a more matronly look.
Verdict: In the world of bow pumps, the Diavolina’s are a youthful, fun contender whereas the Manolo’s are more classic and mature. The deep bordeaux color is more versatile for me personally, but the fuchsia adds a punch to outfits. A combination of the artful loop bows with higher, straight heels would’ve been my ideal shoe. Nevertheless, I loved the Manolo’s enough to keep. I sent the Diavolina’s back this time, but am certainly open to trying their shoes again.

For a fun Valentino bow-inspired option that is priced between these two styles, I love the Steven by Steve Madden “Ravesh” pumps as seen on MsKTReed’s Instagram.

In blush patent or colored leather (emerald, coral, or black):
steve_madden_raveshReaders – Would you have gone with the fun fuchsia or the more mature bordeaux bows?

61 thoughts on “Bow Pump Reviews: Diavolina via ASOS, Manolo Blahnik Lisane

  • Lissy January 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I love the bright pink of the Diavolina but you can never go wrong with a classic Manolo!

  • Amy January 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Great review! Personally I prefer the Diavolina because its overall shape looks nicer to me, but I can see what you chose the Manolo!

  • Nico Saich January 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    the manolos for sure! But I typically favor classic over trendy.


  • Janki January 27, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I'd have done the Manolos. I like my clothes and shoes to just be part of an overall look rather than having one pieces stand out too much. It makes me feel like the clothes/shoes are wearing me. I do like the overall look of those bright shoes though, and I imagine it was a tough decision.
    The emerald ones are adorable though. I like that you are showcasing quality items, at a steal no less!

  • Suzie Q January 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I absolutely love the fuschia color of the Diavolina and the big flat bow look, but I appreciate the more classic look of the Manolo's too and probably can see more wear with those throughout the year. You can't go wrong with either!

    Suzie Q

  • Anonymous January 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    What about Kate Spade bow pumps? Have you given those a try?

  • lin January 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    thanks for the great reviews. i would have gone with the manolo's too because it's more classic and of the color! 😉

  • Anonymous January 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Off topic, Jean, but somewhat related as it pertains to shoes: how do you keep your Louboutin's…Louboutin's? Having purchased my first pair (at a massive, massive discount, thank you after Christmas sales!), I am now feverishly searching for how best to preserve the red soles. I know I read somewhere that Mr. Louboutin meant for the red to fade, as it would mimic a fashionable lady leaving her footsteps all over, but really, no offense to Mr. CL himself, I'd rather keep the color.

    Ladies, any thoughts? It's probably a much bigger deal as these as my first pair but I am in love with them and would really like to keep them in good shape!

  • January 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    love the bordeaux ones you kept!! so pretty!

  • mai January 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    i agree with you on your opinion of the manolo heel shape, but i think the bows make up for it! 🙂

  • Fauxionista January 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    While I agree with you that fuchsia is more fun, ultimately the bordeaux and bows on the Manolos are the keepers. Like you, I favor bow that aren't flat and with more 3D construction to it. Congrats on the fabulous find! 🙂

  • Carla Krae January 27, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    I don't think the Manolos look matronly at all.

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Not yet – they have some beautiful options, but I didn't see any in pointy toe styles.

  • Petite-ish January 27, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    The manolos are so gorgeous. Good choice! The pink ones are trendy and fun, but you can wear the manolos forever.

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 27, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Hi there – that's awesome that you were able to score CL's that you love on major discount! I haven't heard about the red fading and it doesn't look like it's happened on any of mine (incl' an older pre-owned pair). I protect them only by getting red Vibram rubber soles on the bottom so they don't wear through, but honestly, I feel that shoes are meant for wearing so I hope the desire to keep them pristine won't prevent you from getting good use out of your special purchase : ) The only other thought I have (if you're really concerned about fading) is possibly coat the soles with a clear sealant like nail polish – but I've never tried it nor heard of anyone doing so.

  • Sabrina January 28, 2013 at 1:38 am

    I really like the Diavolinas! I think about getting them in black. Thank you for your review, I'm usually a size 36 and it's good to know that I need to order one size up here (sizing on ASOS is so confusing sometimes – and return shipping isn't free here in Austria.)


  • Katherine January 28, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Those are gorgeous, I love them on you! So glad you found out your size, I missed out on classic suedeManolo BBs in bright blue on sale because I ordered my normal size and by the time I figured out they ran big, my size was gone 🙁 Boohoo!

    I also had some a bit of luck with the Nordstrom sales this year, I think we might have the same salesperson 🙂

  • Jen January 28, 2013 at 2:36 am

    It's super cute! I think you went with the right choice on the Bordeaux Manolos. 🙂

  • Lulu January 28, 2013 at 3:23 am

    Dear lord, the MBs are gorgeous

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 3:24 am

    I love your new Manolos! I've also been admiring them on Sarah on her blog and Instagram 🙂 You both have fantastic style!

  • Jen January 28, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Those perfectly shaped bordeaux bows are fabulous! Such a great color for suede, too. About your surprise at the 36 fitting properly, I have seen some instances where a 36 translates to a size 5 (e.g. Kurt Geiger — sale and free shipping, for those interested).

  • Advo January 28, 2013 at 5:57 am

    The bordeaux heels are amazing, such a great versatile colour and the bows are gorgeous. The fuchsia are a fun colour, but something I could quickly tire off and the bows do lack dimension. Good choice!

  • Research Consultant January 28, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Fuchsia all the way 🙂

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Hi jean would you do a review of how to pick a comfortable pointy heels? I once brought a Pedro pointy heels thinking it was the right choice as it fit perfectly. However I find that the heels were being stretched too big after a few wears and it slips off easily or my toe will be fully slide in and squashed into the pointy area. I really do prefer pointy heels more than rounded heels but its frustrating to find a right one. Please do consider doing a review on how to choose a comfortable pointy heels?

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

    hi jean- i just called nordies in braintree and they said they have these lisanes, but they are only 40% off, not 70%. They said most likely you got it from a nord rack .. what store did you call for 70% off? Thanks!

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

    They came from Nordstrom (not Rack) in San Francisco. Did they check that the style # was 574768 ? There's several versions and I think only the seasonal suede are that price.

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 10:15 am

    yeah- thats the number i gave them. 🙁 im on the phone right now with burlington. the one in braintree says absolutely 40%. am like, are you SURE. my friend says its 70%. haha 🙂

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I have just found this blog. I am 70, a 0 Petite, and was a fashion consultant for 25 yr. I always told my clients that they wanted people to look at their faces, not at their feet. The Manolos, at their price point, will be much more likely to go with several outfits.

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

    ok, got off the phone and they said they only have one in my size and its for sure only 40% off at $277.98. Maybe the associate you worked with made an error and you got lucky! Boo …

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

    crisis adverted- they are indeed only 40% off, but if you ask nicely, the associate can give you an additional 25% off because they are scheduled for further markdowns tomorrow … making it a dun dun dun … 70% deal. Thanks for the heads up Jean! Youre awesome.

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

    and if youre extra nice, you can schmooze and get free rushed shipping. ooh happy day!

  • sophié January 28, 2013 at 11:31 am

    looking at these shoes I wonder if they would eventually distort your feet. (ie hammer toe) big toes pointing away from each other and interfere with the skeletal structure of the foot. I see older women in their 50's and they inevitably seem to suffer from distorted feet directly related to the fashions of the time. If these dont cause distortion they are well worth the money. I would appreciate hearing from long term users…

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Hi! Thanks so much for the response. Perhaps 'fading' was the wrong word and 'wearing away' might be the better description. How do the Vibram soles work, are they applied on top of the original bottoms? Do they give more grip and then can they be replaced as well? And will any cobbler be able to handle this?

    I feel the same way about clothing, and hopefully once I get my shoes adequately protected, I can wear them and forget the worry. Thanks again, sorry for the many question!

  • Petitetomatoes January 28, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I love them both. =) Very cute

  • Cherish January 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    hi! i am experiencing similar issue. i can only get it at 40% off at $277. any tips on how to get that extra 25% off? THANKS!

  • Cherish January 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Jean – do you think you can share your nordstrom sales contact info? would really appreciate it! i have called 3 nordstroms so far with same reply that $277 is final 🙁

  • lisacng @ January 28, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Wish you could have gotten best of both worlds. I hope you like your choice. I don't think the MBs are matronly at all! I wish the photos showed more of the beauty of the bows b/c they look flat in photos :(. Can't wait to see how you style them!

  • In Palace January 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm
  • Christie January 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Love the bows. The colors are so adorable!


  • KT of January 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Hey love, thanks for crediting me! You are always so good about it that's why I love you (and your blog!). well one of the many reasons why I adore you (there's plenty more of course). I like the Manolo as well but I think you made the right choice by going with the more vibrant pair. I love the fuchsia pumps and I love seeing you in fun colors. As for the green Steven by SM, it's actually suede (not sure if it's real suede or faux). They run true to size (size 5)and feels really soft and surprisingly comfortable. You should def get those too! They are on my blog at the moment if you want to see more photos. I think they also comes in Coral (seen on but not in store) and I was debating on getting those too.

    What are your thoughts on the coral?


  • phiphis blog January 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    i love my lisane pumps! the bows are spectacular. i am so glad you kept them too!!

    xox P

  • Anonymous January 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I hate to be the skunk at the picnic, but I'm not a fan of the bows, too Minnie Mouse for me. Perhaps you'll prove me wrong with some great outfits, but they'll have to be very streamlined and neutral, because the bows themselves make such a statement. I'm much more of a fan of the old open toed sling back, peep toe, or if you are feeling more daring, what about a tee-strap? –April

  • Samantha January 29, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Love both shoes but I really do believe the fushia pair looks so much better on you. I judged the shoe without thinking about the brand names and when I first saw a picture you had taken with both of them side by side, I immediately thought you chose to keep the fuschia pair because it looked more youthful and modern. I love the colour oxblood/burgundy/wine but I feel like this colour looks a little dull and with the curved heel, it looks very matronly. I think I would love your Manolo's in a better colour e.g. I adore Kelly's Manolo pumps in the colbalt!

  • HeartsIt January 29, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I love bows in general and both shoes. But I think the complexity of the bow detail in the Manolos make it superior. 🙂

  • Anonymous January 30, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Hands down: the fuchsia pair.

    I think it is safe to say that many agree with a variety of points. The ones that gave thumbs-up often used the explanation of, "hey, can't go wrong w/Manolos"/"love Manolos" – name-dropping. (Don't get me wrong; I understand and appreciate the art from refined labels too. That said, it would never be right to compare them to, say ASOS if the labels were the winning argument.)

    That said, I feel a bit sad that the blog I once turned to for "chic/quality/classic for less" has now "sold out".

    I still admire your classic look and your systematic and and calculated outfit – it is a skill – but I cannot say your posts are a departure from what originally attracted me here. But, hey, I am only one of so, so many!

  • Anonymous January 30, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Excuse the typos!

    calculated *outfits

    *can say your posts

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 31, 2013 at 10:57 am

    No prob! Happy to help. Most cobblers can do this but I'd ask if they do many louboutins and also if you can see the rubber soles ahead of time. I go to one cobbler for more high end shoes, and another who does a great and cheap job for other shoes (but didn't have any red rubber soles and suggested black – eek!). Vibram is the more trusted brand of the rubber soles and what your cobbler should use, and yes it's applied on top of the original bottoms. They do give more grip and I've never had mine replaced again so I'm not sure. They look like this once applied (cost me about $25)

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Hi there – I don't have too much experience with how to find the right fit in pointy heels, but I know you need to make sure there's enough width to accommodate the widest parts of the balls of your feet to avoid damaging/disfiguring your feet with wear. You can also try toe pad inserts to fill in extra space in length and push your feet up so your toes aren't squashed in the pointiest area. Sorry I'm not much help – good luck!

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 31, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Hi Cherish – Unfortunately I don't have his permission to share individual contact info on here and don't want to possibly draw attention to him for what looks like pre-saleing a price that actually began on Tuesday. I didn't realize that was the case and apologize. But according to anon above, the shoes should've been marked down on Tuesday to $208 and any SA should be honoring that price w/ free ship. Also keep in mind not to listen to the "% offs" because the 40% off at $277 actually indicates a prior markdown already (since the shoes retailed for $695, and 40% off that is $417). Good luck!

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