A Flat Life / Christina Mannino
Written & Photographed by: Elizabeth Ukpe
It’s been said that New York is the city that never sleeps. But, in this case, one would think Christina Mannino is giving that term a run for its money. By day, Christina is the senior creative merchandiser at Bloomingdales. By night, she is a women’s wear designer by trade; the founder and creative director of the fashion line DEIVIE and her namesake women’s wear line Mannino ♥️, which she launched this past November. Adding to her credits, Christina is a creative producer for Cult Factory and (as if that weren’t enough) is a fixture in the NYC DJ scene with a residency at Rochelle’s in downtown Manhattan.
Christina & I first met in 2011 at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side. It was likely a school night and we were both dancing along to a band her then-boyfriend was playing in. Somewhere in between sweaty jumping, a loud bass guitar, and perspiring drinks, we managed to strike up a conversation and fast became friends.
As someone who balances an active life in the fashion industry with various hobbies, including dance and tennis, I was curious what Christina’s relationship was with her feet and how she implements flats into her everyday life.
Read on to discover her formula for choosing flats v. heels and why foot stretchers are literally the best-kept secret.
Elizabeth: Can I just start off by saying that the real estate gods are on your side?
Christina: Yes, I know. I got super lucky! I love living in Williamsburg. I found this place last December, shockingly without a broker fee!
EU: So, for our readers who live in New York and are aware that the L line is shutting down next year, Christina is off the JMZ train. AKA, she’s all set.
CM: Haha, this is true.
EU: What are your thoughts on there being a social stigma for women when it comes to heels versus flats?
CM: I would say there is one but only because we live in NYC and we’re surrounded by models. I’m only 5’4, so if I’m walking into a party or an event I feel tiny and not able to be seen. Now, if I were 5’9, my answer to this question would probably be different.
EU: So tell me what happens when you show up at party in a really cute dress and a pair of kicks. Do you feel less attractive?
CM: In the past few years I’ve dated men who are of the height-based culture and love a woman in sneakers so it really hasn’t been an issue. I think it almost makes you seem more down to earth which men find sexier.
EU: When do you typically opt for flats and why?
CM: I opt for flats pretty much daily because I like to walk around a lot. I walk like three miles a day. I also don’t want to ruin my heels because the city streets are so hard on them. At work I literally have a bookshelf of heels though and I’ll just slip into them when I’m there.
EU: How long would you say it takes for you to break into a pair of shoes, and are flats easier than heels?
CM: Not that long! I buy my heels a half size larger and flats I almost never have an issue breaking into.
EU: Oh interesting! Maybe it’s because you have a high arch?
CM: Yes, that or that I’m just really hard on my feet!
EU: Do you have a favorite flat shoe style?
CM: I love a good sneaker but most flattering on my foot is a slide.
EU: So let’s switch gears a bit and talk about your foot care regimen. A flat life isn’t just about wearing flats. It’s about honoring the overall health of our feet.
CM: I want to start getting foot massages on a regular basis because if I’m not in sneakers or slides, I’m pretty much always in heels and my feet are really wreaking havoc because of it. I only treat myself to a pedicure once a month and I’m pretty cheap about it. Definitely like one of those $25 dollar mani+pedi combos that New York is famous for.
EU: So beyond the massages and the pedicures, are there any products that you swear by?
CM: Yes! Something I started like two years ago that I use every night are these toe stretchers. Have you every heard of them?
EU: Oh! I’ve never heard of these. Please, do tell.
CM: I found mine at Duane Reade but you can definitely get them online. One brand is called Yoga Toes. But I personally sleep with these on overnight and it supposedly revitalizes your joints and helps with knee pain. Especially since our toes are squished in shoes all day.
EU: The more you know…
CM: They’re honestly the best. And beyond that, I just bought a pumice stone but that is my entire foot care regimen.
EU: Let’s talk foot beauty. What is your go to nail color?
CM: For my toes it’s Essie’s “High Class Affair” and it’s a light pink undertone. I really like to keep a plain color on my toes so that it blends in with my skin because I’m not a huge fan of my toes. Like, besides the fact that I have a high arch I have pretty ugly feet.
EU: Are you super self-conscious about your feet?
CM: No, not really. The only time I have is this one pair of strappy shoes where my pinky toe literally stick out of the sides. But I think in general feet aren’t that exciting.