I was mesmerized when I spotted these banaynay Louis Vuitton platforms on Rachel Zoe at her jewelry auction to benefit OCNA at Decades Two last week. They are noooo joke!

You can read more about the event on Krystal’s blog and shop Rachel’s auction for a few more days on ebay.

Hopefully next time she auctions off some of her shoes!

PC. cobrasnake

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An Afternoon with Stuart Weitzman

When you’re headed to interview someone there are a lot of unknowns: First off, will the conversation flow? What questions will I have the opportunity to ask? And most importantly, will I get out of there with an interview, or am I about to experience the “Almost Famous effect”?

As I headed over to the London for a one-on-one interview with Stuart Weitzman I was filled with excitement and mildly intimidated. The interview was going to take place in his private Oscar gifting suite and his itinerary was jam packed. Since I’ve seen one too many “The Devil Wears Prada” type movies, I envisioned myself neurotically following Mr. Weitzman while he calmly and politely placed glass slippers on Natalie Portman’s little feet. Despite my jaded, media impacted idea of how the higher ups in fashion interact with the rest of the world, I really was expecting to meet a Karl Lagerfeld type – Stuart is a legend.

‘Weitzman’ shoes didn’t start with Stuart. His father Seymour started a shoe factory, Seymour Shoes, in Haverhill, Massachusetts in the late 1950’s. In 1958 Stuart graduated from High School, and at the age of 20 he surprised his father with a sample shoe the factory made from one of his sketches. His father proudly added it to the Seymour Shoes line and needless to say, it sold very well. It was clear that Stuart had inherited the shoe gene and in 1963 he coupled his talents with a strong business acumen by attending the Wharton School of Business.

When Seymour Weitzman passed away, Stuart took over the business with his older brother, Warren. They eventually sold the business to a company in Spain, however Stuart continued to design the shoes, and in 1994 he bought the business back. Today, Stuart is intimately involved in all aspects of production, and personally oversees the entire manufacturing process for over 300 new styles each year.

Upon arrival at the London, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Stuart was more like my Jewish grandfather than a Lagerfeld. Wearing a ‘Cirque du Soleil’ sweatshirt and grey slacks, Stuart is the kind of man around whom everyone wants to gather and listen – and that is exactly what I did. We sat at a table on the balcony, in perfect 75° weather, and engaged in conversation that flowed like Belvedere at The Box. Not wanting to slow the momentum, I chose not to reach for my tape recorder, or even scribble notes on my notepad.

Some of the highlights: We spent an hour discussing his wife’s shoe collection (infinite in size, yet lacking “that perfect black pair”), his source of inspiration (the ‘woman’ herself), shoe architecture (which he compared to Gaudi), the types of shoes he wears (everything really, it’s different for men) and the real reason women love shoes.

“Why do women love shoes?” asked Stuart. “I’ll tell you why. You’re brainwashed from day one…” He continued to explain that it all starts with Cinderella, which is about what else – The Glass Slipper! Then there’s ballet (the ballet slipper), “and who could forget THE WIZARD OF OZ!” I nodded my head – the ruby slipper. “…And so on and so forth until you get your first pair of high heels for your Sweet 16 – AND YOU’RE HOOKED!” Had it really taken 25 years for this epiphany? This man is a GENIUS!

As I sat researching Stuart earlier that day, trying to come up with interview tactics different from the generic 20 or so questions that often have no rhythm…it hit me – Stuart is well known for his shoe sketches, I am going to ask Mr.Weitzman to sketch a shoe for me.

45 minutes or so into the interview I mustered up the courage and asked, “One last question, and if you say no I fully understand. Would you PLEASE sketch a shoe for me?!? Any shoe, your choice.” “Of course,” he replied.

I wish I had a shot of the expression on my face!

I only had a pen and he needed a pencil. He excused himself, walked down the hall and returned with a thin sheet of glistening paper and a Dixon #2. For 30 minutes he sketched the “tipping point” of his business, as he shared the story behind it:

“Do you know the movie Mulholland Drive? Well, I came up with the idea for Laura Harring to wear a diamond-encrusted sandal to the 2002 Oscars and, for the first time ever, the media went crazy for shoes. You have to realize, up until that point it was all about the dress and the jewelry, never the shoes. So, can you imagine a 10-karat diamond hanging from a diamond-encrusted strap? There were hundreds of media outlets that covered this shoe,” and that was the birth of the Million Dollar Sandal and the household name, Stuart Weitzman.

I left with one unanswered question: where will I hang my sketch?

(DISCLAIMER: Please note that, as I chose to forego note-taking and/or recording of my conversation with Mr. Weitzman in an effort to establish a level of intimacy, all quotes included in this post have been recreated to the best of my immediate recollection. It is not my intention to misrepresent Mr. Weitzman in any way.)

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