2012 March 29

Stuart Weitzman on Toe Cleavage, Technology, and Cross Dressing

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Solange Knowles, Stuart Weitzman, and Man Repeller's Leandra Medine Solange Knowles, Stuart Weitzman, and Man Repeller's Leandra Medine
Photo courtesy Stuart Weitzman.
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(NEW YORK) Stuart Weitzman rolled out the royal treatment, and dozens of brand new, warm-weather chaussures, for surprised 5th Avenue shoppers yesterday during a Spring soiree at his 53rd Street boutique. Solange Knowles provided the tunes and Man Repeller's Leandra Medine circled 'round to dole out equal parts style advice and witty banter. Where was Weitzman? "Oh, he's behind the counter helping customers," said a peppy PR gal. To the register! BY MARIA DENARDO

Stuart, what's your earliest shoe memory?
There's a fun picture of me when I was four, putzing around the living room in my mother's red patent leather high-heeled pumps. It's so whimsical. That's an ad campaign nobody's seen before!

Do you really design 600 styles every season?
No, that's what it averages. I'm limited by the shelf space. That's why they won't let me build a bigger store.

How often do you pop into your boutiques?
I work on 57th Street and walk by our Grand Central store every day. They're getting tired of seeing me! I like to talk to the customers.

Are you interested in expanding into new categories?
I'd like it to relate to stuff we've already done--maybe sunglasses, but never clothes. I like arts and crafts—things you can decorate.

What's your strangest customer encounter?
Do you remember Ziyi Zhang from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? She needed a shoe for the Academy Awards, so I went out to LA to fit her. She picked the color. I made her a gorgeous strappy sandal to compliment her Escada dress, which was plunging down to there. I mean risqué! When her mother arrived, she looked at the shoe and immediately frowned and whispered to Ziyi, who told me that her mother didn't approve of the shoes. She thought they were too naked! I couldn't help looking at her bustline, which was hanging out, when she said that. But it's a different culture. Feet are sensual in China. I had three days to make her a closed-toe pump and have it shipped from Spain. I lost about four pounds.

How did you meet Man Repeller's Leandra Medine?
I hadn't read her blog until this season, when she tracked us down. She's crazy about shoes! She was obsessed with the new metallic-tipped Mary Jane called Capsize. I think she wanted us to notice so we'd send her one. But she really loves it! I see her in it all the time, even when she doesn't know we're going to run into each other.

What kind of computer do you have?
[laughs] I have no idea.

Which websites do you bookmark?
I don't! I have three assistants who do it. I don't have time! Same with tweeting. Look at my phone. Have you ever had this phone? It's called a Razr. It's from Motorola. See how it flips open? I won't get rid of it.

How long have you had the Razr?
I can't remember, but I have seven of them. They don't make them anymore, so I stocked up. I expect them to last a lifetime.

Are they all silver like this one?
One is hot pink, and another one was decorated in stones by my daughter.

How crafty are you?
I was an artistic kid. I used to make model boats and airplanes growing up. If I ever retire, I'll go back to making these wonderful collages out of patchwork leather. That's what really got me into designing women's shoes in the first place.



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