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2009 November 11

Stuart Weitzman Gets Stamped

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Stuart Weitzman Stuart Weitzman
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(NEW YORK) Stuart Weitzman’s million-dollar shoe broke the mold when actress Laura Elena Harring wore the diamond-encrusted sandals to the 2002 Oscars--and their influence hasn’t slowed. Last week in Elda, Spain, the unofficial shoe making capital of the country, where Weitzman’s factories have been located for the last 37 years, Weitzman received quite the honor: having the first million dollar shoe commemorated on a Spanish postage stamp. Spanish residents can order and purchase the stamps at any post office. The Daily chatted with Weitzman (long distance!) about his honor, his time in Spain, and his favorite hobby--other than shoes, of course…

I’m sure I’ll pass it along to my grandkids! You think of politicians or whatever being on stamps. It’s nice when you work a lifetime for an industry and they recognize something.

How did you come up with the million-dollar shoe idea?
It was for the 2002 Academy Awards, and the girl from Mullholland Drive wore it. It was designed basically out of necessity, because the media pays all sorts of attention to the dress, the jewelry around the neck, what’s in the hair--and the feet never got noticed. And truthfully, it had always been frustrating to shoe designers, because lots of us put in a lot of time to make gorgeous shoes for these events and they get covered by the dress. I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something to get noticed!’ It really worked. Kwiat did the jewelry for me, I designed, and the rest is history! You almost can’t watch a runway show anymore without a shoe cam in the corner, and I’d like to think I had something to do with that.

How did you find out about your honor?
If you think of the 100th anniversary of the Gettysburg address, they’d make a stamp, or for the 100th anniversary of the first home run, they’d make a baseball stamp. They’re not just to move mail around, but to commemorate something. So the shoe industry was being recognized. I really don’t know why they picked my shoe and me as exemplary, but they were looking for something to commemorate the shoe industry. They have a pretty good protocol about not putting faces on stamps of any living person except the king. When Franco was the dictator, he put his picture on every stamp--so after he was out, they stopped doing that. So my shoe went on instead of me!

Do you write letters?
I’ve been asking everyone around here when their birthday is! Mostly I fax and email. I write letters when it’s something special or personal, or when someone has written me. I don’t really bother too much with email, though--it’s another intrusion. I try to avoid most of it, if I can. Letters are sort of special now.

How is Spain?
I come over four times a year to work on and oversee our collection. Our pre-fall event is in December--the Ffany show--so we’re working on that now.

Do you get to do anything fun, or is it all work and no play?
You’ve got to get the job done. But Spain is a wonderful country. I’ve been here three weeks and I don’t think I’ve seen a cloud one day. There could be worse places to work!

Played any ping pong lately?
I played today, actually! A couple of Italians here were trying to sell me leather and one of them thought he was pretty good. I think he realizes now that he wasn’t now. Fortunately he was a supplier, not a customer! I gave him no mercy.

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