I love shoes. I really, really love shoes. In fact, the other day I had to get dressed and I realised I have absolutely NO clothes that look good and that I actually want to wear. I know you ladies out there have these days. They are called wardrobe malfunctions… and I currently have one. There were so many pairs of shoes that I could have worn, but yet, NO clothes. Yep #firstworldproblems.
Anyway, not long after realising I have way too many shoes than I do clothes I came across this book. It’s a coffee table book about shoes. Coffee table books are the way to my heart. I love them. My house is filled with them. So when I heard that Jane Weitzman (wife of shoe designer Stuart Weitzman) had just released a coffee table book called Art & Sole (a book about the shoes from her windows that were so magical ), well, my heart skipped a little beat.
The book is fantastic! Jane Weitzman was in charge of the amazing window displays at the Stuart Weitzman Madison Avenue store. Each one of Jane’s windows was more incredible than the last, so much so that people would travel from all over just to see them.
I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the extremely talented Jane Weitzman – You know what they say… Behind every great man, there is a great woman…
Jane Weitzman – Author of Art & Sole
SC: Hi Jane, the book itself is so beautiful, even my husband picked it up and said what a lovely book it is. How did the idea for this amazing book come about?
JW: The idea for the book came after we sold our business and the windows changed. So many people asked me about the art shoes and wanted to know what happened to them. I thought that if I could do an art book that was small enough to be sold at a reasonable price, I could help raise money for some good causes.
SC: What is it like to have a husband as in love with shoes as much as you?
JW: It has always been great to watch Stuart enjoy his work so much. If he sees someone wearing his shoes, he goes right over to her and introduces himself. Usually, the woman is beside herself with joy at meeting him and has a million suggestions for him.
SC: In the book you spoke about how crowds were often standing in front of your windows looking in, I can only imagine what a wonderful feeling that was to see people enjoy your hard work. How do you think your window displays impacted on the Stuart Weitzman brand and did you ever feel the pressure for the next window to be better/bigger than your last?
JW: I took a big chance by not putting product in the windows. Almost no one does that. People still came into the store to see what it was all about. New Yorkers love art and are curious. Several times, a woman would ask for a ceramic or paper shoe in her size. I think that the windows gave the brand a feeling of being interesting. I always tried to improve the level of the art shoes and the windows.
SC: Where did you draw your inspiration from for your window displays and did Stuart ever play a role in any of the windows?
JW: My window dresser, Timothy Fortuna, was always inspired by the art shoes themselves when he decided how to display them. Stuart never saw the shoes or the displays until they were in the windows. He always had his hands full designing the shoes and running the business.
SC: What was your most memorable window? And why?
JW: We always used Sharon Von Senden’s shoes when we opened a new store. Tim made revolving mirrored stands for them and the effect of all the stones and crystals moving and glittering was very special.
SC: What was your most challenging window? And why?
JW: The most challenging window was from our first window dresser. It was a holiday window that fell apart while he was out of the country. The store manager and I tried to fix it, but it was a nightmare. Once Tim Fortuna came to work for us, we never had another disaster.
SC: What do you think it is about shoes that make women go weak at the knees? Whether that be in the flesh or in a beautiful book like yours, women just love looking at them, reading about them, wearing them… What is the attraction?
JW: I think that women love beautiful shoes, because they can change her entire look. A plain black dress becomes beautiful with fabulous shoes. She can dress up or down by changing her shoes.
SC: And lastly, I can only imagine how many beautiful shoes you must own; do you have a favourite pair?
JW: My favourite shoes are plain high heeled pumps. I have them in lots of materials – leather, suede, and fabric covered with Swarovski crystals. They always look right with almost any outfit. I also love Stuart’s 50/50 boots, because they look great and I can be comfortable in them all day. I just got the new quilted version.
My special thanks to Jane Weitzman for taking the time to be interviewed by StyleCrush – It definitely was a highlight for me. Not only was Jane Gershon Weitzman the Executive Vice President of Stuart Weitzman and the first Vice President of Stuart Weitzman Retail but she spearheaded philanthropy for the company by generating funds to support breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness (a cause close to my heart). Her efforts were brought to life through innovative charity events on the brand’s website, such as the Stuart Weitzman Celebrity Breast Cancer Shoe Auction, and its retail stores. She serves on the Trust Board of the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Until next time…