Last week, a co-worker’s 10 year old niece waited patiently for her in the Institute Beaute waiting area where I have my “shoe museum.” Favorite shoes from various stages in my life are in glass cases because to me they are true works of art (and because I ran out of room in my home). When it was time for the young girl to leave, she calmly told her Aunt: “Those Louis Vuittons are calling out to me.”
At the risk of sounding like a typical boomer and talking about how I walked ten miles to school each day in the snow (up hill) – the shoe landscape as it is today is different than it was “in my day.”
Today some publications call me “Podiatrist to the Stars” and articles talk about my “Park Avenue Practice.” But that’s not where I started; I grew up in Brooklyn and my French immigrant parents found it hard to make ends meet. The idea of having new shoes – let alone expensive new shoes – was a completely foreign concept to me. When I started earning my own money – my first big purchase was new shoes – I Miller to be exact – from Bergdorf Goodman. I still remember those shoes and the feeling I had when I purchased them. They were patent leather Mary Janes with toes that were both round and square at the same time and I felt beautiful the minute I put them on my feet. But of course, many shoes have made me feel this way which is why they take up so much space in my home and my office. But that’s for another blog.
To pay further homage to I Miller back then – in the 60s – he was to me and many women what Manolo Blahnick is to Carrie Bradshaw and the girls of Sex and the City today. Before establishing the I. Miller Shoe Company, Israel Miller started his career as a designer and maker of shoes for the theatrical profession in New York. He took over and remodeled a large building in Times Square with an inscription reading “The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear.” The company both designed and manufactured women’s shoes and became a leading importer of shoes with a national chain of more than 200 retail stores, popular throughout the 1920s-1960s.
This week women across the country are gearing up to see Sex and the City 2 – a movie about four friends, their love for each other, their trials and tribulations, their devotion to fashion and – of course shoes. Along with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte – Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo have played major supporting roles. And rightfully so. From Cinderella to Carrie Bradshaw – the shoe is the thing. I know I’ll be watching in anticipation and hoping I don’t need to rent additional space to accommodate my growing collection.
(Next week: shoes to pack for vacation)