Category Archives: Interviews

Show and Tell: Marion Shares Her Shoe Room

If you didn’t already send me a photo of your shoe collection, do so and I’ll post it. Go to the original post, and tell me: How many shoes do YOU own??

I’m delighted to share with you another reader’s shoe collection.  Marion sent in photos of her “Shoe Room”, a downstairs junk room that she transformed into a shoe lover’s paradise!  I spy at least one pair of Christian Louboutins, and I love the paintings of stilettos on the wall.  Here is a woman who is truly smitten with shoes!

Show And Tell: Ellen of ITSDF Shares Her Shoe Closet

Over the weekend, I had some fun looking at a couple of your responses to my Show and Tell post.  You ladies have some seriously enviable shoe collections, and you’re pretty well organized to boot!  For instance, take a look at Ellen’s overflowing shoe collection, with all her stacked clear shoe boxes.

“My closet is a sick mess with even more shoes –and boots-and clothes that I’d be embarrassed to show, so I’m actually sending a pic of my “spare bedroom” with my overflow – I admit, the guilt of so many shoes ( and the desire for more) has motivated me to put a few of these up for sale on my own site! LOL.”

Not only is Ellen’s shoe collection impressive (and there’s more?!), but her auction site for shoe lovers is worth a peek if you want to add a few name-brand and designer shoes to your closet!  www.IfTheShoeDoesntFit.com.  You can also follow Ellen on Twitter @ITSDF

If you didn’t already send me a photo of your shoe collection, do so and I’ll post it. Go to the original post, and tell me: How many shoes do YOU own??

Interview With Mme Weathersby Shoes


Mme. Movie La Reine Mid Calf Boot

1. How did you come up with the idea of creating Mme. Weathersby Shoes?

Mme creates apparel, handbags, and footwear, also furniture. The shoes are getting the most buzz at this point. I love history architecture, culture, and all things feminine. That’s where my ideas come from. I can look at a petal, and in my mind, a collection can come forth.

2. Your collection is gorgeous, how do you draw inspiration for your feminine designs?

Anything that stands still, planted or moving can inspire me. I love the arts, not so much pop culture. The past inspires me more than the condition of the world today.

3. What is your favorite shoe you’ve ever created, and why?

I don’t have one, but my mother always says, “This is my favorite.” Then another design is made, and I outdo myself. I like a good challenge. I’m an INTJ, so I enjoy perfection, and want my customers to know that they have purchased a piece of wearable art, that brings them good attention.

4. Tell me a little about the process of making your shoes – how long does it take, on average, to make one shoe, for example?

It depends on the factory. I have gotten some duds, believe me when I say that. I was going to do a peacock shoe, and the factory gave me a green shoe filled with ghastly feathers and sequins. It looked like Big Bird on crack! Their favorite line, is “You don’t like?”

5. What do you look for in a shoe?

Beauty, Wearability, tailored perfect merchandise.

6. Number of shoes you own?

Basically everything you see in my collection , and then some, not all of Mme shoes are shown to the public. I do not own a pair of designer shoes, but I would like to someday. Like a pair of Chanel Ballet Flats.

7. Favorite designer?

YVES SAINT LAURENT the original master of course. I have his books, DVD of him. That man was genius and I will always love what he created, and the great skills of his business partner Pierre Berge. The old masters are dying out. I would love to have met him. Remember these were the days when the designs had classy mothers, and sophisticated lives, and imitated what they saw, but made the clothing of the future , which is what we wear today. Christan Dior, the original master, is my favorite also. Remember Yves worked for Christin Dior when he was a teenager. Oh, don’t forget the genius of modernity Mr. Lagerfeld.

8. What’s on your playlist now?

I don’t listen to that much music except for upbeat jazz like IILYA-they DIED FOR BEAUTY. That album is great A++, remember that Revlon Commercial with Halle Berry, and a song called Bellisimo. I love listening to commercials because the songs are better than those on the radio, which I don’t listen to, except for talk radio, classical, and jazz. I love my SADE, Jackson 5, and I’ve been listening to old Motown music, and rediscovered a great group from the 80′s called the System. Oh, and Robert Palmer, what a great artist.

9. What was on your Christmas wish list?

I don’t really celebrate Christmas. Maybe if I get married, or have children I will celebrate it. But very soon. I would love to go to an orphanage and give presents to those parent-less souls, and make them happy and have a pep talk with them. I have a heart for orphans, and people that can not defend themselves.

10. What’s next for Mme Weathersby?

Loads of trade shows like WSA, The Magic, La Fashion Week, hopefully to premier the apparel, furniture and perfume, Haute Couture appointments etc…

Design and Create Your Own Milk & Honey Shoes (Gift Idea)


The ultimate treat for any shoe lover would be to get to design a gorgeous pair of shoes, from heel to upper.  Well now that is possible, thanks to MilkandHoneyShoes.com.  Keep reading for a fun Q&A with co-founders and sisters Ilissa and Dorian Howard, and take a peek at my very own Milk & Honey™ creation.  SHOE SMITTEN EXCLUSIVE!  Get free shipping with promo code “shoesmitten” for one week starting today!

How did you come up with the idea of creating Milk & Honey Shoes?

M&H: We’re girls! And we’re high-maintenance! We got so tired of walking through the department stores and boutiques thinking, “if only this came in a 3” heel,” “if only this had an ankle strap.” “WHY can’t I find the perfect nude shoe?” “WHY don’t designers make any shoes in navy blue?” We turned our frustration into resourcefulness and started getting our shoes made to our exact specifications. It took awhile to perfect it, but once we did we couldn’t keep it a secret.

There are a few different sites out there now that allow women to design their own shoes. What sets your site apart?

M&H: Milk & honey is a company started by two sisters who are tried and true shoe lovers – and I think that comes through with our attention to detail about what women really want. We worked hard to provide practical options (“flats” with a 1” miniwedge) and fabulous options (the perfect snakeskin, peep toe pump). Also – the breadth of options — we really wanted our customers to be able to design their shoe, not just tweak options on an existing shoe. We also take tremendous pride in the quality of the materials we use and the quality of the final product.

What is the most creative shoe (in your opinion) you’ve ever seen created on Milk & Honey?

M&H: Wow – we’ve really seen some amazing designs and outrageous color combinations. We had one customer create a shoe using brightly colored purple glitter and zebra pony. I thought she was nuts – but you know what? It totally worked! I’m always amazed at how confident our customers are and often they are right on with their designs! Especially our brides. We have had brides design everything from strappy, neutral heels to glittery wedges to hot pink flats. We love what our brides come up with!

Tell me a little about the materials available, and other options women have when creating their custom shoes.

M&H: We use materials sourced from around the world – rich leathers, smooth patents, sleek snakeskin, fun patterns, shiny glitter, lustrous pony and soft suede – we offer colors from a bright green to the perfect shade of nude. And if we don’t have it? We can special order something to your exact specifications. We also have an entire selection of “animal friendly” materials – faux leathers, ultrasuede and faux snakesking. We make those shoes with synthetic lining and a compressed rubber bottom to make shopping easy for our vegan clients.

As for shoe design options – we offer 16 different toe options, 13 strap options, 3 different heel shapes in numerous heights, plus embellishments like flowers, studs, knots and other unique options to perfectly customize your shoe.

Once someone orders a pair, what’s the process of bringing them to life?

M&H: We work with very skilled artisans who handcraft each individual shoe. If there are specific requests we send a designer to the markets to specially source the material. Once the shoe is complete, Ilissa reviews each pair of shoes with our cobbler to ensure that they are absolutely perfect. Once they are approved they are wrapped in recycled tissue paper and put in a clear shoebox (for easy storage) and shipped out.

I have to ask…how many shoes do you own?
M&H: If there was such thing as “too many” I’d say that, but instead I’m thinking not enough! I’m no Imelda Marcos but I did recently have to buy more shoe racks!

Who is your favorite designer?

M&H: I am really enjoying Zac Posen, Karen Millen, and Rodarte right now. There is a new designer in LA, Joanna August — I’m obsessed with the jewel-toned colors she uses – at night I dream about her electric blue. I basically love anything with soft material and rich colors.

What’s on your playlist now?

M&H: I am currently obsessed with the sounds of Mumford and Sons, find myself humming Cee Lo Green’s new song all the time, I’m loving having Frentik’s “Not a Bitch” on my running playlist and, as always, Bon Jovi.

What’s on your Christmas wish list?

M&H: My sister and I always design a pair of shoes for each other for birthdays and holidays – I can’t wait to see what she makes me this year! I also really want new lip gloss from Benefit, a vintage candelabra for my deck, the third season of MAD MEN on DVD, a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly…. and world peace.

Complete the phrase: “Wearing my favorite pair of shoes has the same effect on me as…”

M&H: …growing three inches, seeing an ex right after getting my hair blown-out, and being surrounded by my girlfriends – it gives me confidence, makes me walk a little taller (literally and figuratively) and just puts a smile on my face.

Ready to see my own shoe design?  Here you go!  I think I’ll call her MOLLY:

Inspired by a few of my favorite things this holiday season, MOLLY is a real beauty if I do say so myself!  With her gorgeous aubergine velvet bow, dalmatian print upper and 4.5-inch black leather heel, MOLLY will add some cheer to any bombshell party dress.  Create your own Milk & Honey shoes at www.milkandhoneyshoes.com!

Q&A With Naya Shoe Designer Kasey Gibbs

Here’s a new shoe line with a conscious that I have been following for some time.  If you’ve been reading my blog you might be familiar with the brand, as I have written about Naya a couple of times before.  I currently own two pairs – the Telluride (Spring 2010) and Bakula (Fall 2010).  Naya keeps producing gorgeous, eco-friendly styles that are as kind to your feet as they are to the earth (and did I mention, they’re GORGEOUS).  The brand’s designer Kasey Gibbs took the time to have a phone chat with me and answer some questions about going green, her latest collections, and what she looks for in a shoe.  Read on for more!

What was the hardest thing about going green?

It’s really a paradigm shift for people because for so long it’s been about economies of scale and how to make lots of shoes, make them as fast as is physically possible, and with that territory comes shortcuts that are maybe not as healthy for the environment.  It’s a big shift, and the best thing that’s come out of that is that I have vendors now coming to me knocking on my door saying, ‘we see what you guys are doing, we want to be a part of this’.  It might be less expensive (going green) because you’re saving materials and you’re not having to spend so much money on raw materials.

What inspired your spring collection?

We look at what’s happening in the fashion world, and then we add a little Naya-tude to it.  We’ve got open-toed ankle booties and sandals that have a very organic look, as opposed to being very round or square or geometric, and we’ve done it in a very soft and feminine and an organic way.  It almost looks like lace.  And then we’ve got another group that harkens back to tribal details.  We’ve got a lot of beautiful shoes with lacing treatments on them that have that sort of huarache-esque look but they’re not huarache shoes.  We’ve got slingbacks and cute little flats.  And then drawing out from nature, we’ve got a whole group of shoes with interlaced pieces that look like a leaf coming up the front of the foot.  They’re beautiful.

And on the heights of the heels, are you going to have a variety or are you going in a certain direction?

We do have some higher heels.  Our customer is obviously looking for comfort as well as beautiful shoes, so we have a lot of mid-heel heights as well.  Our highest heel is about 3 1/2 inches high with the platform.

What is your favorite shoe from the spring collection?

We have a group of shoes with a tie-dyed flower on them.  And I call them the Sugar Magnolia collection.  There’s a lot of color to them, and it makes them really beautiful.  We have a lot of natural colors in the line but we also think the Naya customer is looking for unique colors.  We’ve got a really great red we call venom, a hot mustard color, a really beautiful bright green (for later in the season), and a lot of dusty turquoises and roses.

Back to the fall collection, which shoe is your favorite?

The Bakula, which is a platform pump with an origami flower on the side of it.  I wear it during the weekend, to brunch, and all the time during the week.  With skirts, with pleated pants and high-waisted pants, love it.  The boots are just great too, and I love the Nefertiti.  Every woman loves the Briar (same heel height as the bakula) with a tie across the top of it with beautiful metallics, and I have a feeling we have to vote that as the number one shoe in the line for fall.

What do you find the most attractive about shoes?

For me, I look for the details.  I don’t work in an industry where I have to be around customers all the time, and my job entails packing boxes and running around and working in a more creative environment, so I look for shoes to go with what I’ve already got and are really attitude pieces.  A shoe can completely change an outfit, and it’s the details that set people apart, whether it’s a gigantic cocktail ring or a pair of amazing shoes with a great heel or shape. They don’t have to be high but something really amazing and beautiful.

What’s next for Naya?

The brand is so new, right now what we’re focusing on is what we can do with the communities.  We’re working on Recycle America Day later in the month of November.  We’re also tag-teaming with Soles4Souls, and at Shoes.com if you order a pair of shoes, a little card comes in the box that says if you put a gently used  pair of shoes in this box and send it back, we’ll donate it to Souls4Soles for someone that’s less advantaged that needs footwear, and then they’ll give you a tax write-off as well as a coupon to buy more shoes.  It’s a nudge to do the right thing and to get new shoes.  We’re working on what’s going to happen for Earth Day next year, because launching the brand on Earth Day was a big success for us and we were able to plant 5,000 trees.  We think the brand does have potential as a lifestyle brand so we’re starting to explore that.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Naya shoes are beautiful AND comfortable, and they soften your footprint.  I stand behind this message – I drive a hybrid vehicle, I compost, recycle, we pay energy credits in my household, so we really stand behind the brand in that respect, as well as making sure the shoes are beautiful and comfortable.

Thanks to Kasey and Naya Shoes for taking the time for this interview!  Naya is definitely on my brand watch list.  You can learn more at NayaShoes.com, and shop the collection at Shoes.com.

Talking Beauty and Shoes with Nigel Barker

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Nigel Barker, renowned fashion photographer and judge of America’s Next Top Model.  His new book, Nigel Barker’s Beauty Equation, offers beauty and fashion tips for every woman so she can be her best and most beautiful, from the inside out. But the book is much more than just an informative read – it prompts readers to get interactive online at www.beautyequation.com and share their photos and feelings!  So what does this post have to do with shoes?  Read on to find out (Nigel has a thing for shoes!), and to learn a bit more about the book.

Can you tell us about Beauty Equation…how do you define beauty?

The purpose of the book was to discuss beauty from an inner beauty attribute standpoint.  All too often these days, when the conversation comes up, it’s often to do with skin-deep issues, and cosmetic surgery, do you have perfect skin, are you a certain size, height, build.  As someone who works in the business of fashion and beauty, I think we have to distinguish between the modeling business and being truly beautiful.  To capture a photograph that is iconic and timeless has nothing to do with if you’re a model or not.  It has to do with the life you’re leading and your spontaneity, charisma and authenticity.  Those are the things that, as a photographer, if you can capture them, bring your picture to life.  When you utilize them as a person, you have the potential to be the beautiful people we can all be.”

One of the exciting things about the book is we’ve created at the end of each chapter a series of photo challenges, video challenges and written challenges and through a form of art therapy we call Photo Therapy, we ask the readers to examine themselves by taking photos of themselves embodying the attributes in these chapters, and uploading the photos to our website beautyequation.com where they can share their portfolios or keep them private.  If they share them, then they can really start this conversation about beauty with the whole community.

How does beauty come through for you when you’re taking a photo/on film?

Your eyes are the windows to your soul. It doesn’t matter what your facade looks like if you’re not shining through your eyes, emoting, and lack passion or that spark.  In a good photograph, you look at it, you believe it, you trust it, you’re drawn in by it.  That’s why we talk so much about personality on Top Model.

What do you think about the re-emergence of more curvaceous, “real” women walking the runways and being featured in fashion editorials?  Is this something that will stick?

I think things are changing, however the fashion business is trend-driven and things are going to come in and out of style, and we’ve had curvy models in the past.  But I think advertising as a whole is taking a different look on the issue, and we don’t have so much curvy girls, but real women in general, whether they’re curvy, or flat chested, or boyish-shaped or older or younger, and I think that’s a healthy outlook.  It’s about using common sense and promoting a healthy attitude and lifestyle instead of a body-mass index.

NOW ONTO SHOES…

How important are high heels to a woman’s appearance, and tell me about this rumor I’ve heard that you have a shoe fetish…?

I am fascinated by shoes, in fact, I buy all my wife’s heels. Even this morning she told me about a pair of heels she wanted to buy and I said, ‘Wait a second, let me check this out’, because I have a thing about feet and shoes in general.  In fact, people have told me that I have a foot fetish.  I also have a heel fetish.  I love the construction of women’s shoes, it’s very smart engineering and beautifully done, and I like anything that is well-styled.  A good heel is something that’s hard to come by, and when it’s done well…I’ve spent a small fortune in Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo in the past!

Christian Louboutin Hyper Prive Peep-Toe Pumps, $865 at SaksFifthAvenue.com

Does that mean Christian Louboutin your favorite designer, er, your wife’s favorite shoe designer?

Yes, I would definitely say he would be my favorite designer, for sure.

What tips can you give our readers for walking gracefully in high heels? And looking great in a photograph in general?

I have been fairly shocked by how badly some people walk in heels!  I’m not a cross-dresser but I have tried to walk in [heels] and I actually did a pretty good job! (laughing) It’s one of those things, you’ve gotta kind of commit to it, work through the pain.  Realize this is what you’re signing up for.  When you stand on your toes, it immediately gives you extra height, and what happens to is it makes all of your muscles tense and tighten look tauter, and your physicality is accentuated.  And it works fantastically in pictures, and in fact, sometimes when I’m photographing a model above the neck, I’ll ask them to put heels on because it changes the look in thier face.

That makes total sense, because when I put on a pair of heels, I instantly feel more confident.  And I bet my readers would say the same!  Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about what charities you’re passionate about, and what other projects you have in the works?

I shot Runway Relief last month, which was an ad campaign for Nine West where the proceeds being raised went to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.  It’s a lot of fun and poignant when various elements of the fashion industry can collide and do something which is more about being a role model than a fashion model.  And as a personal note, I just signed up as the first male ambassador for the United Nation Foundation’s new charity Girl Up, just launched at the beginning of October.  I’m also working on a documentary film for the Humane Society of the United States and the Shark-Free Marina Initiative, an initiative to stop shark finning.

We’re already working on our next book, called Blossoming Beauties (click for a sneak peek!), a compilation of pregnant nude photographs that I’ve taken over the past two years.  Over 60 women of all different walks of life are featured, all in black and white, and it’s a piece to really celebrate pregnancy in all its glory, and life in general.  I have two kids of my own, and my wife appears in the book pregnant with both children. The book should be released by September of next year.

Thanks so much, Nigel!

More ways to keep up with Nigel Barker:

Website: NigelBarker.tv

Twitter: @beautyequation

Facebook Page

Q&A With Up-And-Coming Shoe Designer Ryan Haber

“I want women to feel powerful in my shoes, feel sexy, feel unstoppable.”

Finally, a footwear designer who understands the love affair women have with their shoes!  I first discovered Ryan Haber on Twitter (@RyanHaber), where his tagline is “You can tell a lot about a woman by the shoes on her feet.”  Ryan has worked for both Steve Madden and BCBGMAXAZRIA, and now he’s taking on the industry with his debut women’s footwear collection, which will be available for purchase at ryanhabercollection.com this December.  We’ll all have to wait just a little bit to get our hands on the shoes, but stay tuned because this is an American designer to watch.  Keep reading for my exclusive Q&A with Ryan, and a peek at one of the shoes! (scroll down)

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Sammy Davis Talks Vintage Shoes

A few days ago I took a trip to the Sammy D Vintage showroom, and Sammy herself shared with me a few interesting facts about shopping for vintage shoes.  You’d be surprised how many spring and fall trends mimic looks from the past.  And it’s easy to incorporate vintage shoes into your wardrobe.  Just check out the videos below!  I bought the beaded white heels you see!

Interview: Trish Dishes About Her Love of Wedge Heels

Giuseppe Zanotti I96056 (Blue) wedges ($481.14)

Today I’d like to focus on a style I rarely feature: the wedge.  From sky-scraping designer wedges to low, modest cork wedges, there are thousands of styles available!  Many times I find myself at a loss for what to wear with this unique style of shoe.  To be completely honest, wedges aren’t my favorite style; I prefer platform pumps and stiletto heels.  But I do understand their value (hey, comfort and height and better balance), so maybe it’s time to delve deeper into how to choose the perfect pair and how to wear them.  This is where my friend Trish comes in.

Trish is a wedge enthusiast who has written a comprehensive Wedge Shoes Guide, and who originally approached me for a link exchange and just to chat about shoes.  She has some great advice when it comes to picking the right wedges for your lifestyle and tastes.  Read below the break to learn how to do wedges right, plus see a few of her favorite wedges and where you can buy them online!  Readers, I’d like to make this a regular feature on Shoe Smitten – to bring on “experts” or “enthusiasts” who are versed in shoe design or shoe fashion.  If you’d like to be interviewed, email me!

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Interview With Lydia of The Golden Boot

Street view of The Golden Boot in England

The Golden Boot is a shoe store in England that has been around for more than 200 years, and has just started a new website for their shoes.  I interviewed Lydia of The Golden Boot (online store: www.thegoldenboot.co.uk) to find out more about the history of this store, and here’s what she had to say:

I see The Golden Boot has been around for over 200 years! Can you please tell us a little about the store and what makes it unique?

The Golden Boot is the oldest independent shoe retailer in England.  Established in 1790 it has remained in the same family throughout its long history, and the sixth generation- Edward Martin is now Managing Director of the store.  Our diverse range of stock is what makes our shop unique. Our buyers source from all over Europe and beyond whilst remaining loyal to traditional English shoe making. It is really important for us to offer something a little different and to provide fantastic and traditional customer service.

How do the shoes available at the brick-and-mortar store differ from those on the website?

We offer the same range of shoes online as we do in our store because it is product that we know and from brands that we and our customers trust. It is very important for us to get a realistic idea of how each style fits and so on delivery the staff happily try everything on and offer great feedback on the styles we are putting online.

Do you have a favorite shoe fashion icon?

My favourite shoe icon would have to be Rupert Sanderson.  His designs are always crisp and sleek, understated and very flattering.

Panoramic picture of the ladies section in The Golden Boot

Are there any speial online sales going on right now that my readers should know about? (And can we offer Shoe Smitten readers a special discount code?)

We do have our end of season sale on at the moment, we have a selection of Ladies shoes at great discounted price. If Shoe Smitten readers use the code “exclusive” in the promotion box they will be entitled to an extra 10% off the entire sale.

Can you share with us a few of your bestselling womens and mens styles?

Our best sellers for ladies this season have been-
Romika Ethnic, which was a really popular summer mule, it literally sold out in the lime green in a matter of days.
Birkenstocks have had a great season this year, we find that the floral patterned styles are the most popular.
Gabor Stand, a classic summer pump with leather knot detailing, it came in white, red and black and received a great reaction in store.
Our best sellers for mens this season have been-
Anantomic Gel Tapajos, a really comfortable shoe from a company that is at the forefront of comfort technology.
Pikolinos Tibet, a continental and casual style typically Spanish.
Timberland 72565, a classic deck shoe, perfect for the summer months.

What would you change about the current shoe retail industry?

I think I would like to see more independent retailers offering something a little different.  Every High Street shoe brand offers the same styles and from the same settings. I think that little companies offer great product and add character to the trade.

What’s next for The Golden Boot?

At present we are getting ready for the Back to School rush, our busiest period of the year. We are also going to be doing lots more work on our website, getting all the new AW 2009 range available to buy from the site and working hard to offer a unique range of shoes.

Thanks Lydia!  Visit www.thegoldenboot.co.uk to learn more and view the assortment of shoes The Golden Boot has to offer.