VMSD - February 2014 - (Page 68)
Interview by Steve Kaufman
Jane Gershon Weitzman
Her new book explores her various love affairs: with art, store windows, shoes and Stuart
You're known for creating store windows for Stuart Weitzman shoes that were more
art than merchandise. Where did that begin?
In Chicago. We opened at 900 North Michigan in 1999, during the Cows on Parade
festival. An artist put Swarovski crystals on our cow and then created a whole window
around that cow, even painting cows on some of the shoes.
And you began doing these amazing art creations of shoes in all your windows?
Nearly 90 percent of the store windows I've seen are just merchandise. To me, retailing
is a creative endeavor and I wanted to do things other people didn't do.
Did the windows attract store traffic?
We think so. Tim Fortuna, who was our last visual guy, and I used to love standing on
Madison Avenue and listening to the comments.
People got the joke?
Most of them. Invariably, of course, someone would come in and say, "I'd love to see
that paper shoe in a 7." But it had brought her into the store.
the shoes make up quite an art
collection. Do you still have them all?
In the beginning, I sold them off and used
the money for the next window.
I had no idea that the company would
ever grow so much. I certainly never
dreamed that there would be a book.
And I never thought of them as an "art
collection." I thought of them merely as
builders of the Stuart Weitzman brand.
How did the collection evolve?
We used to have a branding campaign called "The Art of Stuart Weitzman,"
photographing Stuart's shoes with artists' sculptures. I traveled around with a young
Israeli photographer named Tali Katzurin to find sculptured pieces to use in the ads. I
got to know artists, who eventually were asked to make fantasy shoes for our windows.
Is your book about all the art shoes you've featured in your window?
Yes, of more than a thousand that we actually used. They're made of everything -
ceramics, glass, twigs, feathers, paper, little metal washers and springs. And I think it's
the shapes and little bits of whimsy that make them so memorable.
Several reviews of your book have cited Lady Gaga. She has certainly brought
attention to outrageous footwear.
I don't think she could wear our shoes. The important thing to remember is they're not
footwear, they're art.
How did you and Stuart meet?
We were living in the same apartment building in Boston. He was in his family's shoe
manufacturing business. I was managing a local bookstore.
And now you're back in the book world.
Life can be funny - and unpredictable. x
68 FEBRUARY 2014 | vmsd.com
SHOe: LuCaS ZarebinSki, new YOrk; POrtrait: MeLani LuSt, new YOrk
The Shoes in Stuart
You've accumulated a lot of these artist-designed shoes in your new book, "Art &
Yes, the book comprises about 150 different art shoes by different artists that we've used
over the years.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - February 2014
VMSD - February 2014
FROM THE EDITOR
VMSD EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
IT’S A WRAP
YOUNG, QUIRKY AND COLORFUL
HUNTING FOR THE PERFECT EXPERIENCE
VMSD - February 2014