A sample of Art and Sole by Jane Gershon Weitzman was sent to me last week making me smile all day as I flipped through the fantasy shoes. I was also lucky enough to interview the author, Jane Weitzman, wife of Stuart Weitzman for local luxury magazine, South Florida Opulence.
Mrs. Weitzman worked on the displays of the very first Stuart Weitzman store on Madison Avenue in the mid-1990s. She filled her book, Art & Sole with some of her favorites from those windows. The shoes are not meant to be worn, but instead meant to be appreciated. They are made from feathers, paper, ceramic, metal, resin, playing cards, corrugated cardboard, Swarovski crystals, even fresh flowers and frosting.
The vibrant red cover and gold edges make Art & Sole an eye catching coffee table book and easily enjoyed by shoe lovers and art aficionados alike. Art & Sole makes a great Valentine’s Day gift for loved ones, friends, family and coworkers.
Mrs. Weitzman said, “I took a chance…ninety-five percent of the shop windows in the world are product and signage…” Mrs. Weitzman said, adding that it was risky to do, but ultimately very successful. “The women loved the shoes in the window…It made the made the women ask, ‘What are they selling?’” Mrs. Weitzman added.
Jane Gershon Weitzman started her hunt for artists in New York City, riding many freight elevators in lower Manhattan in the search. As the need for new artists grew, Mrs. Weitzman began traveling around the country looking for artisans to make fantasy shoes for the window displays.
The window display changed monthly, exhibiting a different artist and theme every month. One of the artists that was displayed several times in the windows of Madison Avenue Stuart Weitzman was Robert Tabor. He created a New York City themed display of yellow taxis and the Radio Flyer red wagon made out of acrylic, vinyl, various trims, and rhinestones. Tabor’s training in costume design shows in the intricately constructed Wizard of Oz characters and the Shower Shoe.
The Weitzman family still owns most of the shoes in Art & Sole, but some shoes were not made to last, like the ones made by florist, Jane Carroll. The Petal Pushers were made from pink calla lilies with ranunculus, hydrangea, florets, and lamb’s ear. “[Jane Carroll] showed us how to mist the flowers and she came in and touched them up periodical with real flowers.”
In her forward, Mrs. Weitzman stated that “The windows became a destination….” You can relive the artistry of those days through her new book, Art & Sole, available now. You can buy Art & Sole here!