If you are a lover of shoes, you should know who Jane Weitzman is. She is the wife of the acclaimed shoe designer, Stuart Weitzman, but this is not why she is famous. She was the executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman and the first vice president of Stuart Weitzman retail. For decades, she designed the famous window displays of “art shoes” at the Stuart Weitzman flagship store on Madison Ave in New York City. As the company grew, she would take the shoes to the other Stuart Weitzman stores for display.
Upon entering, I was greeted by the sales associates with a smile and excitement about the evening ahead. Jane Weitzman stood at a counter in the center of the store signing a stack of her new book Art & Sole. She looked inviting, yet busy wearing bright red reading glasses and a charcoal gray shift dress adorned with an enchanting silver Lion of Judah pin. After a bit of hesitation, I approached her and introduced myself with a few copies of the book in my hand. (Yes, I bought a few since I was surprised the cost was only $30 each.) After spelling my name for her, she pronounced it correctly (which always surprises me) and seem extremely excited to meet the founder of Memphis Fashion Group and agreed to do an interview.
CR: “Why did you decided to produced this book?”
JW: “I couldn’t continue to travel with the delicate shoes to all of our stores after we reached a certain number of stores. People would ask “Where are the shoes?”, so I decided to produce a coffee table book with photos and illustration of the shoes I used in the windows. I felt this would be a great opportunity to raise money for charities. ”
CR: “What charities are you supporting with the proceeds?”
JW: “Many charities! This book will support breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness, battered women, etc. The proceeds from the month of October will go to breast cancer research and awareness.”
CR: “Where do you find the artist who made the shoes featured in this book?”
JW: “I searched everywhere for the artists. Many came to me after they heard about the window displays.”
CR: “I love that this beautiful book is so affordable. Most books of this caliber are a lot more expensive. Art & Sole will be a great gift for someone who loves fashion, shoes, and art.”
JW: “Yes, many coffee table books are large but I wanted people to buy it so I made this one smaller so it could be affordable. I want to be able to support the charities instead of producing a book many people won’t buy.”
The Art & Sole book is a piece of art on its own. The bright red cover and gold edges on the pages matches the text on the front and bind. The colors are a great combination that will definitely catch the eye as the shoes once did in the windows of Stuart Weitzman stores. Inside there are vibrant photos of all types of art shoes ranging from ones made from flowers, ones inspired by animals and storybook characters such as The Wizard of Oz. There are also shoes intricately designed with wire and gemstones. The last pages of Art & Sole provides short bios of the artist and thumbnail photos of each shoe they created underneath.