CAMP at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

May 19, 2019 § Leave a comment

“Camp tends to come during times of cultural instability.” Andrew Bolton, curator of The Costume Exhibit

Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England by Neil McKenna

I really love this exhibit at The Met right now. It beautifully encompasses for me everything that’s wonderful about fashion. Is it perfect? Probably not, but that doesn’t make it any less special. The exhibit was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 Notes On “Camp” She wrote Many things in the world have not been named; and many things, even if they have been named, have never been described. One of these is the sensibility — unmistakably modern, a variant of sophistication but hardly identical with it — that goes by the cult name of “Camp.”

A Very This-Season Guide to Susan Sontag’s Essay “Notes on Camp”

More Treasures Discovered

April 23, 2014 § 6 Comments

My sister who lives in my grandfather’s former home in Florida found a few shoes stored in her garage. 1 pair of I. Miller, 1 pair of Daniel Green and 1 Crik-etts. The I. Miller and Daniel Green look like they’re from the 1930’s. It’s a mystery as to why he would have saved them since he didn’t leave Schwartz & Benjamin until the 1940’s and joined I. Miller in the 1950’s. They look like samples to me — too small to belong to my grandmother Rose. They may have been his designs that were copied (Patent). Unfortunately with the relentless Florida humidity the shoes are in sad shape.


Grandpa's House

















Weejuns – The Original Penny Loafer

April 12, 2014 § 17 Comments

When I think of my favorite shoes growing up 3 come to mind. My huaraches from Mexico.  My dad taught us to stand in the bathtub with them on and then wear until dry so they could conform to your feet. My moccasins that were sent to us every year — I always thought from a friend of my dad’s at Minnetonka. I only just recently learned that my Dad had worked as a designer and stylist for Minnehaha (a contemporary or Minnetonka) in the 1950’s — one of the advantages of having a dad in the shoe business who was well liked was the shoes that came with that. Read more about my dad who would wake us up singing “there’s no business like shoe business ” —  Ode To An Older Parent And Tribute To The Veteran In My Life  by award winning Television writer sister Liz Benjamin.  It pretty much says it all.


…and my 3rd favorite were my Penny Loafers. Going to school in Florida I  wore them without socks and always with 2 new Pennies.


Courtesy Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-USW3-039059-E (b&w film nitrate neg.) LC-DIG-fsa-8d33850 (digital file from original neg.)


Loafing Around | A Brief History of Fashion’s Favorite Flat


In 1936 George Henry Bass created the first Penny Loafer based on a Norwegian farm shoe and called them Weejuns.


Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn


College Days. My mother is the first woman on the bottom holding the cigarette.

College Days. My mother is the first woman bottom left.

What is the rule about wearing white?

April 2, 2014 § 16 Comments

It seems every Spring and Summer I notice my friends with Southern roots get out their white pants. The only fashion rule I remember from my eclectic childhood was no shorts in Manhattan – period. Looking back through family films and photos it’s clear that this was a rule strictly followed at one time. After some googling I found Memorial Day to Labor Day is the rule and no white clothes after Labor Day. I also learned that Emily Post gave the ok to continue wearing white after Labor Day.  


Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day – Time Magazine


Still from Family Film Footage.  Somewhere in Long Island

Still from family film footage. Somewhere in Long Island.

How to Wear White After Labor Day: Ten Pieces for Fall – Vogue


Still from Family Film Footage.  Somewhere in Long Island.

Still from family film footage. Somewhere in Long Island.


My grandmother holding my father.

My grandmother holding my dad.

How Much Has Footwear Fashion Really Changed?

February 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Flapper Girl, 1922.

Flapper Girl 1922 Courtesy of The Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-38343 (b&w film copy neg.)

Flapper Girl 1922
Courtesy The Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-38343
(b&w film copy neg.)

Frye dorado

Frye dorado – short

Spanish Boots 1967


Courtesy Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ds-01025 (digital file from original item)

New York, 2014

NYC 2014

Boots, 1920


Bootlegs Courtesy Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-97065
(b&w film copy neg.)

Foolish Fashion 1914

Foolish Fashion  1914

Courtesy Library of Congress Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-28047


January 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

Library of Congress: Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-131972 (b&w film copy neg.)

Boston: Library of Congress:
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-131972 (b&w film copy neg.)


In England you always heard Boston is the Shoe Center of this country, so I was anxious to get to Boston, see what it was like. I kept finding jobs and the union wouldn’t give me a permit to go to work. That’s why I came back to New York.  – Ben Benjamin



Before he left Schwartz & Benjamin my grandfather went back to Boston.

Shoe Factories Lynn Mass Library of Congress: LOT 2913 (F) [P&P]

Shoe Factories Lynn Mass
Library of Congress: LOT 2913 (F) [P&P]

A couple years before I got out, before we moved into New York City. We talked it over, Ben Schwartz & I, about starting a factory out of town instead of NY. See? It was getting impossible to lead the business there because of the unions and their demands.  Prices kept on going up higher, and new machinery was coming into place. So people out of town who made cheap shoes could make better shoes than what they were making with the new equipment. So we went. We went to Lynn, and Boston and St. Louis, Cincinnati. We went all around. When I came back we sat down and talked it over. I says Ben, after seeing all the towns, I think Lynn is the best place of the lot. A lot of the shoe factories have went out of business there. Not good shoemakers like we’ve got in New York, but they could be trained–taught to make better shoes. After I got out, Ben Schwartz did finally go to Lynn.  – Ben Benjamin

Dora Benjamin

Dora Benjamin (sister)

Lynn Museum

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