Andy Warhol | Shoe Illustrations.

March 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

New York Times, April 17th, 1955

When most people think of Andy Warhol they think of his Campbell Soup cans or his Marilyn Monroe portrait, but when I think of Andy Warhol I think of his shoe illustrations and that he was the chief illustrator in the 1950s for I. Miller shoes when my grandfather was the General Manager. I like to think they may have worked together, but lately, I look at this shoe ad of one of my grandfather’s designs and I have to wonder did he illustrate it? The photos below were taken at The Whitney Museum of Art. The Warhol exhibit is running through the end of March. I was struck by how prolific he was as an artist and how at the time he was creating his pop art many didn’t think it was art and I assume there are some now that still don’t, but regardless of what you think about his art, he captured the 20th century creating a better time capsule for future generations than one could ever have imagined through his portraits, illustrations, and films.

New York Times, March 4th, 1956

The Historialist Of Shoes And Shoemakers: Ben Benjamin I. Miller

Ben Benjamin, General Manager I. Miller

straphangers – 1952

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment



Surfing Thongs

July 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

Esther Williams

Esther Williams

Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida there wasn’t whole lot of surfing going on. We still had a surf shop though and lived by the beach, so spent most of our time in flip flops or zoris, which is what my dad called them. I remember when Surfing Thongs became popular. There wasn’t  anything that had that cushiony feel when you walked. They were light, but thick. I loved them. Now that summer’s here and we’re getting ready to make our annual exodus from the city to visit Grandma in Florida I find myself reminiscing about the first time I tried a pair on. How unusual they seemed from the regular flip flops we would buy at the five & dime store near the beach. No wonder now my favorite summer shoe is Ginger by Reef.

Ginger by Reef


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.

I. Miller Shoes

March 16, 2014 § 14 Comments

In 1952 my grandfather Ben Benjamin became the General Manager for the I. Miller Shoe Company.

I. Miller – A Little Jewel Box of a Shoe Store, New York Times Feb. 10th, 2008

Follow up to the 2008 New York Times article:  At Restored Landmark in Times Square, Mixing ‘Brash and Beautiful’


Andy Warhol

New York Times, April 17th, 1955

I. Miller Shoe Advertisement from The New York Times, April 17th, 1955.

Andy Warhol found early success as a commercial artist and was hired by I. Miller as their chief illustrator in the 1950’s.

I. Miller Article


I. Miller Ad


B.Benjamin Bio 1954






Courtesy The Library of Congress: Reproduction Number: LC-G612-T-36355-B,Call Number: LC-G612- 36355-B <p&p> [P&P] Date Created/Published: 1939 Oct. 21.

Thinking of Warmer Days

March 11, 2014 § 9 Comments

Winter in New York City is messy.  I just got back from a lovely visit with family in sunny California.  The day I left it snowed and the day I returned it snowed.  I’m ready to shed my winter layers and put my sandals on.   I fantasize about moving somewhere warmer.




For now though, while still deep into this unusual and painful arctic winter – I thought I would indulge myself with some images of Summer.


St. Petersburg, Florida


Bathing beaches – New York beauties at Atlantic City carnival Sept. 8 1922


Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Roxy McGowan and Mary Thurman in bathing suits, Mack Sennett Productions Courtesy The Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-97733

Roxy McGowan and Mary Thurman in bathing suits, Mack Sennett Productions c.1918


Treasure Island, Florida

Bata Shoes

February 17, 2014 § 2 Comments

I’m embarrassed to admit on a blog about shoes that I had really never heard of Bata shoes.

Herbert Levine c.1962-64 – The Bata Shoe Museum

120 Years of Bata Advertising


I was telling my husband about a shoe museum I’d found in Toronto Canada called The Bata Shoe Museum when he pulled out a childhood photo from Peru. He told me he had begged his mother for the shoes he’s wearing in it — his Wayfinder Shoes by Bata. Embedded in the heal was a compass that fell out after only wearing them a few times.  He remembered the stores were all over Lima.

Lima, 1973

Lima, 1973



More about the Wayfinder shoe


Bata Rimac, Lima Peru

Bata Rimac, Lima Peru

The company Bata shoes was founded in 1894 in Czechoslovakia and was one of the first real shoe manufacturerers.  If you’d like to know more about the history of Bata Shoes click the link here.

History|Bata shoes for all



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 26, 2014 § 4 Comments


Disney World, 1972

I recently found this fabulous photo of my mother–no wonder she ran kicking and screaming from Manhattan when my grandfather retired to Florida, and we followed. I love the clogs she’s wearing.  It reminded me of a store on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg we use to visit that only sold Scandinavian products called  The Straw Goat.


Beach Drive, St. Petersburg, Florida

I will definitely be writing more at a later date on my mother who was voted Dream Girl at The University of Wisconsin.  Feeling nostalgic on this snowy day I decided to take a trip to one of my favorite places — The Scandinavia House.










Luigino Rossi

January 23, 2014 § 2 Comments

Copyright All rights reserved by studio venezia

Copyright All rights reserved by studio venezia

childhood memories

Luigino Rossi  and my father Arthur Benjamin worked together in the (1970’s).  Mr. Rossi told my Dad about finding a hidden room behind a wall in his home in Italy filled with paintings and one looked just like me. I’ll never know if it was true, but what a fun story to tell a child.  I never forgot it.

Museo Rossimoda della calzatura__


Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota, Florida

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