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.
In 1936 George Henry Bass created the first Penny Loafer based on a Norwegian farm shoe and called them Weejuns.
February 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
February 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
Dale’s Shoes was a shoe store that belonged to a friend of my dad’s named Paulette Paul. My sisters and I called her Aunt Paulette. I remember her father had owned a pharmacy in Manhattan or Brooklyn before she moved to Florida. When I saw this post on Reddit by Reddit member Oktober75 about a family shoe store that had been closed for 40 years, it reminded me of Aunt Paulette. Not her store, but the lost shoes. Her store was bright and colorful and we were always greeted by her cocker spaniel. I remember the large windows that shined sunlight into it. She mostly sold Pappagallo shoes, but also dresses, jewelry and handbags. The store was in Tampa and for a child the ride from St. Petersburg was torture, so arriving at her shop was a treat for us. My older sister remembered a pizza restaurant next door that sold groovy lollipops and my mother said we would get our Mary Jane’s there. When I was a teenager and Aunt Paulette needed to clean out her storeroom she gave me at least 6 or 7 shoe boxes of Pappagallo paisley pumps and a pair of Pappagallo red loafers.
January 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Then I created a little pump with a certain bow on it…and that’s what kept us busy…Well that little shoe, forget now what the name… we had a name for it…And I kept on creating new things and I’ll never forget one shoe I created. A step in, kind of an open throat, I remember crossing the instep…there was a piece. There was no, no going there but it had a square on one tag and I got a hold of some buttons, brass buttons, some with pearl, with a loop in the back see? And uh…I put 4 buttonholes and I made the leather different on one side to two of the other. I had been sick. I went down to Bermuda for a few days just when the style show was on. Ben Schwartz cabled me in Bermuda. I forget the name of that shoe now. He says the shoes gotten over big, very big. Now I had patented that design but first thing I knew everyone started to copy it. All Manufacturers. But we did a lot with it. You had to sue them and we didn’t have that much money. We were a small company, see? Cost you and dragged on for 2 or 3 years. By the time the trial comes up the style is all gone, over. Wasn’t worth it. After a while I stopped patenting styles. It didn’t pay. – Ben Benjamin
January 9, 2014 § 2 Comments
Love Bill Cunningham! Take a look at what he captured on the streets this week in the video below.
…and here are a few pictures I took in the city on Wednesday when the temperatures had warmed up just a bit. I think it was in the 20’s.
Manhattan January 9th, 2014
East 58th Street
Nine West, Lexington Ave.
Kenneth Cole, Lexington Avenue _