All good things must come to an end, and of course everyone deserves to retire at some point. Such is the case with legendary designer Stuart Weitzman. After more than 50 years in the shoe business, he is stepping away from his company and Spring 2018 is the last collection he designed for the brand.
He has a long history in the shoe industry. His family was in the shoe business and he began working in his dad’s factory after graduating from Wharton School of Business in 1963. After his father’s passing, he went into business with his brother, inspired by work he had done sketching shoes for extra money in college.
He started his own eponymous line in 1986. His shoes were different because yes, they are expensive, but they sit on the shelf with other luxury brands like Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin at half the price. He still provided the same quality, comfort, and designs. Not only is he a talented designer, he is also a savvy businessman. Befitting his Ivy League credentials, he bought his own factories to help control production and costs. He was also ahead of the curve on putting celebrities in his shoes. It is hard to find a star who hasn’t worn the nudist on a red carpet and we all remember the million dollar pair of shoes from the Oscars.
I will admit, it took me a long time to start carrying this line at The Shoe Hive. In the beginning, they would not have carried to my store, but after a few years under my belt (eight, I think it was), I decided to give it a try. It was the year when everyone was wearing his wedges in the summer; they were on the pages of every style magazine and seemed to be on the feet of all my customers. It took some convincing but I finally secured the line.
I remember the first time walking into the showroom. I could tell it was just a different level of company. I felt like I had just been called up from the minors for the big leagues. The facility was breathtaking and there were rooms and rooms of shoes. Honestly, it was intimidating. To my left was the longtime buyer from Harrods, and across the room was the perfectly dressed team of buyers from Neiman Marcus. I felt a little star struck.
I had the pleasure of meeting Stuart Weitzman on one trip to market. I was sitting with my rep looking at the collection, she says, “Hey Stu,” without really looking up. They chit-chatted casually and I thought, “this must be Stu from accounting.” Nope, it was Stuart Weitzman. He was so kind and gracious — and perfectly dressed. I think a movie star would have left me less tongue tied.
As you’d expect, I was devastated when they announced the legend was leaving.
In February I saw the first collection, Fall 2018, designed by new creative director Giovanni Morelli. As we all knew he would, he left his legacy in good hands and this line is here to stay.
Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.
The Shoe Hive The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street 301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 Alexandria, VA 22314