Shoe Shopping With Author Rachelle Bergstein
Women seem to shop for shoes in one of two mindsets – one, they need to find a shoe to fill a void in their closet. Or, two, they have the means to buy shoes purely to make a statement or in appreciation of the beauty of the shoe. I realized this during my shopping date with author Rachelle Bergstein, who has just published her first book, “Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us.” It is a fun and witty look at the way women’s shoes have evolved throughout the twentieth century. Even more fascinating is how the evolution of the shoe mimics the change in women’s roles throughout history—the growth of women’s self-confidence. Shopping with Rachelle, who spent four years researching the history of women’s shoes, was not only fun but also quite educational.
In her day-to-day life, Rachelle is a city girl who is always seeking the perfect balance between fashion and function. She prefers wedges or flats due to her lifestyle, but appreciates a beautiful heel as well… preferably a platform. And with her fashion sense shaped during the Grunge era of the Nineties, Rachelle favors edgier shoes that mix both masculine and feminine elements. So it is no surprise that Rachelle was immediately drawn to the Jimmy Choo studded smoking loafers. She loves the style, and the studding keeps them edgy, but above all else they offer the “perfect mix of comfort and style.” With a guilty look she admits, “I don’t wear flats as often as I probably should.”
After discussing the functionality of shoes, Rachelle was captivated by the amazing Christian Louboutin display. She was drawn to the rich color of a beautiful green Very Prive Python Pump. “How did Louboutin manage to use both red and green without making it look like Christmas? The layered leather scales are a wonderful example of his artistry. The shape of this pump—the very high heel balanced by a noticeable front platform—is probably the most popular silhouette in footwear right now. It’s classic Louboutin.”
In passing the Manolo Blahnik table, Rachelle called attention to the iconic silver Sedarby d’Orsay. “This shoe was featured in the Sex and The City episode ‘A Woman’s Right to Shoes’ in which Carrie famously argues that it can be hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes, so she needs to have special ones.” Rachelle also has a little ink drawing of the Sedarby in her book. A very special shoe indeed.
With fans beginning to line up for her book signing in the Ladies Shoe Salon of NM Paramus, Rachelle hurried over to the Giuseppe Zanotti table. She held up a very sparkly, very pink heelless shoe. “OK, I think the heelless shoes that Alexander McQueen and Zanotti have done are amazing architecturally, but I have a hard time imagining the woman who wears these. Celebrities are often in competition to try out the most outrageous, most editorial looks, and Victoria Beckham, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga have all stepped out in heelless shoes… but I’m very curious if regular women will be willing to give them a try. I was recently in South Beach where women wear crazy, eye-catching shoes and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a heelless one, but no luck.”
“Women From The Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us” is one of The New York Times’ top beach reads for 2012 and a must-read for all shoe lovers this summer.
See spectacular shoes at NeimanMarcus.com and Neiman Marcus stores.