Wearing his luxurious, sexy yet affordable handcrafted shoes is a delight for all generations, who can thank Weitzman’s devotion to perfection, comfort and achieving the perfect fit using the finest materials. The Long Island native, who is also known for his passionate involvement with ovarian cancer, talks to AboutHer.com about his new collection, a footwear legacy and a surprising penchant for ping-pong.
What distinguishes the Stuart Weitzman brand from others?
I design for the modern woman who wants haute couture fashion yet doesn’t have to sacrifice comfort.
Which elements do you rely on as a shoe designer?
I call them the 3 Cs: craftsmanship, cool design and comfort.
Which brand do you consider to be your competitor?
Since the advent of the Internet, I consider almost all brands of quality as top competitors.
Why are you so obsessed with women's shoemaking?
The joy and passion that women express when wearing that ‘special’ shoe is contagious, and I have caught it as well.
How do you manage balancing the practical and stylish aspects of design?
It is really about the magic that happens in production. Our products have been manufactured in our own factories in Spain for over 32 years and qualities of workmanship, attention to detail and fit are elements that are never compromised.
Do you have a certain routine before starting to work on a new collection?
I think of the many diverse personalities of women, the fashionista, the celebrity, the career woman or the ultra-chic and brides. By embracing each one individually, I have been able to satisfy their desires.
Tell us about some of the things that inspire you.
I am stimulated by everything around me. Some forms of past, present and future inspiration for me have been things I have seen on the sidewalks of New York City, the Spanish countryside, a favourite old movie and the changes in nature with each season.
Do you think the field of creativity in shoe design is limited?
It’s limited only when it comes to function, but with the advances in technology I believe the sky is the limit.
How much time does every shoe need to be created?
It depends on the shoe; I have been able to finish a shoe in two days or two months. The variety of shoemaking works this way.
Are you satisfied with your presence in the Middle East market?
I have opened stores in the Middle East because I wanted to sell shoes to fashionable women who appreciate great design. I have found the chic taste of Middle Eastern women to be a perfect match for our shoes.
Your father was a cobbler and you spent your childhood apprenticing under him. To what extent were you affected by him and how?
I learned from my father that if you continue to produce a good quality product, people will come back again and again. That’s because they know they can depend on your product to suit their needs and lifestyles.
Did you get involved in shoe design as a result of the family connection or because you love it?
I had originally planned to conquer Wall Street right out of school, but unexpected circumstances led me to join the family business to help out and that change defined my career.
So if you hadn’t chosen the world of shoe design, which career do you feel you would have decided on?
A lawyer, with a professional ping-pong career on the side!
In your opinion, which kind of shoe should every woman own?
There are three: a soft as butter boot, a black modern pump and whatever helps her feel sexy and beautiful.
How would you describe the Stuart Weitzman woman, one who is loyal to all your products?
She is whimsical, modern and always comfortable.
What was the most beautiful compliment and what was the worst criticism you have received during your career?
The best compliment was when I met a woman who asked me to remake a specific shoe because she loved it so much. The worst reproach is when women walk through one of our stores and leave empty handed.
Describe your style in a few words.
It’s classic American with European flare.