Shoes to Swear (In) By
Without a ticket for tomorrow’s historic inauguration, Insider sadly will not be getting a first-person look at the First Family’s footwear. But the shoe crowd weighed in on what they would pick to wear for their own swearings-in. Danny Wasserman of New York’s Tip Top Shoes said he’d go patriotic in navy-blue New Balance 993s. “They’re made in the U.S. — it says it on the back. And black is a little somber, gray is a little bright. I’d wear navy with a white stripe. And a red tie!” Designer Ruthie Davis was also thinking color, selecting her fall ’09 Sport pump (at left). “When I see these pumps, it just makes me psyched to put them on with a sleek black pencil skirt and a crisp white shirt and conquer the world,” she said. Jimlar’s Larry Tarica felt the same way, selecting Frye harness boots — “tastefully in black.” His reasoning? “They make you feel strong and ready to take on all challenges, and they are, of course, uniquely American.” David Zaken of the eponymous David Z chain said he’d go dressy — in “a nice Italian suit and a pair of Gucci classic loafers” — and so would David Ortiz of sneakerspot Dave’s Quality Meat. “For something as important as the inauguration, I would wear a classic black suit and a white shirt with a blue-and-white stripe tie — along with the Converse [shoe] I made for [AIDS charity] Project Red,” said Ortiz (above). Two Ten Footwear Foundation President Peggy Kim Meill said she’d wear the Merrell Montreal style she had on at that moment because of its funky looks and high comfort factor. But the smartest pick may have come from Meill’s assistant, Mary Hehir, who said she’d wear her tall Ugg boots against the chilly January weather.
All in the Family
Skechers is taking it to the runway for the latest edition of its “Nothing Compares to Family” campaign. The Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based company revealed exclusively to Insider that model (and expectant mom) Niki Taylor and her family — husband and NASCAR-star Burney Lamar and twin sons Hunter and Jake — will appear in the company’s spring ’09 print campaign (at left). In keeping with the charitable bent of the series, Taylor’s ads support Mercy Ministries’ residential treatment centers for young women.
With Hollywood’s awards season well under way (starting with the Jan. 11 Golden Globes), there should be lots of high-fashion shoe buzz coming up as stars take to the red carpet for the SAGs and the Oscars — and designer Stuart Weitzman is ready. Weitzman has upped his celeb outreach, making custom shoes available for those making the scene. The first client? Angelina Jolie (at left). “She looks so great in anything and is such a nice person,” Weitzman said. The actress requested two custom peep-toes in metallic neutrals for the season. “This approach is now part of our accommodation to the actresses and stylists,” he told Insider. “In good times and bad, consumers love to know and to see what the stars do and wear. The benefits [for us] are always there.”
In these challenging times, Ron White of Toronto’s Ron White shoe stores is positioning his charity endeavors a little differently. For the retailer’s 13th annual winter shoe drive for the homeless and needy — which kicked off Jan. 8 — White said he wanted to make a low-key pitch to consumers. “We’re not asking for your money, we don’t want you to pull out your checkbook,” he told Insider. “We’re asking people to go into their closet and find the gently worn winter shoes and boots they’re not wearing.” Signed shoes from celeb donors including actors Michael Cera and Jeremy Irons (at left) help give the good cause a little sparkle. White spoke to Insider as he headed out for a meeting of the new Ron White Foundation’s board — which, he hinted, could host a shoe-centric benefit gala this year.
Insider hears from some credible sources that outdoor giant Merrell might be in the market for an acquisition — namely sandal-brand Chaco. Official word from Merrell: “We are not talking to third parties at this time about potential acquisitions.” Stay tuned.