Some came for gifts, others for glam last week when Christian Louboutin made a special appearance at his Los Angeles boutique. Maira Benjamin, who arrived at noon for the 4 p.m. event, flew in from San Francisco that morning specifically for the signing. “I’ve been collecting for more than 10 years now,” she said. Among the three pairs of heels she had waiting for the designer to ink was a 4-inch black patent pump, a high school graduation present for her daughter. “I wanted to get her something special — her very first pair!” But perhaps the most excited of the 100 or so fans in line was Yvonne Miguel, who showed off a tattoo on her shoulder of a pair of black heels with the designer’s signature red soles. “I waited for four hours last year [when Louboutin did a similar event at his South Coast Plaza boutique] and I still didn’t meet him because I had to go,” she said. “Not this time. I’ll stay as long as it takes.” Louboutin said he was flattered by the attention, but recalled a time when fans weren’t quite so enthusiastic. “The first time, no one came!” he said. (Look for an in-depth interview with Louboutin in an upcoming issue of FN.)
Meanwhile, approximately 100 shoe lovers eagerly awaited their chance to step foot in the Warwick Hotel in New York last Thursday, to try their luck at the Manolo Blahnik sample sale. Insider caught up with Deidre Hamill, who had been waiting for about two hours to find the “flats of her dreams.” “I gave up on brawl sales,” she said. “This is civilized, with music. And they hydrate you!” (Chairs and water were provided for ladies in line.)
Futbal is in favor with Nike. With the World Cup fast approaching — soccer’s biggest tournament kicks off June 11 — the athletic giant has started the party. Last Thursday, the brand brought in creative director of soccer Phil Dickinson to New York’s Niketown to unveil its new jersey. Englishman Dickinson — normally a Leeds United fan — said he’d be attending a few games in South Africa during the Cup before flying home through London, where he’ll stay for a few days. But not to see family, as Insider suggested. “To watch some games in the pub! What’s wrong with you?” he said, laughing.
Isabel Toledo officially stepped out as Payless ShoeSource’s newest big-name designer at a pair of events in New York last week. On Wednesday, Toledo was fêted at an intimate editors’ lunch at Le Caprice, hosted by PR guru Paul Wilmot, Payless CEO LuAnn Via and marketing chief Eran Cohen. A day later, at Payless’ fall preview, the luxe designer dished about the perks of teaming up with the chain. “I get to take an original idea and bring it to the masses,” she said. “That’s America for you.” However, fellow Payless collaborator Christian Siriano was looking out for himself when he created his fall ’10 line. When asked why he decided to mix in a crocodile-embossed rainboot, he quipped: “It’s for me. I’m going to wear this every single day, all winter long.”