Insider: Nine Lives… Etnie’s Neighbors…

“Nine” Lives

Despite its mixed reviews and underwhelming box

office sales, the movie musical “Nine,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson (on set at right) and Brown Shoe Co. fave Fergie, has been racking up award nominations, including nods from the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Satellite Awards, both for best costume design.

The film — directed by Rob Marshall of “Chicago”— also has been nominated for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy by the Golden Globes. Insider caught up with costume designer Colleen Atwood, a two-time Academy Award winner for “Chicago” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” to talk movies, shoes and the challenges of working with not one, but seven leading ladies.

“It was everything that everyone thinks it would be, but not quite that bad,” Atwood joked. “[The actresses] were thrown into a whole new thing, so they were nervous. [But] the thing that was cool about it was that there were so many of them and they were all challenged in new ways, and they sort of united behind it in a really positive way.”

Since none of the women were professional dancers, the functional aspects of the shoes (including the one above) became a critical element of the production. “The shoes are so important in a movie like this that sometimes it seems like all you’re doing is shoes,” Atwood said. “Because of people wanting to have higher heels and then realizing that it’s crazy to try to do the performance in them, we had to have two or three different heel heights in the same style to make it all work.”

Atwood said that to outfit the ladies of “Nine” she used a mix of vintage pieces, ballroom shoes and custom heels by Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin — who just happen to be among her favorite designers.

“You’ve got to bow down to the Manolos and Louboutins and Jimmy Choos of this world,” she said. “And Brian Atwood does such great shoes. There are great shoes coming out of Italy now in a very showgirl kind of way. It’s a fun, creative area, and Ferragamo is always a cornerstone in that world, for sure.”

Next up, Atwood said she’s off to Venice to work on “The Tourist,” starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Then she teams up once again with Tim Burton — having previously worked on a number of Burton’s films, including “Edward Scissorhands” — for his take on the 1970s vampire soap opera “Dark Shadows.” “It’s really the most fun a person can have because Tim really lets you do your thing,” she said.

Like a Good Neighbor

Hoping to shoe the employees of a fabulous Lower East Side joint? Better act fast: Etnies is the latest brand to show the restaurant-and-bar scene some love.

The Lake Forest, Calif.-based skate brand finished 2009 by delivering custom-made, limited-edition kicks to skater faves Max Fish, Epstein’s Bar and Calexico Carne Asada, all establishments near its New York showroom. (Last fall, Vans extended its relationship with Cafeteria/Delicatessen by shodding the servers of extension-shop Macbar.) Using the company’s existing online shoe customizer, Etnies uploaded some exclusive colorways and logos for the restaurant guys to play with on two of its most iconic shoes: the Jameson and the RSS.

“They’re the spots where we go every time we go out [in New York],” said Etnies entertainment marketing manager Eladio Correa. “We’ve had relationships with [Epstein’s owner] Pat Conlon and the three brothers [who run Calexico] for years. And I’ve been with Etnies 15 years, and on my first trip to New York, I went to Max Fish. For us, it just made perfect sense to do some shoes.”

Epstein’s Conlon said 25 pairs of the burgundy-and-brown shoes (at left) he designed to mimic the bar’s interior went to longtime staffers and “highly appreciated” patrons, including Dave Ortiz of Dave’s Quality Meat and actor Elijah Wood. In fact, he said, he had originally asserted owner’s privilege and kept two pairs for himself — “one to wear and one to keep” — but he’s had to sacrifice one. And who got it? “Elijah, that little bastard,” he laughed. But there’s more to come. Conlon said he was already working on the next round of shoes. And Correa confirmed we could see more.

“What started as a project for friends has become a whole program,” he said. But at least for this year, don’t expect to see Etnies special makeups popping up all over. “We want to keep it to family friends throughout New York,” he said. “To us, it’s an important city.”

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