Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” debuted on Broadway this month, catapulting the fairytale’s famous glass slipper back into the spotlight.
For the production, costume designer William Ivey Long worked closely with Stuart Weitzman on a variety of versions of the iconic shoe for the character, played by Laura Osnes.
“My favorite part was the engineering of making this work. We [crafted] about eight shoes before it was the right one,” said Weitzman. “We thank the author of ‘Cinderella’ because girls have become brainwashed about shoes by the age of 5. There was no way I wasn’t going to [be involved].”
Here, Long sounds off on working with Weitzman and making footwear fit for a fairytale.
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How did you create the footwear looks on stage?
WIL: I’ve never designed for a fairytale before, I’m channeling my 8-year-old girl. It’s a magical world, different than the real world. The [costumes] were influenced by France in the 16th century, and the footwear goes along with it — we’re talking court heels and shoe buckles. We had a lot of very specific dance shoes made. You feel like you’ve stumbled into Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood in the 16th century.
What was it like working with Stuart Weitzman?
WIL: Stuart is a great legend and there is no one more charming. It was wonderful working with him. The most important footwear in the history of storytelling is the glass slipper, and we had many different versions for dancing. We altered the straps and made different heel heights. For dancing, there had to be a strap, but it’s invisible.
Were there any challenges associated with the shoes?
WIL: There are many. The gentlemen in the ball wear one shoe for waltzing [that was] painted to match their stockings and coats. For the ladies, they had to dance in a specific heel height to be able to arch and bend the foot. We’re always switching around [looks], and I follow the dancers’ choices on style. [And then] we keep at least one — sometimes two — extra pairs on set once the show is running.