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SJP’s Shoe Stories

From the beginning, it was all about the big shoe moments for Sarah Jessica Parker:

The Early Years
Growing up in Ohio, Parker clearly remembers getting two new pairs a year: one to start school in the fall and then another white pair in the spring. “I always smelled them and could tell they were beautiful shoes. Even though we had no money, I had this quality thing. … My mother had beautiful taste,” she said.

Her Move to the Big City
When Parker arrived in New York as a budding actress in the mid-1970s, she immediately became immersed in the city’s fashion scene. Strolling the shops on Fifth Avenue, she discovered names like Charles Jourdan and Maud Frizon, the royal footwear designers of that era. “That Charles Jourdan pump, the construction, the way it moved, the way it made a woman’s foot look, it was crazy. Or [think] about all the colors of the Maud Frizon shoes. Who wouldn’t have been inspired by that period?”

That Fateful Meeting in L.A.
One Saturday, Parker attended a trunk show at the upscale Madeleine Gallay boutique with then-beau Robert Downey Jr. It was there that she met a rising design star named Manolo Blahnik and his U.S. business partner, George Malkemus. “It was pouring rain and I couldn’t believe she came,” Malkemus remembered. “She started asking questions about the shoes and we were picking out colors. Of course, I was charmed immediately.” “I can tell you the exact shoes I picked,” Parker said. “Two pairs of grosgrain slides — one in burgundy and one in black — a bone-colored suede slide and a tobacco flat. That was a lot of shoes and I didn’t have the funds to pay for them. Apparently, I got a layaway plan. George just reminded me of that this morning.”

The 2011 Met Ball
“I always loved the Lady Diana court shoe, even when it went out of fashion. A few years ago, I asked George to make me some Manolos for the Met Ball that were sort of a mid-heel like that, not a kitten heel, but something a little chunkier. We came up with a mint-green version. People hadn’t seen something like that since Lady Bird Johnson,” Parker quipped.

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