If ever you’re in the market for a great sound bite, Steve Madden is always ready and willing to deliver.
The fashion-footwear maven took the stage at the Annual Footwear News Achievement Awards tonight to accept the company of the year honors on behalf of his eponymous firm.
“It’s great to be here with so many famous people,” Madden said after his label’s buzzy ambassador Caroline Vreeland presented him with the award. “I thought [first daughter] Ivanka Trump was going to be here, but I’m glad she’s not.”
The always-colorful designer went on to compare his role as creative chief of his fashion footwear powerhouse firm to that of a similar post he held in high school.
“I played intramural basketball in high school, but I was really short,” he said. “And all the great players got kicked off the varsity [team] for smoking spot, and I [recruited them] to my intramural team, and we [won the championship]. They voted me MVP for not putting myself in the game. And it’s kind of like that now at Steve Madden. Because of my trials and tribulations, I’ve been forced to let go and bring in great people to help me. Amelia [Newton, Steve Madden president] should really be up here. And, Ed Rosenfeld — our CEO — has transformed our company and allowed me to be the doddering old founder that can second-guess everybody and act like a fool.”
Madden’s firm has remained incredibly agile in the midst of significant retail turmoil. The company this year consistently met or topped market forecasts — posting sales gains of 11 percent, 15 percent and 8 percent in Q1, Q2 and Q3, respectively.
Madden expects to keep the momentum going and close the year with revenues up 9 percent to 11 percent.
This marks the 31st year of the FN Achievement Awards, often dubbed the “Shoe Oscars.” The event was held tonight at the IAC Building in New York and honored the brightest stars of the business. Among them: Company of the Year Steve Madden, Collaborator of the Year Ronnie Fieg and Style Influencer of the Year Hailey Baldwin. Additionally, Stan Smith received the Manolo Blahnik Lifetime Achievement Award, and the crown for Shoe of the Year went to Virgil Abloh’s Air Jordan 1.
This year will mark the fifth time Steve Madden received the Company of the Year honor.