I Love Steve Madden’s Story of Redemption

Steve Madden at his flagship store in New York. Photo Credit: Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

Steve Madden’s is a story of redemption. After being released from a Florida prison and serving two and a half years for securities fraud and stock manipulation in the early 2000s – having illegally traded shares from the initial public offering of Stratton Oakmont, the investment firm run by Jordan Belfort – Madden has devoted his life to his passion and purpose and the business he loves: Shoes. Madden, whose name has been at the center of women’s shoe design, is now making news by moving into men’s design. On August 1st Madden opened a big new store in Times Square, NYC, with nearly a third of its 2,000-square-foot floor space dedicated to his men’s shoes. Retail is not doing very well in Times Square – and Madden took a chance on the space: “I felt that men were getting shortchanged. We were putting all the excitement into women’s.”

And what does Madden see as the future of men’s shoes? “I would like to go into the sneaker business. I think everybody is wearing sneakers all the time. That’s something you’ll see in the future: more sneakers. I went out to a restaurant in Sag Harbor and it was all mostly 20- or 30-somethings. Why I was there, I don’t know. They were all wearing sneakers. They looked great! But it wasn’t for comfort; they just liked the look. It was interesting to see.

I like to hear good news about Steve Madden. It warms my heart to see someone comeback after being knocked down!!


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“Be a Kitten,” said the Heel.

Loving my kitten heels - Photo, Lauren Hagerstrom

Loving my kitten heels!

Kitten heels are such a perfect fashion choice. Adding height but not too much, they are more subtle than a stiletto and more stylish than a flat. This time of year, before it gets too cold, is the perfect time to add a kitten heel to your outfit – trouser, skirt, or dress. Try it for fun and feel yourself purr with satisfaction. You go, Kitten!

Shoes, vintage Manolo Blahnik, Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom

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Trying to Avoid ‘Shoe-Icide’

Bad for your feet? Flip-flops

Bad for your feet? Flip-flops!

Podiatrists are calling it ‘shoe-icide;’ Hillary Brenner, spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, says wearing ultra-high heels can lead to everything from ankle sprains to chronic pain. But it’s not just high heels that provide complications to our feet, and those of us who think wearing flats is safer are wrong. According to WebMD’s recent article on the worst shoes for our feet flats provide absolutely no arch support. And pointed flats are hard on the toenails. Wearing flip-flops can cause problems with the knees, hips, or back.

For the first time in my life, and now that I am on my feet a good part of the day for my new job, I am more aware how important it is to have proper shoes with arch support. The trick is not to sacrifice style. When I discovered Israeli footwear company, Naot, I was so happy to find stylish sandals with a solid support. I still love my wedges and heels and will always wear them but I do think twice now before wearing certain styles for long periods of time. Trying to avoid ‘shoe-icide!’

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Yes, The Price of Your Shoes is Skyrocketing!

Photo courtesy of

Photo: Reuters/Joshua Lott

More high prices for fashion? Quartz has reported that The US Bureau of Labor Statistics just released a report showing that the shoe category has gotten more expensive. While clothing in the US got 2% cheaper on average over the last year, with underwear, sweaters, jewelry and watches going down in price, shoe prices in all categories and not just the high-end, are rising. The reason may have to do with the increasing leather prices because of a cattle shortage in the US.

I’m not buying it! Let’s take a trip to the cobbler and save our soles!

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Slip-On and Carry-On into Autumn

Steve Madden Slip-Ons:

Steve Madden Slip-Ons: Ecentric

P1050120P1050113What happens when you can’t wear sandals any more, but you’re not ready for cold-weather shoes and boots? The answer is: go mid-way and find a transition shoe. I discovered the ever-popular slip-on. No fuss, no strings, just slip it on and go. It’s like wearing a closed-toe sandal.

Steve Madden makes a comfortable, stylish and well-priced slip-on shoe in a full range of colors and styles. For me, there was no question: I had to have the leopard-print!

As we enter the period of transition from warm to cooler temps, the slip-on is a perfect solution for your wardrobe. Because really, we aren’t ready to say good bye to the ease of summer, are we??!

My outfit: shoes, Steve Madden; jeans, Paige Boyfriend Skinny; tee, Michael Stars; blazer Banana Republic

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Easing into fall with Isaac Mizrahi!

IMGP1523IMGP1525Yes, I know it is still summer, and I am savoring these final days and minutes of summer vacation. But, when you see something super-special for fall, and at such a good price, I think you must get it. That is what happened last week when I saw Isaac Mizrahi Live! on QVC, talking about these fabulous, suede wedges. Says Isaac: “It is great to have a wedge if you don’t have one people have started to discover that they need them in their wardrobe, how it just changes everything.” And the shoe in black? “The black is a must-do. It starts with black.

The wedge is a heel with the lift, and the stability under-foot. And the suede is color-rich and super-chic. Thank you, Isaac Mizrahi, for helping me ease into the fall. Join me?

Photos by Alexandra (round-toe wedges, Isaac Mizrahi Live!; hosiery, Wolford)IMGP1492


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Are you prepared to save your soles?

Photo Credit: DoubleTake Consignment Shop

Photo Credit: DoubleTake Consignment Boutique

We love our shoes. We covet them and admire them from afar. And if we are actually lucky enough to purchase them, we begin the love affair in earnest. But, to do that, we must truly be prepared to save our soles; from the elements and from ourselves. Do you know about shoe cobblers? They are the matchmakers of the shoe love affair; they are the ones who keep us and our shoes together, living happily ever after, or at least for as long as possible. I went to the experts at Rago Brothers Shoe and Leather Repair, and spoke with Tom Rago. Tom, and his brother, Tony, are the third generation of Rago Brothers to own and operate this unique shop in Morristown, NJ. I asked Tom what we can be doing to save our soles … Continue reading

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Shoe Obsession Exhibit at The Museum at FIT

Shoe Obsession Exhibit at The Museum at FIT

Meeting costume designer Alexandra reminded me that there are wonderful opportunities to be inspired by fashion – if you just look for them. The Museum at FIT, in the heart of the New York’s fashion district, is a surprising spot for exhibits, information, showcases  … and inspiration. There are only a few days left to see the exhibit, Shoe Obsession (now through April 13th), and if you have the opportunity – go! It is worth it!

Shoe Obsession features over 150 examples of shoes as showstopping art: from the outrageous to the exquisite and the sublime. The shoes are still visions in my mind long after leaving the museum. There are two that stand out: Maison Martin Margiela’s Glass Slipper (2009) that reminded me of the romance and intrigue of Cinderella, the original fairytale that started it all, and Manolo Blahnik’s silver shoe (2003) that Carrie Bradshaw wore on Sex and The City, in the episode featuring Tatum O’Neal. Carrie loses her shoe at a baby shower hosted by O’Neal and finally gets compensated with new shoes by signing herself up for her very own bridal registry. Of course Carrie wore and coveted countless Manolo Blahnik’s in her life on Sex and the City, but this particular shoe and story was memorable!

The average American woman has about twenty pairs of shoes – nearly double what she owned in the late 1990s,” according to Valerie Steele (director and chief curator) and Colleen Hill (associate curator of accessories) at The Museum at FIT.  Are we obsessed? What do you think?

Manolo Blahnik's shoe that Carrie Bradshaw wore on Sex and the City

Manolo Blahnik’s shoe that character Carrie Bradshaw wore on Sex and the City

Shoe Obsession - Nicholas Kirkwood

Shoe Obsession – Nicholas Kirkwood

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