When most of us were little girls, we played in our mom’s closet and clomped around in her shoes, pretending to be grown-up like her. Now that we are older (and able to treat ourselves to some hard-earned fashion musts), shoes have come to represent much more than just our maturity status: They inspire feelings of joy, confidence, moxie, and appreciation for the beauty and the art of the design. It’s this appreciation of the art that inspired the book Art & Sole by Jane Gershon Weitzman, who was the executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman, first vice president of Stuart Weitzman Retail, and is the wife of the American shoe designer. This is the perfect gift for shoe lovers, fashionistas, art aficionados, or anyone in your life who loves shoes. This was also a philanthropic project: When the book first launched, proceeds were donated to support the ovarian and breast cancer research of Dr. Marsha A. Moses at The Folkman Institute of Boston Children’s Hospital. Jane Weitzman continues to support various local and national charities throughout the year. Below is a little more about the book and a quick Q&A with Ms. Weitzman.
About the book:
Art & Sole showcases approximately 150 shoes of the more than 1,000 Jane Weitzman has discovered and commissioned for display since the first Stuart Weitzman retail shop opened in the mid-1990s on Madison Avenue. Using the best of this collection, many of the shoes are in printed form for the first time. With an introduction by Jane Weitzman, the shoes are featured along with brief, identifying captions, in an impeccably designed, graphically compelling, artful package. Thumbnail photographs of every shoe in the book, along with a more in-depth description and a brief biography of each artist are also included.
About the author:
Jane Gershon Weitzman was the executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman and the first vice President of Stuart Weitzman Retail. She spearheaded philanthropy for the company by generating funds to support breast and ovarian cancer research and awareness. Her efforts were brought to life through innovative charity events on the brand’s website, such as the Stuart Weitzman Celebrity Breast Cancer Shoe Auction, and its retail stores. She serves on the Trust Board of the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Q: This is absolutely the kind of book I would gift to my mother–fashion is something we enjoy together. And as a mom of 3 girls, 2 of which LOVE playing with my shoes (my youngest is only at the crawling stage), I could see them reading this book with fascination over the materials used to make the shoes. Even though this would not necessarily be a bedtime book, it’s something we could enjoy looking at together. Do you find that there’s something about shoes that bonds girls and their moms? Is there something that girls see in themselves through their mothers’ shoes?
A: I think that little girls love to dress up in their mother’s clothes and that her shoes are a part of this. All things considered, the bedtime stories and the reading that they lead to are, of course, more important. Beautifully illustrated children’s books are so important, because they are a child’s first introduction to art. It is still important for girls to have fun dressing up, though.
Q: Has your husband’s empire impacted your appreciation of the art in shoes or have you always had a love of fashion & art?
A: I have always loved both art and fashion. I still remember the dress that I wore to the first party I went to with a date when I was about 12. It was so beautiful that I looked at it every night before I went to bed until I wore it. Stuart and I have collected art ever since we got married. I can’t imagine living without it.
Q: For little girls who want a career in fashion and design, what would you tell them? Any career advice?
A: Study hard and learn the basics. Read everything about fashion and design that you can get your hands on, magazines and websites, as well as books. Go to as many museums as you can, especially those that have shows about fashion and design.
Q: What is your favorite shoe in the book?
A: It would be like choosing a favorite child. They are each wonderful to me in a different way.
Q: Do you have a personal connection with Ovarian and Breast Cancer? What is the background of your support for the cancer research?
A: My mother died from breast cancer in 1963. We have come a long way since then, but not nearly far enough. A customer in our Boston store had ovarian cancer and she was the reason we got involved. I was shocked to learn that most women don’t know the symptoms, all of which are symptoms of other things. Since then, I have lost two friends to this terrible disease.
Art & Sole is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble, Stuart Wetizman boutiques or online, and retailers across the country, for only $25. This will be the most beautiful gift with a purpose that you can give this year.