The first time I fell in love with shoes, it was a one-night stand. It was back in 1970. I bought a pair of shoes on Carnaby Street – High heel platform snakeskin boots which were, as we used to say, THE business. They were wonderful because the way I used to dress all the girls thought I was gay. So it was a lot of fun dispelling that myth. I didn’t so much fall in love with the shoes. I fell in love with what the shoes helped me accomplish in those heady days.
I first truly fell in love with shoes after I met somebody, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this person, Anne Cecil. When I first met her, she was obsessed with shoes and I thought she was a nutcase. And within about three months, I was besotted with shoes, and I now own about 40 pairs.
The first pair of shoes that I fell in love with was a few years back. I was doing a makeover and changing my style from bow ties, blazers, pocket hankies, ironed shirts, trousers and penny loafers to something more rock & roll. I fell in love with Aldo’s shoe shop who made the greatest shoes. I fell in love with a pair of boots that were $165, way beyond what I would put on my feet. And then I saw them come down to $68 as I was driving past their store on Chestnut Street in Philly. I found a parking space. It wasn’t legal but I parked anyway and ran in there to see what was on sale. And there they were my Aldo boots on sale. They are red suede ankle boots with a zip closure on both sides for easy on/off and star studs around the ankle, another Anne Cecil influence. They’ve got this low block heel and when I bought them I knew that I would only wear them with white pants and a sleeveless cotton jacket.
Every time I go out with these boots, people just go nuts. In fact, I’ve had people take photos of me in the boots. Unfortunately, I don’t have to prove to anyone I’m not gay anymore. My wife doesn’t allow me to do that. So the shoes haven’t had any success, further than old ladies with blue hair saying, “Oh, I love those shoes. Let me take a photo of you in them.” And that’s my story.
–Phillip Silverstone, Photographer | Producer & Host | The Silverstone Collection
First in a series where invited guests share their stories of shoe affliction. Want to hear the full conversation? Listen to our interview on KindredSoles.