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From One-Night stand to Forever

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.

Phil admires his Aldo boots
Phil with his first Shoe Love

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

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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.

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Community Market for Makers & Shakers

Maker & Shaker Community Market
Maker & Shaker Community Market

The Community Market for Makers & Shakers on Saturday, October 14th was my first live shoe event. Hosted by NextFab in North Philadelphia as part of DesignPhiladelphia, I had a great day of feedback, networking and fun and oh yeah a few sales.

My second generation RoxAnneLava Signature samples in whole sizes 5-11 debuted to the public. I offered 2 options for orders, my holiday leather collection in black or cranberry patent/silver or cranberry crackle/ gold or red metallic,  OR  a new offering of up-cycled leathers that are waste materials from a furniture manufacturer in black/red/brown. My 1st generation Signature prototypes, 3 sample pairs and logo tees were also available. It was great to have people see, try  on and react to my shoes.

These events are always best for exposure and networking and Saturday did not disappoint. I gained about a dozen new email subscribers, sold some product,  got some ideas and feedback and connections on the shoes from people who don’t know me and met some new potential partners for a couple of really interesting initiatives.

The Bonus?

Free Federal Donuts, Coffee, Philly HomeBrew Outlet Breakfast Stout, a lovely Bahn Mi and DJ.

I’ve been a maker and had making businesses for most of my adult life. It’s great to watch this new one grow. I am pleased with the positive response. It’s gratifying to work toward my personal and professional goals. A day like Saturday validates I am on the right path.

 

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Self-gifting

I love gifting, especially self-gifting and of course I buy myself shoes. I took a break from the hustle and bustle of the season to browse my two favorite local shoe shops for a little holiday retail therapy. First stop, Benjamin Lovell shoes , home of comfort brands and the best kept secret sale in the back of their South Street store. This is my favorite place for a great brand at a fantastic price. Pickin’s were slim, probably because they were coming off a 20% off sale.

Heel detail
Heel detail

So on I went to my fave fashion shoe shop, Bus Stop Boutique. London born owner Elena Brennan curates the BEST brands with just the right amount of interest and edge, John Fluevog, Miista, United Nude, Coclico, just to name a few. I tired on several pairs including Jeffery Campbell’s Ibiza last.  I like this shoe – bit of a flatform, patent leather, bootie style and this fabulous extended heel and tongue detail. The overall shape reminds me a bit of an elf boot so just right for the season. Unfortunately, the Ibiza last is not for me. It’s just too thin through the toe box. Boo hiss for me. Don’t feel badly for me though. I did indulge and took advantage of their construction sale. A sexy new, comfy Melina beauty from  Coclico AND an edgy new Micky combat boot by United Nude came home with me. Check out my Instagram to get a peek. Shoes of Salvation posted every Thursday.

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The humble Wellie

Black Biker Wellies
High tide on the dock

After several days of torrential rain, I thought I’d say a few words about the humble Wellie. Available at a variety of price points and with some very fashionable styling, the wellie is an essential part of any shoe wardrobe.

I have several pairs (well of course I do). The pair at the farm came in particularly handy this weekend. Stuck under a low pressure system coupled with a passing hurricane, tides were exceptionally high. Good thing it wasn’t too high. These wellies are on their last legs and have a slice in the right vamp:( It’s a good thing the farm settles next week or I’d have to buy another pair.

Wellies are also an essential at the beach. They are the best for running the dog on sands and surf. (I’m feeling like I have Martha Stewart voice today…)

Black Chelsea Boot
Dead on equestrian.

Leopard Low Heel
Kitty’s hate wet feet.

From a fashion standpoint they are an essential as well. As a public transportation commuter that needs to look fashionable at work, it is important to have fashion wellies in my repertoire. I have selected a low heeled leopard print and glossy black flat chelsea boot to pair with any rainy day outfit.

Keen, Waxed Suede
Battle the 3 Ds – Dark, Damp, Dreary

My final pair are suede, that’s right sued. Who in their right mind would wear suede in the rain? Me, that’s who. This pair of waxed suede beauties are just right for fall. From the great orange color to the rugged sole and warm lining, these fit the bill when it’s dark, dreary and damp.

My collection has cost from about $15-$100 per pair. They are well worth the investment.

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The Slingback for Spring

One of my most favorite shoes for spring is the slingback. It’s sexy and ladylike all at the same time. It’s a fabulous transition to sandals. You can get your feet into sandal shape gradually. Heels are so much easier  than toes to present after a long hard winter.

M&S slingback retro inspiration with square toe, buckle and kitten heel
M&S slingback retro inspiration with square toe, buckle and kitten heel

M&S slingback from the early 2000's still going strong
M&S slingback from the early 2000’s still going strong

These are on of my most favorite and versatile pairs of slingbacks. I purchased them from M&S in London in the early noughties and have had the lifts replaced several times. They are retro and ladylike with the square-toe and buckle, as well as practical with the kitten heel. They work with slacks and a skirt or dress. They are a fantastic show for travel.

Fluevog slingback with max coverage
Fluevog slingback with max coverage

Fluevog distressed suede slingback
Fluevog distressed suede slingback

Next up a wonderful pair of Fluevogs – I got these in Boston several years ago and they do not disappoint. I love the color and texture (soft suede). They are pre-distressed so not to worry if they get kicked about a bit. They are wonderful transitional shoes with maximum coverage while working on your spring reveal. Again a good pairing with trousers and dresses. One of my favorite outfits is these shoes with a turquoise dress. The orange and blue are complementary colors and when combined they make quite a statement. These are a bit less practical with the heel height, but the heel is sturdy and there is a bit of a platform so they are not as high as one might expect.

fluevog slingbacks
Oxford & slingback all in one.

You’ve seen these before, but I couldn’t resist showing them again. They are an excellent 3rd pair to round out my slingback collection. They are still going strong on trend at 3 or 4 years old. Oxford, slingback and metallic all in one and quite practical too with the Fluevog take on the kitten heel. As you can see, dress them up or down, slacks or skirts and dresses. Another great investment.

So treat your heels to some foot cream each night and a pumice in your bath or shower each day and enjoy Slingback Season.