It’s Shoe Time!

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    “Give a girl the right shoe and she’ll conquer the world.” – Bette Midler, actress


    Here’s the scene: Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones are walking down a bustling NYC street on a beautiful, sunny fall day — caught up in a heated discussion about the Raquel Welch wig line and the logistics of stalking a potentially-cheating boyfriend — when suddenly, Carrie, upon seeing this pair of pink Christian Louboutin shoes with a chiffon cascade, gasps and cooes, “…ooooooo!…hello lover!” (Click here and fast forward to 7:47 to see the scene.)

    051208FEATURE3.jpg When millions of women around the world saw that episode of Sex and the City (SATC), titled “I Heart NY,” they instantly related with Carrie because it seemed that for the first time, someone had finally been able to succinctly articulate and artistically capture the essence of the relationship between a woman and a pair of shoes: a love affair that defies any sound human explanation.

    This uncanny love affair and fascination women have with shoes, according to this article, turns out to be just a natural transitioning from girlhood into womanhood, “Our intimate relationship with shoes begins shortly after we learn to walk. As soon as we want to feel grown-up, we slip on a pair of our mother’s shoes, preferably high heels, instantly heightening our sense of what it means to be female. And then what happens? We grow up and get to be the same size as mummy and our personality begins to assert itself with the first independent purchase of shoes. As adults, we ask shoes to be our representatives. At any given moment, they are indicators of our age, mood and desires.”

    There’s a saying that the eyes are the windows into one’s soul, but for many women, their souls can be seen through their soles! “For me, shoes are a fun way to express your personality and reflect your mood (Check out this week’s aurascope to learn which shoe colors and styles suit your personality the best.) They are a great way to celebrate your femininity and add some spice to any outfit! There are so many options available that include the comfort factor, as well as fun patterns, textures and colors,” says Cincy Chic‘s fashionista, Missy Scalia.

    Another explanation for the sole addiction, and probably the most unanimous, is that shoes are very similar to pets. For no matter what shape, size or demographic, women happen to be: thick or thin, short or tall, attractive or unattractive, rich or poor, from the North or South, East or West — their shoes “love” them unconditionally and have the ability to make them feel either sexy, elegant or sporty, just with a single slip of the foot. (Click here to learn which Cincy Chic staffer has a self-admitted “shoe monster” issue.)

    051208FEATURE2.jpg Women also gain a sense of completion or “groundedness” when they put on a pair of shoes. That’s how Jessica Andrews-Griffin, owner of Shoetopia, located in the heart of Northside, feels about her shoes, “I really believe that shoes are the foundation. Spending so much time on my feet, it’s so important to have a pair that’s well made and comfy.”

    Andrews-Griffin took her passion for fabulous shoes and years of dreaming of owning her own boutique, and turned it into a reality, when she opened Shoetopia three years ago, “I was at a crossroads: my marketing job was getting the ax and I needed to figure out what direction I wanted my career to go in, stay in the corporate world or take an entirely different path that was risky but had the potential to be so much more emotionally rewarding and fun,” she says. “My husband and I had just recently started up a DVD rental store in Northside (Bughouse Video), so we weren’t strangers to the idea. One day I saw an empty storefront two blocks from the video store with a “space available” sign in the window…the gears in my head started cranking. I had no formal retail or shoe buying experience, so I just jumped in head first and logged tons of hours in front of the computer, researching about what it would take to make it happen, from design layout, to inventory, to staff. My ideal shoe boutique went from dream to reality in six months.”

    The store has had a great run for the past two-and-a-half years and offers something unique from other local shoe boutiques, “Shoetopia is a destination store and also a very well-kept secret for many women, we’ve even had some customers who swear they won’t tell their friends about us so that they can have the most fun shoes all to themselves. The way we keep our selection current and fresh is to observe the fashion trends, but to not take them too seriously, we find shoes which really catch our eyes and are fashionable while functional — we don’t have a lot of 5-inch heels,” says Andrews-Griffin, “Our typical customer is generally between [the ages of] 28 and 50 and is looking for a heel that is manageable and well-made, while having some whimsy to it.”

    Andrews-Griffin likes her shoes to have flair and an edge, “I love shoes which are unusual and flirty, but not too obviously crazy that they overpower an outfit. When I’m wearing a knockout pair of shoes it’s so empowering and a great confidence builder. Plus, I don’t have to get rid of a pair of shoes if I gain or lose five pounds!”

    050508NEWBEGINNINGS.jpgEmerging Soles
    According to a recent segment on the CBS Early Show, Spring 2008 brings some unusual-looking new shoe trends that include color, volume, funky styles and sculptural elements that are definitely not of seasons past. But according to the segment, one trend this season that is universal and spans all categories is color.

    Locally, Andrews-Griffin feels that when it comes to color, green is more than just a hue-trend reference, “The biggest trend I’ve noticed in the industry that is going to just grow larger and larger is going green,” says Andrews-Griffin. “We’ve seen our veggie (no animal material) and eco-friendly (vegetable tanned leathers and renewable/recycled products) requests skyrocket since we opened and are seeing more and more options available these days. Another trend we may want to mentally prepare ourselves to is wearing tights with opened toe shoes and booties come [this] fall, these are a must have! We’re continuing to see quite a few vintage/retro styles as well, 1930s T-straps and 1970s platforms, but with superb 21st century updates with innovative heels and color choices.”

    Andrews-Griffin shares her favorite picks of the season and translations of the latest trends that can be found at Shoetopia (and in the Webcast below):

    1. Tsubo – Aeria (Red). “The comfiest pumps around with a 1” hidden platform, I could almost jog in these (I’m not kidding, I chase my 4-year-old around the park every week in these lovelies!). They have the bootie cut which has been a great design which will continue on at least through this winter. They dress up and down quite well.”(Editor’s note: item is currently sold out on the site.)
    2. FarylRobin – Lola (Flesh). “Great summer d’orsay pump. Love, love, love the combination of colors/textures, nice padded footbed and cool contrasting heel color.”
    3. Palladium – Pueblo (Black). “These are my around the house and errand shoes. Really flexible and great support.”
    4. Jeffrey Campbell – Johnny Ex (Natural Python). “Just enough of a gladiator look without being too many straps, in my opinion. These will be my staples when the summer starts to kick in!”

    “Last November, we decided to offer online ordering on our Web site,” says Andrews-Griffin. “Since then, we’ve been shipping like crazy all over the country. I’m personally tickled that so many women in NYC, San Francisco and L.A. order shoes online from a boutique located in Cincinnati!”
    There’s no denying the impact SATC had on women and the shoe industry. “I’m a huge SATC fan,” exclaims Andrews-Griffin. “Looking at Carrie’s shoe collection made me feel normal! I think the show did so much to expose women to some of the great shoe designers out there, Manolo Blahnik is now a household word.”

    With the highly anticipated SATC movie premiering on May 30, already emerging shoe trends from the taping of the movie have leaked all over the Internet and the fashion world. One trend that seems to be a frontrunner, according to all the fashion blogs, are the Dior gladiator-inspired kicks that Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie wears in multiple scenes. Scalia agrees that the trend will catch on and even found an-almost-exact replica in these “Candice” shoes from Baker.

    Check out these fabulous blogs for all you would ever need to know about anything shoe related:

    • A one-stop, round-up of all the shoe blogs on the Net and the trends for 2008.
    • Jeff Bezos, founder of, was recently on The Martha Stewart Show and when asked by an audience member what is the best selling product on, he said that shoes have become such a hot-ticket item that they had to start a site dedicated “solely!” to shoes.
    • Vegan Shoes. Being a compassionate and ethically conscience shoephile is possible! Check out this site for a listing of companies that sell only animal-friendly and cruelty-free shoes.
    • Actress Natalie Portman is not only beautiful, chic and talented, she’s also a vegan! Check out her fantastic vegan shoe collection that offers a great humane selection without compromising quality or style.

    Just for Fun
    Here are some notable celebrity shoe-related quotes:

    “My name is Sarah Jessica, and I own well over 100 pairs of Manolo Blahniks.”
    – Sarah Jessica Parker

    “I own one pair of Prada shoes. They make my feet hurt…It’s not the shoes’ fault; they are exquisitely made. I blame my feet. I’ve got my mother’s feet.” – Meryl Streep

    “I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.”
    – Oprah Winfrey

    “I can be in the dumps of dumpsters and go buy a new pair of shoes, and then it’s okay. Even if it’s just for the time being, for that moment it’s what I need.”
    – Britney Spears

    “To me, shoes are like pizza: There is no bad shoe.” – Kelly Ripa

    “The fact is, sometimes it’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.”
    – Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in the episode “A Woman’s Right to Shoes.

    “I have never been able to study a new role until, alongside the director, we choose the shoes which the woman we are about to bring to the screen will be wearing. Everything starts down there.” – Penelope Cruz

    “I’m obsessed with shoes. I must have hundreds of pairs. I’m a shoe fiend. That reminds me, I need to go shopping!”; “I see a pair of shoes I adore, and it doesn’t matter if they have them in my size. I buy them anyway,”  – Keira Knightley

    Click here or on the play button below to see a Webcast of Andrews-Griffin at Shoetopia.





    First Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
    Location: Gateway Quarter
    Amber Bennett
    Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics
    Third Photo: Maureen Jacob
    Location: Shoetopia in Northside
    Model: Jessica Andrews-Griffin, owner of Shoetopia