The People Behind 5 Iconic Shoe Brands
You love the snappy footwear. Get ready to meet their makers.
1. MANOLO BLAHNIK
This designer didn’t set out to design Carrie Bradshaw’s favorite heels; he wanted to make theater sets. But when Blahnik showed his drawings to Vogue editor Diana Vreeland in 1970, she advised him to ditch his stage ambitions and focus on the shoes from his sketches. Three years later, Blahnik opened his first boutique in London.
2. MARQUIS MILLS CONVERSE
Marquis Mills Converse was managing a shoe company when he realized there might be a market for rubber-soled athletic shoes. In 1908, he launched the Converse Rubber Shoe Company. But he didn’t strike it big until 1917 with the introduction of the first basketball shoe, the Converse All Star.
3. SALVATORE FERRAGAMO
This designer was apprenticed to a shoemaker at age 11. By 13, he’d opened his own store in Bonito, Italy. When he eventually settled in Santa Barbara, Calif., it didn't take long for Ferragamo to become the “shoemaker to the stars.” He was a particular favorite of Marilyn Monroe’s.
4. JIMMY CHOO
Jimmy Choo started designing in London in 1984, but his career didn’t take off until Vogue featured his work in 1988. He was propelled into even greater stardom when Princess Diana bought six pairs of his shoes. Keep in mind, he’s not just a designer—he’s also a spokesmodel. Choo wears three-inch heels when he goes clubbing.
5. DR. KLAUS MAERTENS
When this German doctor needed more comfortable boots after hurting his foot skiing in 1945, he designed his own using discarded airplane tires as soles. Nothing says “punk rock” quite like a chalet foot injury.
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