What Well Dressed Feet and Walls Are Wearing
|All photos Laurel Marcus|
Mark Schwartz may be the most accomplished shoe designer/artist that you've never heard of. A 28 year veteran of the footwear business, Schwartz made his mark as chief designer for Roger Vivier in the '80s as well as becoming an apprentice of Andy Warhol who one day "appeared on my doorstep" aka walked into the Madison Avenue store to meet him. Vivier knew Warhol and arranged the introduction whereupon the pop artist encouraged Schwartz to paint shoes on canvas "I was using oil pastels or crayons then rather than watercolors and ink" Schwartz said. "We used to paint shoes together." Yes, I had all but forgotten that Warhol started his career as a shoe illustrator for I. Miller. See video of Mark Schwartz painting: markschwartzshoedesign.com .
|Painted Shoe Bags|
Many of the shoes have a slight wave or curve to the heel which may be a nod to Vivier who pioneered the slanted "Comma" heel. Materials range from suede, metallic leathers, pony skin animal print and kid in various colors, heel heights, toe widths (I notice the pointy toe is back) and many closely resemble either Manolo Blahniks or Christian Louboutins (both designers who Schwartz knows and admits to paying homage to). Other than the "Sorriso" they are not designed to be gimmicky like Sophia Webster or Charlotte Olympia and there are no platforms in sight. I would describe them as very ladylike shoes (read not for pounding pavements) or "classic with a twist" as Schwartz likes to call them. I didn't get to judge their comfort as I am not a sample size 37 however I did pose holding the Smile shoes for the record ie. social media.
- Laurel Marcus