These Shoes Are Made for Gawking
updated 11/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/04/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
Such accolades could go to a guy's head, but Weitzman, 50, grew up in shoe biz and knows how to keep things in perspective. After a comfortable childhood in suburban Long Island, Weitzman attended the Wharton School of Business, graduating in 1963. He dutifully went to work for his father, Seymour, maker of the well-known Mr. Seymour shoes. Starting at the bottom, Stuart worked with the company's pattern maker. "It wasn't my idea of a job," says Weitzman, who eventually became chief designer, "but he was a pretty strong dad, and I listened." Weitzman took the reins in 1965 after Seymour died, later renaming the firm Stuart Weitzman Shoes. The company, which has tripled its revenues in the last 10 years, now does $40 million in sales annually.
He produces everything from loafers to 3½-inch heels, but Weitzman is known for what he calls his special effects—$l,200-and-up handmade evening shoes bejeweled with rhinestone flags, moons and other motifs favored by stars.
When not traveling to his factories in Spain, Weitzman relaxes at his 11-room, Greenwich, Conn., house with Jane, his wife of 24 years. Even there, he is surrounded by shoes. Daughter Elizabeth, 22, is a congressional assistant in Washington, D.C., and Karen, 19, is a junior at Stanford. Together, the three women have taken over a room with their several hundred pairs of Stuart's shoes. "He gets a bigger kick out of seeing his shoes on women's feet than in stores," says Jane. "I don't think the novelty will ever wear oil for him."