Platforms are in. So says Steve Madden, shoe designer extraordinaire.
The man behind the brand chatted with tbt* last month in anticipation of his March 6 appearance at International Plaza. Fans turned out to get photos, autographs and even free shoes from the mogul, who began his company out of a Queens, N.Y., factory with $1,100 in his bank account. Today, his eponymous brand has expanded to include clothing, handbags and 92 retail stores worldwide.
In a call from his New York City home, Madden emphasized this point: Platforms are what's hot for women — and guys, too.
What are the shoes every woman must have in her wardrobe for spring?
You know, I would have said flat sandals if you had asked me a month ago. But now I'm kind of thinking that I really like big, big platforms, a la 1974. Really big, really over‑the‑top platforms I think would be a lot of fun.
We're really digging the trend of flats and low heels right now, because they're comfortable.
Yeah. No, they're cool, but it's time for some big platforms.
That's easy for you to say, 'cause you don't have to wear them.
Absolutely right! I don't. I actually did wear them once upon a time.
Wow, like the ones with the goldfish at the bottom?
Yeah. Actually, when I started in the business I was a stockboy in a shoe store when I was 16 years old. I'm 52 years old. So when I started, believe it or not platforms was a bigger trend for men than it was for women. So all the guys wore platforms. I remember when I was 16, I went to all the sweet 16s, and I was forced to get a big pair of high heels 'cause I was so much shorter than everybody else.
Have you ever walked around in a pair of Steve Madden 4-inch heels?
No. That's never happened, but I am surrounded by women who do. So I'll have to vicariously live through them.
Why are there fewer options in men's footwear, and why are they less exciting?
It's a very good question. The men's shoe business used to be a lot more interesting. It's not. Men are more conservative. Maybe the clothing's more interesting now, so they focus on that.
Maybe that will come in time.
Yeah. I'd love for it to come. I'd love to do crazy men's shoes.
Do you ever think about what you would do?
I'd love to do platform shoes for men. But not feminine ones! They would look cool with jeans and stuff. There's a perfect shoe — if you ever watched the movie Saturday Night Fever, (there's a guy who) meets with John Travolta, and I think he tells him that his girlfriend is pregnant. You see him walking down the block. Those are the perfect platform shoes for men.