Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Conversation With Steve Madden

Even if I had planned to interview the famed shoe designer, circumstances couldn’t have worked out better. We were sitting at a Starbucks kiosk right outside a Steve Madden store in Aventura Mall in North Miami Beach, FL. I looked up and there he was. You can’t miss him. He wears the same thing all the time -- baseball hat, white shirt and jeans.

I watched as he ordered his coffee, and then paced while sipping, blowing the hot drink. A fancy cell phone constantly glued to his ear. My husband questioned whether it was really he. I was confident that it was; I had seen his photo many times before.

As he walked by I waved a hearty hello letting him know he we were big fans. While I only own one pair of Steve Madden shoes, I felt a kinship. He, a famous designer. Me, a publicist always in search of famous people.

The minute he saw my hand go up, he came over to say hello. By this time my daughter who was shopping nearby joined us. It was a real celeb spotting experience.

Lois: “What are you doing here?”

Steve: “Visiting my mother in Boca.”

Lois: “Are you checking out your store here?”

Steve: “Not really. I leave that up to others. That doesn’t mean that I'm not always looking, thinking.”

Lois: “Yes, I saw you walk into Nine West across the way to check it out.”

Steve: “You can’t break old habits."

Lois: “Their current collection is shit. I was in there too.”

Steve: “I agree, they've had better.”

Lois: “So what have you been up to lately?”

Steve: “You know that I've been away for a while. Just got out seven months ago. I'm enjoying myself. I just got engaged. Going to get married January 15th in New York City."

He told me where, but I won't reveal till after the wedding.

Lois: “Is she Jewish?”

Steve: “No, a real shiksa. I am like Larry David and she is my Cheryl Hines.”

Lois: “Is your mother upset that you're marrying out of your religion?”

Steve: “No, I'm 48 years old. This is my first marriage. My mother and everyone else thought I was gay. I just couldn’t find anyone.”

Lois: “Where do you live?”

Steve: “The Upper East Side in a townhouse. I used to live in the Village on Mercer for almost 30 years, but my fiancĂ©e really likes the Upper East Side.”

Lois: “Is she after you for your money?”

Steve: “No, we've known each other for years. She's an office manager for Steve Madden. She's busy shopping right now. I expect her here any minute.”

Lois: “That is so funny. I would expect you with a girl who shops on Madison Avenue.”

Steve: “That is what is so great about her. She's comfortable shopping here, she's comfortable on Madison Avenue. Where do you work?”

Lois: "On 58th and Sixth.”

Steve: “My office is two blocks away on Sixth.”

Lois: “Here is my card. Maybe I can help you someday.”

Steve: “We use PMK.”

Lois: “They’re great. Oh well, if you ever need PR for something else related to cause marketing, charity work or anything extra, please call me.”

Steve: “Thanks. I'll be in touch.”

I feel like I am back in the dating game. I want him to call!