Stuart Weitzman is so devoted to Gisele Bundchen as his campaign star that news about her retiring didn’t make him flinch for an instant.
“I think it was pretty clear that she was referring to runway shows, and since we had engaged her in a contract, we knew her retirement wasn’t taking into account the kind of work she was doing for us,” he told Glamour. “We didn’t need to make a phone call for clarification on that one.”
Weitzman with Gisele on-set
Phew, right? The designer also made it sound like we don’t need to worry about the bombshell disappearing from the brand’s sexy-sophisticate black-and-white ads any time soon.
“I’m not sold on the principle that you should change your model every year and a half or so. We haven’t gotten to the point where we think our products don’t look good on Gisele, especially in the winter season when we believe very strongly in fashionable boots,” he said. “I’m sure there are other gorgeous legs out there, but we don’t know them. She shows those boots off so beautifully, there was no decision; it was like, ‘OK, let’s keep going. This is working out very well.’ Evidently she likes working for us, [and] she makes things very easy for us.”
Weitzman previously revealed to Glamour that it was Gisele who predicted the runaway success of his flat over-the-knee-boots. The super asked to take the pair she shot in home, caused a paparazzi frenzy three days later, and promptly reported back that he better stock up.
To hear him tell it, shoe hits are less about luck than thoughtful prediction and expert naming. “I probably spend as much time thinking about the name as I do designing. That’s why the Nudist is called the Nudist,” he said while discussing the new super-high style Gisele wears in the fall 2015 ads: the AllLegs. And if shoes were a betting game, the world would do well to place some money on the new guys. Gisele has given them her endorsement.
“She loved this new boot that was about six inches higher up the thigh, so it was almost like a pair of leggings,” he explained about the super and the new boot. “They hug and stretch on the legs like a pair of leggings. Women are so used to that kind of attire these days that it was not radical to put on a pair of boots that felt like leggings. [Gisele] loved the new one that goes up a little higher.” He referenced shoe-selling 101—”the higher the boot the more limited the sale”—but said that universal appeal isn’t always the top priority.
“I like to get confirmation from the kind of customer for whom I’ve designed a certain kind of product. When we go to shoots with a lady like Gisele and before that Kate Moss, I’m trying to create a product for a specific kind of lady. ‘Is that model or actress that kind of girl?’ I like to hear what they say when they see it. Gisele loves clothes, she loves fashion, but she’s not a crazy fashionista. She loves new, clean, sexy products that girls can wear that way.” Where his recent tall-boot hits have designed with a woman like Gisele in mind, he pointed to the equally successful knee-high flat gladiator sandals as being done for Moss.
Gisele in the fall 2015 campaign
Across the fashion-editor and consumer populations, Weitzman is revered for creating stylish shoes that are actually comfortable, no small feat when you think of the gorgeous shoes you might have painfully paraded around in. It’s something he thinks about frequently, with staffers sharing a favorite office tale of how he’s been known to stop women on the street wearing his shoes to ask how their feet feel.
“I’ve recognized for a long time that the final vote of anything I design is cast by you, as the consumer,” he said. “We can love it, we can make as many samples as we want and put it in the stores, but if the woman doesn’t say ‘I’ll take these,’ we didn’t guess right.”