This past weekend, two sorority sisters (EA and Dangerous D) came to stay with me in Chicago, and we had a Girls' Weekend right out of Sex and the City. But we didn't actually plan it that way...
The fun began after my guests flew into Chicago on Friday afternoon... we went to an Irish pub for a drink and a snack, then to EA's brother's place for some wine and a wonderful rooftop view of Wrigley Field, and then to trendy restaurant Rockit to meet up with a few more friends from college for a late dinner.
The next morning, we stumbled out onto Michigan Avenue in a relaxed daze after having wonderful massages (technically, E and D each had a "cocoon") at Kiva Spa. Our intent was to browse the various stores lining The Magnificent Mile, but when we strolled into Neiman Marcus, we saw this sign:
"Wait a second, that's today!" I realized. "What time is it?" It just so happened to be 12:30, so we figured we should stick around to see the man... the myth... the legend behind Carrie Bradshaw's beloved shoes.
The scene in the "shoe salon" was hilarious. They had a regal area set up for Mr. Blahnik, boxes of his shoes lined the walls, party music was blasting, and tons of women formed a line that snaked around the floor in order to meet the designer and get the bottoms of their stiletto heels signed.
Waiters were roaming around, doling out champagne, sparkling water and cookies (complete with shoe designs made of colored frosting). There were even Shoe Valets that Dangerous D took a liking to:
E, D and I watched the mayhem a small distance from the roped-off line... 1 PM came and went and the excitement in the air was palpable. There really is something to be said for the infectious power of crowds... I have never bought a designer shoe in my life, yet suddenly I absolutely HAD to see this man. I felt almost ashamed... "He's just a shoe designer?!?" I said to my friends, "It's not like this guy has found the cure to cancer or something?!?" They agreed, but we were too vested in our quest to leave, despite our growling stomachs.
While waiting for Manolo to arrive, we met a lady whose daughter was in line. This woman had previously purchased the $900 pair of shoes that Carrie wore in the Sex and the City movie for her daughter so that she could show them off at her upcoming wedding. And now Manolo was going to sign them, to boot. E said to the woman, "Your daughter should sell them on eBay after the wedding, I bet she could make a lot of money." The lady stared back at us in disbelief, as if we had just smacked her across the face. "She would never, ever SELL them??!!? She's going to pass them down -- they will be passed down for generations!"
We shut up after that. Here are the infamous heels:
Finally, around 1:40 PM, we heard the Neiman Marcus employees start buzzing that Manolo was in the building and would arrive at any second. And sure enough, moments later he swooped onto the floor in a blaze of purple glory, headed to his post, and the frenzy began. Below is an eight-second clip of him signing the Carrie Shoes, followed by a still shot of him in the crowd:
By far, the best part of the whole experience was seeing his crazy shoes. You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words?
Finally, we had to give in to our hunger and go get some lunch. Once we were safely away from the crowd of women in designer outfits and stilettos, we couldn't help but laugh at what we looked like. I, for one, wore an old white t-shirt, crappy cargo pants and tennis shoes, and on top of having barely any makeup on because we had just come from the spa, I also had Hannibal Lecter-mask-looking marks all over my forehead from the support pillow my face was crushed into during my massage. We decided to take a picture of our own shoes in order to keep it real:
I'm sure if Manolo caught a glimpse of our footwear, this would've been his reaction:
Our fun weekend continued with a stop at the Sex and the City DVD release party later that same night... check out redblog for the recap of that experience either later today or tomorrow!