Joseph Philip “Joe” Famolare Jr., who combined a heritage in shoemaking with the instincts of an entertainer to produce a number of the signature footwear trends in the Seventies and Eighties as the president of Famolare Inc., has died at the age of 82. He died of cancer at his home in Putney, Vt., on Thursday. His Italian-made, molded wavy-sole platform shoes, dubbed the Get There, were a staple of the era, forever associated with the hip-hugging bell-bottom jeans that frequently sat just above them. Yet Famolare was as focused on function as he was on fashion. This came as much from his background as a patternmaker working for his father’s shoe business in Boston as from subsequent tenures at Capezio, where he designed shoes for Broadway dancers, members of the Bolshoi Ballet and Twyla Tharp’s dance company, and at Bandolino.“With a wife and two daughters, he never accepted the idea that a woman’s feet should hurt because she was wearing a high heel,” said his daughter Bibiana Famolare Heymann. “And he knew how to go into a factory and make sure that the shoes that came out of it looked right, fit right and wore right. He knew how to get the foot and the shoe working together properly.”Famolare received a Coty award in 1973 for shoes which were “ergonomically designed and quite ahead of their time,” said Diane Forden, the editor in chief of Bridal Guide magazine, who first saw them during an early editorial stint at Seventeen magazine.Famolare deviated from standard operating procedure not only in the style and construction of the shoes that bore the family name but also in their promotion. A brief hiatus from his father’s business as a nightclub singer had provided him with confidence as a public speaker as well as an appreciation of the value of theater. “He was sort of the Barnum & Bailey of footwear,” said his younger daughter, Hilary Famolare. “He could promote and sell anything.”Initially looking to avoid imagery that focused on women’s legs and might be viewed as sexist, Famolare became the face of his company’s campaigns, which were devised by Jane Trahey and shot on several occasions by Richard Avedon. He was often surrounded by his own shoes in the ads, but Trahey saw him as an enormous asset. “Why should I get a model when I have Joe?” Trahey told People magazine. “He is extremely photogenic and radiates friendliness. Joe’s teeth are so beautiful, his dentist should pay him.”His promotional toolbox included a crowded calendar of personal appearances. Hilary noted that her father sold Nordstrom Inc.’s Bruce Nordstrom on the viability of his efforts with in-store events “where people just went nuts. He brought cultural and social meaning to the shoes and broadened the audience with shoes for older women, for men and for kids.” As sales moved past $100 million, his patented styles were not only imitated but often litigated as footwear makers sought to capitalize on his popular looks. Indulging a lifelong love of flying, he received his pilot’s license in his early 60s and frequently flew in and out of his home in Vermont, where he founded the Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center, a renovated farm that served as an education site bringing together business, government and agriculture, in Brattleboro. He continued to work at VABEC until just before his death. A memorial service will be held at VABEC from 1 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 4.In addition to his daughters, he is survived by Sandra, his wife of 55 years; his brother, Leo; two grandsons, and two granddaughters.
To celebrate Pride 2018, @themarcjacobs released the #GratefulNotHateful campaign, a social media initiative aimed at extending Pride beyond the parade. Inspired by Jacobs’ everyday outlook, the campaign features Jacobs along with a group of models and social media stars who are members and supporters of the LGBT community, all seen wearing @marcbeauty’s Highliner Gel Eye Crayons in colors of the rainbow. Head to our Instagram stories to see close-ups of the liner. #wwdbeauty
Virgil Abloh’s dad Nee and Don Crawley, cofounder of RSVP Gallery, were some of the hometown crew at the Chicago-born designer’s debut show for Louis Vuitton. (📸: @jdiderich ) #wwdmens #louisvuitton #virgilabloh
About last night: @marycharteris and @adwoaaboah hit up Hyde Park for the Serpentine Galleries’ annual summer party held in partnership with @chanelofficial. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
“This is Paris, my first show. I’m all about democracy. If some kid shows up, flew from New Jersey to just be around, let’s get him a seat.” — @virgilabloh tells WWD’s @jdiderich ahead of his first show for @louisvuitton men’s. (📸: @alfredo_piola ) #wwdmens #virgilabloh #louisvuitton
“Kate Spade was a true fashion icon who brought joy to the lives of women around the world, and inspired women to live life to the fullest. We are dedicated to carrying on her legacy,” said Anna Bakst, brand president and chief executive officer of @katespadeny. The Kate Spade Foundation announced that it will be donating $1 million to suicide prevention and mental health awareness in tribute to the recent death of Kate Spade. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @chinseephoto)
A first look at @virgilabloh’s sneakers for @louisvuitton. Abloh spoke to WWD about his debut collection for Louis Vuitton, creating @kendalljenner’s #metgala outfit and redefining the heritage brand. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion 📷: @alfredo_piola)
The world’s largest producer of denim @iskodenim is sharing the strategy behind its product development process. Read our full interview with ISKO’s product development manager Baris Ozden on the company’s extensive research practices, upcoming denim trends and the latest material innovations on WWD.com. #iskodenim