“I’m a shoe dog and I say that with all my heart,” declared Bruce Nordstrom.
“That doesn’t sound like a very complimentary title but that’s me.”
That was the legendary retailer up on the stage at the annual Footwear News Achievement Awards, otherwise known as the “Shoe Oscars,” held Tuesday night at the IAC headquarters on West 18th Street in Manhattan.
“Shoes are still the heart of the business,” Nordstrom said, before providing an abbreviated history of the Nordstrom business and his own experiences at the store, bringing both a touch of levity and sentiment to his acceptance speech.
He said he began working at the family store at age 9, sweeping floors. “I tried real hard but probably didn’t sweep real well.”
At 30, he became president of the business, at the behest of his uncle, who instructed him to make a trip to New York City to check out Saks Fifth Avenue and other upscale flagships. That led to a decision to diversify Nordstrom’s business from just footwear into dresses and other women’s merchandise.
“My dad’s passion for the shoe business has a lot to do with the success of Nordstrom,” said Bruce’s son Erik Nordstrom,” co-president, who introduced his father to the audience of about 170.
The event space was filled with celebrities from fashion, footwear and sports, including Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, La La Anthony, Grant Hill, Stuart Weitzman, Victor Cruz and Martha Stewart, introducing the many award winners on the night.
The honorees included FILA Disruptor 2, which received the “shoe of the year” award; Reebok x Pyer Moss received “collaborator of the year”; Rebecca Minkoff was honored with the “social impact” award; Tabitha Simmons was honored as “designer of the year”; Christie Brinkley, along with her daughters Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Alexa Ray Joel, received the “style influencers of the year” award, and Allbirds was recognized as “the brand of the year.”
Others receiving FN awards were Chloe Gosselin, Amina Muaddi, Diane Sullivan, Authentic Brands Group and Qurate/QVC on behalf of FFANY Shoes on Sale. Marc Fisher, Peter Harris and Pierre Hardy were inducted into the Footwear News Achievement Awards Hall of Fame.