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Apparently there’s a softer side to that hulking, six-four frame of Fortune Footwear chief executive officer Paul Auersperg.

“Believe or not, we’ve gone shoe shopping together,” said Mindy Grossman, the ceo of HSN. “When he’s in Europe, he’ll text me photos of shoes. He’s the go-to guy for new development.”

Grossman, along with Steve Madden, Sam Edelman, Bridget Ryan Berman of Victoria’s Secret Direct, Richard Kirshenbaum and Julio Martini of the Camuto Group, Sofia Haberman of Macy’s, and 300 others came to Gansevoort Park for Fortune Footwear’s 30th anniversary bash and Auersperg’s 50th birthday. It was over the top, with more than enough bar stations for instant gratification and girls on tables swaying to the music, only to be joined by the guest of honor.

“That’s Paul,” said one of the party-goers. Amid the cacophony, Auersperg had his tender moments, bear hugging and kissing everyone around him and reflecting on his business. “The key to our success and our greatest accomplishment is our long-term relationships,” he said. “I spoke to some business school students and they asked if there should be a course in business relationships and I said, not really. Relationship skills, in business and in your personal life, are the same.”

Auersperg, one of the founders of the family business, acknowledged some setbacks including the loss of his father and his brother, the other founders.  “But we never quit. Fortune’s history is filled with classic comeback stories. Because of this, we take risks with little fear,” Auersperg said. “Thirty years from now it’s highly likely Fortune will be relevant. Heck, I’ll only be 80 and my passion for high heels only grows with the years.”

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