belgian shoe

And That, My Friend, Is Why We Wear Belgian Shoes

Hildamae, my somewhat uppity mother, upon whose knee I learned to also be somewhat uppity, had a few mantras that have stayed with me all the days of my life. “A LADY NEVER WEARS PRINTS TO THE CITY”. “GIN SHOULD BE STIRRED, NEVER SHAKEN, AND NEVER BEFORE NOON”. “A PERSON’S SHOES TELLS THE TRUE STORY”. and at the age of 12, when I came on my very first outing to New York City with Hildamae, we stayed at the Saint Regis Hotel. I had vichyssoise for the first time. And to this day, I don’t really care for cold potato soup. But a few things happened during that first , very brief, stay in New York City. First of all, it started a lifelong love affair with New York City, the Broadway Theater, Cabaret, and Belgian Shoes.

I saw my very first Broadway show, The Little Foxes. It starred Geraldine Page and Rip Torn and was written by Lillian Hellman. foxes

And in the now legendary King Cole Room, Mabel Mercer was tickling  the piano keys. Little did I know that I had just been exposed to fame and legend. Had never heard of Broadway, Lillian Hellman, Mabel Mercer, Geradline Page, Rip Torn…..or Belgian Shoes.

The iconic shoe is a very quiet status symbol. It isn’t in your face like a pair of Guccis. Nor the mid brow Tory Burch with it’s gaudy circle of T’s using up the entire front of the shoe… LOOK AT ME , I’M WEARING TORY BURCH..please don’t. So arriviste.


But, Belgian Shoe does have it’s symbol. And the eye of the cognoscenti can spot it all the way across the room at the Negresco. (don’t tell anyone, but it’s that cutesy pie little bow, even on the men’s shoes). And will make a beeline to your table or at the very least have Jean-Paul bring you a Pimm’s Cup.

“But Hildamae. Why do we have to come back in a month to get the soles? Can’t we get the whole shoe now? Or do you just want an excuse to get back to New York City?”

We’ll take them.

Her matchless phrasing gave a new dimension to some of the greatest songs ever written

Originally published August 29, 2012