Remnants of a ‘Sex in the city’ shoe store
Show me a beautiful pair of shoes, and I become putty. Like that pair of Casadei wedges that came up for auction a few weeks ago.
But it’s hard to get excited about an S-shaped cushioned chair with wavy stripes, a U-shaped leather banquette, metal railings, knotty-pine shelving and copper chandeliers. But that’s what was up for bids last weekend at one of my favorite auction houses. They were the remnants of an upscale women’s shoe store called Stiletto that closed last year.
They were from a place where shoes once rested their own weary soles, and where they gave much pleasure to many women – well, at least to those who could actually stand up in stiletto heels.
The furnishings were pushed back in a corner to themselves for better display. These were the last things I’d expect to be see for sale, but you never know what’s going to show up at auction.
Stiletto closed in January 2010 after operating for 15 years in a ritzy neighborhood in Philadelphia called Rittenhouse Square. It carried top-brand designer shoes with prices to match, according to my research. The building is expected to be converted into a restaurant.
In Googling, I found that the store was beloved and not so loved, based on customer reviews dating to 2005. One customer called the merchandise “Euro Trash.” Another complained about the salespeople. Another called a suburban location “a shoe diva’s paradise.” Another called the shoes “sexy sexy sexy. Another said “I drool every time I pass the place.” It was also called a “Sex in the City” type shoe store.
Carrie Bradshaw of that popular TV show wouldn’t have recognized the items at auction. What remained was the stuff we barely notice when we walk into any store, but the auction house had tried its hardest to get us to “see” these items in a natural setting:
The long narrow wooden shelves were hung against a wall for better viewing. In an arrangement that invited conversation, two benches were bookended by fancy metal cabinets and a zebra rug was hung on a wall just behind them.
For those who loved this store, the auction would’ve been a good place to score some nostalgia, taking them back to the times when they sat on these benches to try on shoes or marveled at the high heels in glass cabinets. The fabric-covered chairs were a bit worn, but a good upholstery job could cure that.
Here’s what was sold and what it sold for (does not include the 15 percent premium):
U-shaped brown leather banquette with chrome feet, $200.
Double-sided bench, $200.
Two wrought iron etageres, $150.
Modern bench with wavy stripes, $125.
Wrought iron and glass display cabinet, $425.
Modern style counter, $750.
Three modern seats, $30.
22 wooden knotty pine wall-mount shelves, $750.
Two modern-style chandeliers (got broken in shipping), $25. Modern design iron railings (2 sets), $350.
Wrought iron contemporary curio cabinet (one glass door and shelves missing), $325.