You know you don’t get out much when you’re actually looking forward to a business trip to Atlanta.
For me, the trip represented more than just a location scout for an employee meeting, it would also be a footwear sight-seeing opportunity. My hometown is no slouch when it comes to fashion, but well, you’re not going to see “Real Housewives of Raleigh” anytime soon, either.
I started stalking as soon as I deplaned and sure enough, I quickly spotted a young man who appeared to be in his early 20s in a beautiful pair of black patent leather plain toes. To see a young man in shoes like that is a rarity, plus, did I mention that it was below 40 degrees and raining? But…I was waiting for my boss and didn’t want to be mid-snap when he appeared, so I didn’t approach the patent leather shoes. Kudos, dude, wherever you are.
A little later, I spotted a man wearing the coolest pair of antique-looking leather lace up boots. I’ve zearched on Zappos looking for zimilar ones, but I honestly can’t find anything quite like them. But the man was obviously in a hurry, and going the opposite way, and my camera was in my bag, not my hand, soooooooo…… Buh bye, boots.
And so it went. If I saw a great pair (of SHOES, get your mind out of the gutter), they were always walking the opposite way, or going too fast, or I would have inconvenienced my party. Darn.
But the next morning was a new day. As I was checking out of the hotel, the woman ahead of me had on an awesome pair of Pierre Hardy sneakers. I’m not exactly a sneaker fan, but these were just so incredible that I had to ask if I could snap her picture. Not only did she permit me, she enthusiastically explained she collected that particular designer. After we finished speaking, the gentleman next to her, who had listened to our entire exchange, thrust his foot at me, smiled, and politely asked if I would like to photograph his handmade Italian leather shoes.
I would indeed. They were a gorgeous tri-color wingtip derby. The man was kind enough to write down the maker, Cuoieria Fiorentina, for me. From the English version of the website, I learned that Fiorentina is a family-owned business just outside of Florence that has been making shoes for 35 years. I don’t much like their women’s shoes, but their men’s are fantastic, as are their bags and accessories.
I photographed one more pair of shoes at the airport waiting for my departure flight, but I’ll save that story for another post. Suffice it to say that what I really enjoyed most about the trip was more than discovering a couple of new (to me) designers. It was meeting people who were passionate about their shoes, the bits of leather and rubber and fabric they put on their feet to express themselves and carry them where they want to go.
I’m going back to Atlanta next month, and I’ve factored in a couple of destination shoe stores after my meeting ends: Bennie’s Shoes, which has been in business since 1909! and Sq Ft, in Decatur. I’ll be rolling into to RDU International really late, but I’m betting it will be worth it! Stay tuned for Atlanta field trip, part deux.