Monday, February 27, 2006

70s House Spotting...

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the 70s House has been featured in the Vintage Fashion Guild Blog. Check out:

Vintage Fashion Guild: That 70's Life

Thanks for the mention! We are certainly going to miss that house when it sells. We will have other retro real estate offers in the future, but it will always have a special place in our minds :)


Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Wild, Wide World of Hangers - Part II

I received some responses over my dilemma in the previous post.

What does one really do with all of those accumulated metal hangers??

I did a search and found that LifeHacker offers the following tip MacGyver Tip: Wire Hangers
You can make a nifty sock retriever for behind the sofa.

Bonnie suggests taking the hangers to smaller thrift stores where they bundle them up and sell them.

Harriet keeps them in the toolshed, for assistance with aerosal painting. She gives the rest to car enthusiast relatives for respraying bodywork.

Lucy recommends the local dump, where they recycle them, and Sue puts them in her recycle bin.

Jonathan educated me on the fact that the inventor of the wire hanger was a canadian, who came up with the invention in the 1890s while working at a Detroit wire company. Now I know who to blame for all of this!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Wide, Wild World of Hangers

Hanger tips
A non-ode to the wire hanger.

Looking for this post?


Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Retro Pad c 1970

The last posts on platform shoes have put us in a temporarily 70s mood...

For those of you who love the 70s - here is a great house. Built in exactly 1970, not much has changed decorwise, aside from the living room lamps. It would be great for someone who wants to film something set in the 70s, or just likes to surround themselves in their favorite decade - if that happens to be the 70s! Just bring your bean bag chair!
Not too many times do I see a home that...with only the most minor alterations...makes you wonder if you just stepped out of a time machine. So, I thought I would share it. Note the relation the textiles (carpet, upholstery) have to fashions that were current at the time. Sometimes there is a slight lag - where furniture, etc, is a year or two behind when it appears in clothing at least at the general consumer level. What do you think the correlation is in this case?

Enough "academics"...let's take a look inside!!!

Fondue, anyone?
Can't you just imagine some hipsters chatting
over some sterno-flamed melted cheese?
And don't forget all the compliments
on the gold shag rug!

"Sunshine Day!"
A florida room IN Florida.

I can just picture a young gent in a butterfly collar coming
to pick up his date, while dad in his loosened wide poly tie
and rolled up shirt sleeves gives him the once over!

By the way...the best part is that it's for sale!
If this floats your boat for your next home or a great little secret getaway , drop us a line for the lowdown! It is located in an undiscovered nook of sunny florida!


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe - The Finale

Part VII: Identification of Famolare Shoes

Today concludes our series on Joe Famolare and the platform shoe!

Read Part I - Part II - Part III- Part IV & V or Part VI

A commonly asked question is, how does one identify vintage Famolare shoes from modern. Aside from just inherently knowing what style elements are typical of different decades and years in general, one way is to look at the "label" so to speak. "Famolare" is imprinted on the inside of every shoe. In contemporary shoes, this will be in a very angular, block letter. In shoes that were produced from the beginning up through 1987-89 to the best of our knowledge, use a font that is more arabic, or rounded in style. Occasionally, script was also used.

The bicycle is present on almost all Famolare shoes, and it is the compnay trademark. Joe selected this image based on his fascination with the tall bikes that were ridden on the streets of Italy. Now, the company is held under the apropriately named Bicycle, Inc.

~ The End ~


Workshop participants reminisced about Famolare shoes. Folks had fond memories, and remember them being priced at the high end of the market. Also discussed was what to collect today, and the conscensus was on the "Get There" would be important as it was the shoe that truly made the name for the company.

In this presenter's opinion, Famolare shoes are much to platforms as spring-o-laters are to mule pumps. They provide further ease of regular movement that sometimes their counterparts do not.

Seventeen Magazine (1970s)
West Side Story - Official Press photos
Press releases/material - Famolare shoes and, Capezio, and VABEC
Vermont Business News/ Trade Papers
Personal commentary and observations

Photo Credits:
Lizzie Bramlett, Fuzzylizzie Vintage
Margaret Wilds, "Denisebrain"/Material Girl Bags
Jamie Hicks, Repeat Vintage
Chris Mastrangelo, VintageGent


We would love to hear from you...just click on "comments" to leave a comment!
Or drop us an email. We hoped you liked our feature! (and would love to hear about your shoes as well)


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Joe Famolare and the Platform shoe, Part VI

Part VI: Joe's Retirement and the future of Famolare shoes

Read Part I - Part II - Part III- Part IV & V

Joe is 74 years old this year and living in Vermont. (his adopted state) He is married to the same woman he met at Emerson college in his 20s and has grown daughters.

In 1989, he licensed his company and retired. Information differs here, however. Some sources report that the name was licensed earlier in 1987, and he did reobtain the rights to the Famolare name in the 90s.

He was inducted into the Fashion Association Hall of Fame in 1995. But ritirement bored him, so he turned an old farm into Vermont Agricultural, Business, Education Center (VABEC). There is a nursing school, buildings for Famolare shoes, land trust societies, and Vermont College.

His other major project is bringing business (both domestic and international) back to the city of Brattleboro Vermont. Many canadian and international businesses left over the years., and has worked with his daughter, Hilary, to create a Foreign Trade Zone to fight escalating property taxes as well as to combat abandoned empy warehouses left in the wake of Georgia-Pacific Paper and other companies leaving.

What is next for Joe Famolare? He certainly is a busy guy. He also, as of last year, according to an employee of Famolare shoes, is still in the mix. he still is involved on a day to day basis with Famolare shoes. He has an office, and although he is no longer involved with every aspect of the compnay, it is still very much his child and he is very much involved.

Tomorrow...the Conclusion


Friday, February 10, 2006

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe - Part IV & V

Part IV: The Famolare Family of Shoes

Read Part I - Part II - Part III

The unisex Get There would be joined by several other models of the patented design.

To prove that platform shoes could be sexy, Joe turned his sites to the "Be Hi" (below). It featured a variation on the patented sole and was a bit closer to the traditional pump...with a difference. (Be-Hi photos compliments of Jamie Hicks,


The Bibiana's by Famolare Collection featured a line of casual wedge sandals in 1974


The Hilary collection was named for daughter Hilary. Ads compliments of Fuzzylizzie


The "Hi There" was a nod to - 70s style - of the wedge look that had been popular in the 30s and the 40s. It was introduced in the late 70s and were contemporary to Candie's high heeled wooden mules. It is reported that the "Hi There" did not do as projected because the platform shoe was on the decline as a fashion statement. However, today, they remain much sought after by wearers of vintage fashion due to the popularity of the wedge heel. (Hi There photos compliements of Margaret Wilds,




A rare oddity is "Wooden Things" also from the 70s. (photo compliments of Jamie Hicks, )


Part V: The 80s

The dawn of the 80s again saw Joe on the forefront of creative marketing. He teamed up with reknowned photographer Richard Avedon to do the "Footloose and Famolare" ad campaign in the very early 80s. This time, instead of using models or diagrams, they featured Joe himself. Now that the craze for platform shoes subsided, Famolare continued with producing shoes, and keeping his name linked to high quality footwear.

Shoes at this time featured a variety of sole types...the wave design and others. It still had an underlying message of comfort with fashion, but for the first time a more conventional pump was introduced.

If you notice, the shoes all have names. The earlier shoe line had "There" or "Hi" affixed. There was also a "Dance There" as well. This line played upon the founder's surname....


The Walkalare was soft calfskin loafer and came in a variety of colors

The Dreamalare was intended for "vacation wear" or street wear and almost brought to mind a much lower "Hi There" and came in a variety of heights.

The "Golden Sole" was to provide comfort with dining and dancing all night long and was the true "dress shoe" of the line for ladies. It went from the dance floor to the board room.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe - Part III

Part II Joe "Gets There"

clogDespite many naysayers who thought he was crazy, when Joe saw the "writing on the wall" at Marx and Newman, he didn't cultivate his long list of business connections from all over the world. His business ethic and the personal commitment he made to the company just wouldn't permit his conscience to.

He totally started from scratch with his new company. He had to start over with being the new guy and pitching his ideas to investors to get nickel one. But in the end, he charmed them with his ideas and his sense of showmanship.

An early product was a molded clog, for which he won a Coty award in 1973.

Even though the clog was a sensation in the fashion world from a design perspective, what really showcased Joe's abilities as a self promoter was the "Get There"

getthereadThe Get There took the world of platform shoes by storm.

The ad at right appeared in seventeen magazine, compliments of Lizzie Bramlett of Fuzzylizie vintage, and featured Joe's rough pencil drawings of the 4 wave sole idea.

The secret behind the shoes, while many platform shoes of the day left one teetering, the Famolare platform shoe was well balanced and practical.

The patented, 4 wave sole promotes posture and balance. Instead of having a main area of balance underneath the ball of the foot and then one under the heel, with a hollow at the arch, creating the "figure 8" style foot print, the foot print is a series of waves that helps one "roll" and flow when they walk as opposed to the other two mobility situations with platform shoes.

The next ad appeared in magazines and newspapers everywhere as the "birth" of the Get There...featuring an implication that the Get There was carved out of marble like a masterpiece sculpture...

gettheresiteadNot only did he use the traditional means of print advertising to promote his product, such as shown below, but he even choreographed the "Get There" dance, and ran a contest for an aspiring song writer to perform the "Get There" song on a 45 rpm record, and the record was released and it became the theme song for them.

Joe envisioned it as a yearly contest to find aspiring talent and spread the word about comfortable platform shoes that you could actually walk in! This didn't turn into a yearly contest, but it was something that burned the Get There in everyone's memory. They could read about it, dance about it and listen to it!

The shoes not only hold a patent but are on display in the Smithsonian museum, and is also featured at the Costume, Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. So next time you are in the the exhibit a visit.

Read Part I Here
Read Part II Here


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe - Part II

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe
Part II.

The Capezio and Bandolino Years

Read Part One HERE

westsidestory3Capezio was founded in 1887 by Salvatore Capezio and still exists today as a tristed source and household name for dance shoes, later on fashion shoes, and now competitive ice skates. During Joe's tenure he designed shoes for the Bolshoi Ballet and many others. Other highlights were designing shoes for the legendary Twyla Tharp's Dance company.

His designs and selections also most notably appeared in the original Broadway Production of West Side story. The "Dance Oxford" created by Joe especially for West Side Story is still in use on the stage to this very day.

In my opinion, heading for the theater not only gave him an understanding of what was required in active shoes but gave him a lot of inspiration on how to be savvy, unconventional marketer and promoter of his product. One instance later found him skating on a float in a Thanksgiving Day parade to promote his shoes!

He left Capezio in 1965 over irreconcilable differences. Capezio was heading more and more into putting fashion before function, and wanting to break into the fashion market more while eliminating some comfort features in shoes, and Joe wanted to concentrate a little more on function.

His next stop along the way, was in 1965, as an executive for Marx and Newman. He was in charge of their popular division, Bandolino shoes that were sold at Neiman Marcus and elsewhere . He not only was executive vice president but designed while he was there. I am not sure exactly which models he designed, but they all were at least selected by Joe even if he didn't design every single model during his tenure there. The company started to take a turn when Mr. Newman left the business, and as the company got more political, Joe decided that it was time to leave.

In 1969, Joe formed Famolare shoes...and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomorrow: Part Three...Joe "Gets There".


Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe - Part I


On August 16, 2005, "Joe Famolare and the History of Famolare Shoes" was presented in workshop format as a part of The Vintage Fashion Guild's "Fashionable Summer" designer workshop series on week #7.. The presenter was Chris Mastrangelo. The following article is a synopsis of presented information. Text (c) VintageGent, and The Vintage Fashion Guild. and the additional photos are copyright their respective sources (advertisements, press photos) or contributors (shoe photos). Use without permission prohibited, but may be obtained under certain circumstances and permitted in writing.

We hope you enjoy!

Joe Famolare and the History of Famolare Shoes

Part I: The Beginning.

Joe Famolare grew up in a third generation shoe making family. He was born in Boston and grew up in Chestnut Hill, which is a neighborhood/area on Boston's south side. His father, Joe Sr. owned Famolare Shoe Engineering, which was opened in 1934. The company made cutting patterns for the shoe industry. Joe Jr started working at the family business at the tender age of 12. Very cognizant of the child labor laws, Joe Sr. required him to pay income tax and file at that age. When he became the age of majority, he had already designed shoes and was a young executive at the family business.

Despite this early sucess he deviated from the family business and started singing in nightclubs for tips! According to Joe himself: " I hated the shoe business. It was so dusty and boring, and the people didn't seem happy. I could sing, and I studied voice seriously, and I found that people liked to hear me sing. So I went to Emerson to be an actor."

For the next several years, he attended Emerson college in Boston and pursued a degree in the musical theater. Midway through, his dreams were put on hold. He was drafted by the US Army. Joe served at the very tail end of the Korean war as a radio operator, broadcasting having been a minor in college studies.

After he left the millitary, at age 23, he soon decided that a singing career was not for him. Despite his disenchantment with the shoe business, he learned that long, highly irregular hours of a musical career and the irregular and meager pay brought forth by relying on tips was not for him.

Joe Sr. demanded that he could not just wander around "finding himself, that Joe Jr. needed to get a job. So, Joe was again hurdled into the shoe business and took night courses to finish a degree.

His decided deviation from his roots was short lived indeed. He melded his two interests leaving the family business being hired at Capezio, reknowned in the dance shoe business... in 1960.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II...


Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Trivia Question

The Vintage Fashion Guild has started a blog, and they pose a trivia question:

Who first coined the term "Fashion Victem"?

Mosey on over and give them your answer!

Vintage Fashion Guild: Fashion Victims

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another Snazzy Suit - 40s style...

Our friends at Past Perfect Vintage have this snazzy one up for grabs that we just had to mention. All the 40s loving guys out there may want to take note.

The following entry is reprinted from
, the site which it is available at.
(When you click, scroll down on the page a short way). Tell them the folks at VintageGent sent you :)

Dated Men's 1940s Suit by Albert Lea

"When the soldiers and sailors came home form WWII, they needed clothes. Lots of clothes. Their old suits didn�t fit or had been cut up for ladies suits and children�s wear. So they went to the tailor in droves. This classic 1940s men�s suit was custom made, and it has all the hallmarks of a immediate post war suit: a double breasted , boxy jacket with wide peaked lapels and big shoulder pads, pleated and cuffed pants and in this case , patch pockets, a feature restricted during the war . The wool is a tan with red and pale grey striping. A great suit and you know a returning solider was darn glad to wear it instead of olive drab Labels: Andrew Boyum Tailor Albert Lea Minnesota & B. H. Vondomin June 1947

Condition: Excellent.

Size: A Sz 42S? Chest: 44", Shoulders 19.5" , Sleeve 24", Neck to Hem 28.5", Waist 34", Outseam 38", Inseam 28", with 1 3/4" cuff and 1 1/2"hem"