By Jennifer Glickel
MIDTOWN — This lucky reporter just fulfilled every shoe-savvy Manhattan woman’s dream in fewer than 10 minutes.
I was sent to the Warwick Hotel on West 54th Street to cover the semi-annual Manolo Blahnik sample sale, which I had long suspected would be a madhouse of crazed, but stylish, New York women playing tug of war with hundreds of pairs of exquisite designer shoes.
But while I never made it into the sale to find out, I did manage to score a pair of my very own Manolo Blahniks.
Since my goal was to chat with people who had actually experienced the sale, I hung out around the entryway to catch women on their way out — the big white shopping bags many of them were carrying was a dead giveaway.
"So, what did you get?" I asked Anne Buovolo, 33, of Gramercy when she agreed to speak with me.
"Four pairs of shoes," Buovolo replied.
"And how much did you spend?" I asked.
"I spent $490 for four pairs of shoes — and they’re fantastic," she told me.
Buovolo and I talked about what the atmosphere was like on the inside, since she was able to make it in before the announcement came that every pair of shoes in size 37 and 38 — the mid-range of woman’s shoe sizes — had sold out.
"It's craziness," Buovolo said.
"André Leon Talley is yelling at women telling them 'Those do nothing for you, skip them,' and 'Those pumps are amazing on you, you have to buy them, sister!'" she said of the ebullient Vogue editor who was hosting the event.
As for the selection of luxurious footwear, she said, while every kind of shoe imaginable from sandals to boots were on sale, it was relatively slim pickings for her more-or-less typical 8 1/2 size feet.
"If you have a big foot, the world is your oyster," she said.
Like any reasonable woman with a penchant for torturing myself with shoe envy would do, I asked Buovolo to show me the goods. She pulled out her purchases one by one, and with each reveal I grew more and more jealous. The last pair she displayed was a stunning pair of strappy gold leather sandals, which would have perfectly matched a dress of mine.
"These were the pair I was iffy about," she said of the four-inch heeled golden beauties. "I'm kind of having buyer's remorse since I also got the other three."
"Are you kidding? They're gorgeous and were such a good deal," I said, reassuring her of the wisdom of her purchase.
"Ehh, I don’t know. Do you want them?" she said to me. My jaw dropped.
At her insistence I tried them on. I felt just like Cinderella, but in my case the perfectly fitting glass slipper was a fabulous designer shoe that cost less than one-eighth of its $815 retail price.
I happily gave Buovolo the money for the shoes, to which she replied, "I feel so much better having three pairs of shoes I don't need instead of four pairs of shoes I don't need."
And that is how a 10-minute conversation outside of a sample sale got me a pair of Manolo Blahniks — and one step closer to New York's ultimate fictional glamour icon, Carrie Bradshaw.