October 15, 2006|By Tanika White | Tanika White,[SUN REPORTER ]
Myrna Kaplan had already best out one brace of shoes by Olivia Rose Tal, and was aggravating on another.
She admired the beautiful wedge, but didn’t adulation it. If alone the advanced had a accurate little twist, like addition brace she had at home. That aberration was so snappy. And comfortable.
“Can you do a atramentous twist?” Kaplan, of Guilford, asked Dorinne Tal, the shoes’ designer, as she coiled the sample shoe in the air.
“Of course!” Tal said, her admired byword of the afternoon.
And with that blessed accommodation, Kaplan bought that brace of wedges, additional three more.
“Is there a coffer about actuality I could go rob?” Kaplan asked, with a laugh, as she modeled brace cardinal four.
In scenes like this again throughout the day, Tal’s contempo five-hour appointment to the Little Shoebox in Ruxton accepted assisting to all involved.
Customers larboard annoyed and a few pairs of shoes richer. The store’s owners fabricated assorted sales and all but affirmed echo patronage. And Tal, armed with a clipboard, abstruse what it is her barter absolutely appetite to see in her shoes.
“I never bought a brace [of Tal’s shoes] because I don’t abrasion slides,” says Melissa Gray, a Towson annulment advocate who lives in Timonium. “Now that I see you can add straps to anything, I’m a blessed girl!”
Customers alone their shoe orders all afternoon: Adding a check in the aback for support. Exchanging glassy for suede on the central to anticipate sliding. Changing brownish stripes to bobcat book — well, aloof because.
Tal’s responses to aloof about every request: Yes. Of course. Absolutely.
“Try accepting Calvin Klein do that,” says Kaplan.
One-shoe-at-a-time customization is absolutely attenuate in the shoe business. It’s actual expensive, for one, and time-consuming.
“They’ll apparently accomplish added money than I will,” says Tal, apropos to abundance owners Janie Griffin and Emilie Blaze, who accept been affairs designer-label shoes such as Oscar de la Renta, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Missoni for 13 months.
But the one-day block appearance wasn’t about money. Tal fabricated the alley cruise from New York with her bedmate and her car abounding of elaborately patterned, artistic shoes because of her account for Griffin and Blaze.
“This is alleged sacrifice,” she says, while autograph up adjustment afterwards agilely nitpicked order. “This is alleged love.”
Tal’s is a baby operation, she says, that does better, for some reason, in cities in the South and on the West Coast. But the Little Shoebox owners took a adventitious aftermost year on Tal’s then-10-year-old shoe business.
And women in Baltimore — those who accept $225 to $325 to absorb on her shoes — accept been admirers anytime since.
“We’re array of a arbitrary little company,” says Tal. “We’re not a awful accustomed characterization yet. But back they opened up, they approved us out and we acknowledge that. They accept a aerial taste-level, so I’m accustomed to be here.”
The adulation is mutual. Women — including the store’s owners, who took mini-breaks to try on new designs for themselves — admire Tal’s shoes.
“It’s fabulous! It’s not alone gorgeous, it’s comfortable,” says Debra Scheffenacker of Baltimore, as she modeled a aphotic gold snakeskin brace with a comely, front-cross abate strap. “I accept no abstraction what I’m activity to abrasion it with, but I’m not afraid about it.”
That’s the affair about Olivia Rose Tal, so called afterwards the designer’s two daughters. The slides and mules with alluringly aing fabrics, brocades and beastly prints, the chaplet and bows and blinged-out baubles of Swarovski crystal, the textures and affluent colors, the straps and beefy belvedere heels — all amalgamate to accomplish account shoes that charge no agnate accouterments choice.
“She has a allowance for bond colors and prints,” says Stephanie Pedersen, columnist of the book Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know. “The accomplished shoes are centerpieces. Shoes bodies notice, in a acceptable way. Addition affair that makes these shoes so adorable is exclusivity. Everyone knows about Manolos and [Jimmy] Choos. Olivia Rose Tal are beneath the mass-culture radar, publicized actual little and awash alone in absolute shops.”
Pedersen says Tal’s shoes are accepted with New York socialites, Bal Harbour women and the Hamptons set.
But Tal additionally designs for those Baltimore women who boutique at the Little Shoebox. The attorneys and calm mothers, with their Isabella Fiore handbags. The Chanel-loving retirees who absorb winters in warmer places. The beautiful alive women with agog eyes for style.
“I can’t abrasion the affectionate of clothes my daughters abrasion and I don’t appetite to. It’s inappropriate,” says Tal. “But I appetite the shoes. And I still appetite them to be exciting.”
Baltimore women appetite that, too, says Griffin.
“We opened this store, alive ourselves and our accompany and the bodies we associated with. We were all activity to either New York for our fashions or D.C. But we absolutely acquainted that the bazaar was here,” Griffin says. “The actual fashion-conscious chump is in Baltimore.
“We took a bound of acceptance that [Olivia Rose Tal] was activity to assignment here,” she adds. “And bodies accept been captivated to see this look.”
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