Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards

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Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards was a successful New York-based shoe company founded in 1972 by Susan Bennis and Warren Edwards. It disestablished in 1997.

Career[edit]

Bennis is a graduate of New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.[1] In 1972 Bennis and Edwards had the opportunity to purchase the New York outlet of The Chelsea Cobbler,[1] a British shoe brand founded in 1967 by Richard Smith and Mandy Wilkins.[2] At the time, Bennis and Edwards hoped to combine their clothing designs (marketed under the name Kiss) with Chelsea Cobbler's footwear, but quickly decided to focus exclusively on their own shoe designs, which they had made in Italy.[1][3] By 1980, the Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards brand was known for expensive shoes with "outrageous" design elements such as unexpected material combinations, loud fabric prints, and elaborate decoration.[3]

Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards clients included Bruce Springsteen, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Cher, who wore their shoes in Moonstruck.[3] They maintained exclusivity by refusing to wholesale their shoes, selling only through their own shops at first.[3] In 1993, they granted the department store Henri Bendel permission to retail their shoes and handbags, including a large number of store exclusives,[4] although it had been reported a couple of years earlier by Women's Wear Daily that Neiman Marcus would market their line.[5]

In 1990 Bennis and Edwards moved their flagship store to West 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in New York City.[3] It closed down in 1997,[6] the same year the company disbanded.

Following the closure, Warren Edwards went solo the following year, opening a shop on Park Avenue, New York,[7] where he was still based in 2010.[8] In 2000, he was specialising in slightly modified classic styles of business and business-casual footwear for New York professionals.[9]

Awards[edit]

The firm won a Coty Award in 1982,[10][11] and the Cutty Sark Award in 1984.[12]

Exhibitions[edit]

Examples of Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards shoes are housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute,[13][14] the Victoria and Albert Museum, London,[15] and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who also hold some of their handbags.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Schiro, Anne-Marie (16 March 1980). "Fit. Comfort Most Important .These Shoe Designers Sell, And Wear Their Shoes". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pair of shoes by Richard Smith & Mandy Wilkins for Chelsea Cobbler". V&A Museum. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Schiro, Anne-Marie (18 July 1990). "New Store With Same Distinctive Shoes". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Spindler, Amy (23 February 1993). "Patterns". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Neiman Marcus to Market Susan Bennis Warren Line.". Women's Wear Daily. 2 December 1991. 
  6. ^ Halfbinger, David M. (16 May 1997). "Boutique for Shoes Quietly Closes Down". New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Schiro, Anne-Marie (8 December 1998). "The Imelda Factor in Every Stylish Woman's Heart". Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Randi Gollin & John Deiner, ed. (2010). New York City Shopping 2010/11.. Zagat Survey. p. 334. ISBN 9781604783001. 
  9. ^ Segal, Troy (August 2000). "Footwear Fervour". ABA Journal: 84. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Duka, John (27 May 1982). "KAREN AND DELL'OLIO VOTED INTO COTY HALL OF FAME". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  11. ^ McDowell, Colin (1984). McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion. Frederick Muller. p. 302. ISBN 0-584-11070-7. 
  12. ^ Duka, John (19 June 1984). "NOTES ON FASHION - 19 June 1984". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Susan Bennis & Warren Edwards shoes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collections". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Duka, John (25 May 1982). "Notes on Fashion: 25 May 1982". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Pair of mules by Susan Bennis Warren Edwards". V&A Museum. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Susan Bennis/Warren Edwards shoes and handbags in the Philadelphia Museum of Art". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

Agins, Teri. "New shoes leave women falling head over heels," The Wall Street Journal, reprinted in The Reading Eagle, November 9, 2008.
Author Unknown. "Fashion; Who's Who in High-Style Shoe Design," The New York Times, February 15, 1981.
Lee, Georgia. "Bennis/Edwards Going Into Wider Retail Orbit," Footwear News, June 3, 1991.
McNally, Pamela. "Bennis, Edwards Plan Move in NY With Coast to Follow," Footwear News, March 1990.
McNally, Pamela. "New York Footwear Stores That Are On Worth-Seeing List," Footwear News, February 1991.
Petzke, Diane. "The Scourge of Walls and Subways Enters the World of Haute Couture," The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 1984.