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Vanessa Noel (born October 12, ?) is an American luxury shoe designer, hotelier, gallery owner and philanthropist.
Vanessa Noel was born and raised in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on the main line with a social and aristocratic background. During Noel's childhood her mother was best friends with Grace Kelly. She was presented at the Philadelphia Charity Ball in Philadelphia, PA, and the International Debutante Ball in New York, NY. She has been described as a "native New Yorker."
She attended the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA and Cornell University where she was a member of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and Architecture. After graduation, she moved to New York City and launched her bespoke shoe line in 1987.
She currently serves on the board of Hanover Charities, sits on the council of Oceana, serves on the advisory board of the White Heron Theatre Company, and is the Vice Chairman on the board of Round Hill Hotel and Villas Jamaica.
Early in her career Noel was known to draw the inspiration for her shoes from her architecture background, and has said, “I view my shoes as sensual art objects. I create them to be both an individual sculpture and a natural, elegant extension of a woman’s leg.” Her shoes have been considered works of art and were included in exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Rheinnisches Landesmuseum in Bonn, Germany. Her designs are also in the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA.
Noel is the sole designer for her label, and travels to Italy several times per year to work with her factories and various artisans to create samples for her upcoming collections. She also works very closely with Italian tanneries to create exclusive skins such as 24 karat gold covered alligator and glow in the dark python.
In 2004 Noel debuted the stretch alligator boots that became her signature, and in 2008 they appeared on Kim Cattrall in the Sex and the City movie. She holds exclusive use of stretch alligator after working with the tannery to develop it.
Known to be very hands on, she travels the world sourcing materials for her collections and works with artisans from India and Kashmir. She also supports the organic and free trade industries, using eco-friendly materials that meet luxury standards.
Her collections are all hand crafted in Milan, Italy. She is best known for creating shoes that use exotic skins, fur, and other rare materials. In 1988 she designed a pair of satin pumps encrusted with 177.85 carats of rubies, which she sold in her store for $15,000. The Vanessa Noel label also encompasses bridal shoes, men’s footwear, cashmere shawls, handbags, and other accessories.
Vanessa Noel’s shoes have appeared in Sex And The City the movie, Oprah, the Martha Stewart show, NBC News, music videos for Mary J. Blige and Janet Jackson, and many fashion magazines. Her footwear has also been used in the runway shows of Nicole Miller, Rebecca Moses, Chadwick Bell, Keith Lissner, Ralph Lauren and Ralph Rucci's shows in both Paris and New York.
Noel has developed a cult like following of socialites, celebrities, and style makers since her launch in 1987, such as Princess Michael of Kent who most recently wore Vanessa Noel pumps to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in the spring of 2011,
In October 1987 Noel simultaneously launched her fashion label and her first boutique on East 66th Street and Madison Avenue, across the street from Imelda Marcos’ old townhouse. Her label was an immediate success and in 1990 she was asked to join the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) with recommendation letters written by Carolina Herrera, Carolyn Roehm and the CFDA director at the time Fern Mallis.
Noel introduced her couture bridal collection in 1990, which was sold in her own boutique as well as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Shortly after the collection’s launch, Noel designed a pair of wedding pumps for Mariah Carey's wedding to Tommy Mottola in 1991. Noel's bridal collection was extremely well received, and Vera Wang asked Noel to do her first collection of bridal shoes as well.
In 1998 Noel designed a collection for C.Z. Guest, inspired by Guest’s love of gardening. The limited edition CZ by Vanessa Noel collection was sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus stores.
Noel opened her flagship boutique on East 64th Street in October 2004. She designed the nearly 2,000 square foot space herself.
Vanessa Noel Hotel
In the summer of 2002 Noel became the first American designer to own her own hotel with the launch of the Vanessa Noel Hotel. Also the first boutique hotel in Nantucket, the VNH is home to a Vanessa Noel shoe boutique and the Café V bar, where Noel titled the menu “How to Look Good in Your Shoes” and offered high-end wellness food.
Vanessa Noel Hotel Green
Noel opened her second hotel, Nantucket's first, and still only as of 2013, environmentally conscious organic boutique hotel, the Vanessa Noel Hotel Green. The Hotel Green uses organic linen bedding, recycled Frank Gehry-designed cardboard chairs and coffee tables, hemp bath linens, Anna Sova milk paint, eco-friendly cleaning products and ayurvedic bath products.
Seven Seas Gallery
Noel also opened the Seven Seas Gallery across the street from her two hotels in 2005. The art gallery opens for two months every year, July and August. Noel describes her gallery as “a cultural anthology depicted through art, literature, photography, fashion, furniture and sculpture.” The Seven Seas immediately became a destination for decorators, and art collectors and Nantucket locals.
Vanessa Noel is the sole owner of Vanessa Noel Couture, the Vanessa Noel Hotel, Vanessa Noel Hotel Green, Café V, and the Seven Seas Gallery.
In 2005, 2010, and again in 2012 she chaired the Hanover Charities Sugarcane Ball, a fundraising event that is held annually at Round Hill in Jamaica. She also holds a Jamaican themed fund raising event in her shoe boutique before the Sugarcane Ball to raise money for Hanover Charities.
Noel became an Oceana Council member in 2010 and regularly chairs fund raising events to benefit the organization. Noel also designed a special edition Oceana shoe that was auctioned on Charitybuzz with proceeds benefiting the organization.
Kipton Art Foundation
In 2010 she became a Vice Council Member of the Kipton Art Foundation, which works to provide artists with stipends to produce their work and to promote up and coming artists.
Other charitable contributions include:
- The Princess Grace Foundation
- Community Research Institute "Heart & Soul" Benefit Committee Member (1990)
- The Fashion Center NYC Bid for Kids Designer Committee Member (1997)
- VP of the East 64th Street Block Association (2009)
- Fair Fund (2009)
- Bailey's & Clothes Off Our Backs (2009)
- Philabunndance (2011) Noel donated proceeds from sales following her talk at the Brown Brothers Harris Women's Forum.
Vanessa Noel shoes have appeared in the following films:
- Grace of My Heart (Illeana Douglas) (1996)
- Deconstructing Harry (Hazelle Goodman) (1997)
- Runaway Bride (1999)
- Table One (Michael Bregman) (2000)
- Sex in the City (2008)
Vanessa Noel has appeared on the following television shows:
- Rachael Ray $40 A Day (February 4, 2005)
- The Oprah Winfrey Show, Vanessa Noel endorsed by Oprah Winfrey
- The Martha Stewart Show (Date ? & January 2011)
- Plum TV (Date ? & July 28, 2010)
- The Today Show
- Fox Business
- Backstage Hollywood
- Real Housewives of New York (2011)
- Seeking Solutions with Susan (2011)
Vanessa Noel was featured in the following books:
- IMPACT: 50 Years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America 
- Silver Girl (2011)
- American Fashion Travel (2011)
- American Fashion Designers at Home (2010)
- Caribbean Hideaways (2010)
- American Fashion Accessories (2008)
- Hip Hotels (2003)
- Nantucket Nights (2002)
- The Business of Bliss (1999)
- Zagat Shopping NYC
- Vachon, Dana. "The Nantucket Chronicles." Departures May–June 2008. Web.
- "Hanover Charities Board". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- "Fur Flies on the SATC Set." Editorial. Grazia 19 Nov. 2007. Print
- American Fashion Travel: Designers on the Go. 1st ed. New York: Assouline Pub., 2011. Print.
- "Three Made-to-Order Collections." Footwear News [New York] 8 June 2009. Print.
- "Women's Fashion: Into the Night." Women's Wear Daily [New York] 6 Dec. 2010. Print.
- "Prices." New York Magazine 26 Sept. 1988: 32. Web.
- Smith, Emily. "Pushy Puts NY Foot Forward." The New York Post 29 Apr. 2011, Page Six sec.: 14. Print.
- Francis, Lorna. "Vanessa Noel Goes Public with Shoe 'Sculptures'" Footwear News 14 Mar. 1988. Print.
- Bergdorf Goodman - World-renowned Fashion, plus Exclusive Beauty Brands. Web. <http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/>.
- Neiman Marcus - Fashion's Premier Designers, plus Beauty's Best Brands. Web. <http://www.neimanmarcus.com/>.
- "A Wedding to Di For." People 21 June 1993. Web.
- "Special Services with a Personal Touch." New York Magazine 14 Feb. 1994: 74. Web.
- Ahern, Nichole B. "An Insider's Guide to the Islands." Boston July 2002. Web.
- Churchman, Lee. "Designing Woman: Bryn Mawr Native Vanessa Noel's Designs for Shoes Keep Feet Both Fashionable and Comfortable." Main Line Life [Bryn Mawr] 1994. Print.
- "C.Z. Guest." Style.com: The Online Home of Fashion: News, Runway Shows, Trends, Fashion Models, Designers, Shopping, Beauty & More. Web. 09 Aug. 2011. <http://www.style.com/beauty/icon/111203ICON>.
- "In Full Bloom." Shuz Fall 1998: 16. Print.
- "Stilettos, Ballet Flats & Graffiti." Daily Front Row. Daily Front Row, 14 Oct. 2004. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://www.fashionweekdaily.com/scene/article/12080>.
- Gross, Jaime. "Nantucket." Travel + Leisure July 2004. Web.
- Kargman, Jill. "City Chic Comes to Nantucket." Departures Nov.-Dec. 2002. Web.
- Susan Magrino Agency. Vanessa Noel Introduces Fashion Forward Food Selections at the Vanno Restaurant. New York, 2002. Print.
- Shi, Jim. "Noel's Taking Over Nantucket." Daily Front Row. Daily Front Row, 5 July 2006. Web. <http://www.fashionweekdaily.com/the-fix/article/7404>.
- Molvar, Ed. Kari. "A Shore Thing." Boston Magazine May 2006. Web.
- Matchan, Linda. "Green Spin, Vanessa Noel Offers a Nantucket Hotel Experience That's Earth-friendly, Chemical-free and Chic." The Boston Globe 21 Sept. 2006. Print.
- "1.29.10: Film, Fashion, and Form | New York Social Diary." New York Social Diary. David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com, 29 Jan. 2010. Web. <http://newyorksocialdiary.com/node/1700342>.
- McMullan, Patrick. "1.30.12 New York Social Diary". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "Ocean Council." Oceana North America. Oceana. Web. <http://na.oceana.org/en/about-us/leadership/ocean-council>
- KiptonART Foundation. <http://www.kiptonartfoundation.org/>.
- "An Industry's Discards; A Child's Inspiration." New York Magazine 5 May 1997: 49. Web.
- Johnson, Richard. "We Hear..." The New York Post 26 June 2009, Page Six sec. Print.
- "Nantucket." $40 a Day. Food Network. 4 Feb. 2005. Television.
- "Weddings Good Things: Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue." Martha Stewart Weddings. Martha
- Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., Jan. 2008. <http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/article/weddings-good-things>.
- "March Madness." Real Housewives of New York. Bravo. New York, New York, 14 Apr. 2011. Television.
- Kaplan, Rebecca (2012). Impact: 50 Years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. New York: Abrams. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-4197-0231-0.
- Hilderbrand, Elin. Silver Girl: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown and, 2011. Print.
- American Fashion Travel: Designers on the Go. 1st ed. New York: Assouline Pub., 2011. Print.
- Suqi, Rima A. "Vanessa Noel." American Fashion Designers at Home. New York: Assouline, 2010. 182-83. Print.
- Nolan, Meg. Caribbean Hideaways: Discovering Enchanting Rooms and Private Villas. New York: Rizzoli, 2010. Print.
- Price, Candy Pratts., Jessica Glasscock, and Art Tavee. American Fashion Accessories. New York: Assouline, 2008. Print.
- Ypma, Herbert J. M. "Nantucket." Hip Hotels. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson, 2001. 124-29. Print.
- Hilderbrand, Elin. Nantucket Nights. New York: St. Martin's, 2002. Print.
- Allon, Janet. "Fancy Footwork." The Business of Bliss: How to Profit from Doing What You Love. New York: Hearst, 1999. 30-34. Print.