Meet the Man Who Made 3,000 Pairs of High Heels for Prince

"At one point, we were averaging 30 to 40 pairs of shoes a month for Prince," Gary says.

"I think he must have worn at least two or three of those shoes a day because he refused to be seen at, say, a press conference in the morning wearing the same heels as he wore onstage the night before." [...]

"He was very much involved in the process," Gary says. "Prince would get attached to a certain fabric and bring it in to me and ask, 'Okay, how can we cut this? Do we do it on the bias?' He really dug into the process." The details had to be precise, even when it was just a simple color or fabric change of the same shoe from the original mold. Sometimes, the musician's stylist would attach Prince's symbol to the zipper for added embellishment. And because Prince's performances required intense movement, the heel was supported with a stainless steel bar, so as to ensure that it wouldn't snap off when he was coming back up from a split. "We also used a heavier wood on the shoes that we knew he was going to do the splits in, to absorb more impact," Gary says. [...]

There was only one instance in which Prince was adamantly against something Gary suggested. "He was a Jehovah's Witness," the shoemaker explains. "I wanted to use one of the 3-D scanning machines I'd just gotten to mold the new shoe forms for him and make the process a bit faster, but he refused. I guess they don't believe in using technology to re-create a certain part of the body." Gary continued to make Prince's footwear by hand, even crafting "slippers" for him to wear while he was at home. "They were actually more like platform flip-flops," he says.


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4 Responses:

  1. Lloyd says:

    His name was Prince, and he liked hosiery.

  2. Tim says:

    I wonder if this inspired the scene in Kinky Boots (or the entire film).

  3. Kaleberg says:

    Most people wear at least two shoes a day, so two or three isn't all that many.

  4. Kyle Huff says:

    But JW's are cool with fentanyl though?

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