Tie Me Up. Tie Me Down.

It is always neat when a new designer in town, especially a town such as NYC, creates an interesting new line of something or other. In this case, the new designer in town is a professional salsa dancer (yes, that is correct) by the name of Burju Perez, and her new collection of dance-inspired (of course) shoes, just launched during an event held at Nest Nightclub, of all places.

First for the good news. Taking her repertoire into what some might see more as a fashion zone vs. a shoe line geared more for the international dance community, Perez has created a myriad of styles, worked up mostly in a nice complement of styles and colors. Much of this grouping could equally well on any catwalk, on any stylish woman, man or child, or further to the point, really well for a bride, groom, maid of honor, ring bearer, flower girl or flower boy, if you will.

According to the designer (and the PR people at the event), while the shoes are mostly available as is at select international stores and on the company’s website – www.burjushoes.com – online shoppers have the chance to have their every shoe fetish fulfilled, which could mean changing and customizing the shoes in question to be just what the buyer really, really wants. According to budget, naturally, most, if not all of the shoes in this collection can be re-worked, modified, or whatever – keeping the basic design in-tact – to include desired color (single and combinations thereof), glitz factor (beading, trims, et al; for those who want more, more, more), and heel height. While the shoes range from 1 ¾” to 3 ¾”, there are always customer who opt for the more and, or the less. For this editor, the less seems the most right and the most comfortable, which translates into a very chic feeling for the capsule menswear grouping, which just looks so fresh and modern here.

Also for this editor, while some of the collection did bring to mind what an actress or actor might wear in a Pedro Almovadar film, there are still enough cool choices – the as is shoes or the specialty custom pieces – to please many of the more hard to please out there in shoe-land. Most things considered, Perez is to be complimented on her new line.

Now, for the bad news. Nest Nightclub is one of the worst – if not the worst – location to hold a special event, especially for a launch of a collection of anything which is geared to members of the fashion press. But wait, there is more, and this is where things really went from bad to worse. This event was an open event, which simply means that the public was invited to attend, although most of these people, whose names were on another list aside from the PR press guest list, were huddled into a separate, downstairs area, generally away from the editors, photographers, stylists, et al, who were in a separate space upstairs.

Arriving press guests were first “greeted” at the door by a disinterested and quite surly bodyguard, before being handed over to a very young PR woman, and then herded up a long, dark staircase, to an over-heated, crowded space, which the PR people were calling a “Private Press/VIP Meet & Greet” area.

Making matters worse – could it get worse? The answer is yes, and it did get worse from here on in – was that the PR people were handing out drink tickets – one to a customer, mind you – which meant that even if anyone was lucky enough to get the gratis glass of wine from the totally understaffed bar, the one gratis drink was all that any ticket holder was going to receive, unless of course, a cash bar drink was desired from then on.

Then, there was the “Custom Shoe Fitting”, which had frazzled, young, female “fitters”, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying desparately to attend to the needs of the clamoring, invited guests (and who knows who else), wanting to try on the shoes, so that they could then use the discount coupon (20% off the regular purchase price online) in the goodie bag, just in case that person wanted to indeed order the shoes.

With the obvious preparation that went into this launch, and all of the sponsors who participated in it, the whole shebang could have been executed so much better, in order to simply achieve the main goal of hyping the shoes to the fashion press who attended. Sometimes, that old adage, less is more, really does come into play, especially when considering a launch event such as this one.

– Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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