Kick up your heels

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 | All Things, Events, Film

The launch party for the 12th Annual Gen Art Film Festival was being held tonight at té casan — inexplicably, a couple of weeks in advance of the actual festival, which runs April 11 through 17, 2007.

Broome Street

The SoHo shoe emporium opened its flagship store on West Broadway to some fanfare in November 2006. On paper it seemed an odd choice for a party venue, but once we arrived, it was clear that all was not just about the shoes.

M met me on the sidewalk outside, where the Gen Art gatekeepers had set up a table amid the red carpet and floodlights. The sleek, tri-level space was designed by Ron Pompei — and emitted a vibe more gallery than store. Against the mirrors and blank white canvas of walls, and beneath the elaborate chandeliers, the wares stood out like pieces of art: careful stagings of ballet flats, metallic chainlink stilettos, patchwork leather and suede boots, fancy kicks, crystal-studded sandals…

Which in its way is apropos. The idea behind té casan — Gaelic for “a woman’s path” — is to introduce limited-edition footwear collections, of artisan quality: handcrafted materials and signature detailing at “attainable” luxury price points. The company’s creative director, Asil Attar, interviewed 55 emerging designers before settling on the final team of seven, most recruited from the respected fashion houses of Alexander McQueen, Versace, Vivienne Westwood and the like. According to the company literature, the single-run editions are limited by state, with the pieces numbered individually on the soles, adding to the couture cachet. As the té casan brand evolves, new designers will be introduced, and none of the collections will remain in the store longer than three years. With most pairs in the $200-$300 range, the price tags are higher than Nine West, but much lower than say, Manolo Blahniks or red-soled Christian Louboutins, which run in the $500-$700 (and up) range. As we wandered among the increasingly crowded floors, we noticed several pairs marked half-price, which almost make the shoes a fashion-forward bargain.

The store’s central curving glass staircase is edged with mirrored disks; the lower level features a built-in bar station (which functions as a tea salon during regular shopping hours) and throughout the space are domed dressing areas outfitted with bench seating for trying on the wares (or mingling with other party guests) in semi-privacy.

Gen Art Film Fest party

Gen Art Film Fest party

Actress Nicole Forester with Gen Art president, Adam Walden:

Gen Art Film Fest party

Afterwards, we continued our evening over dinner next door at Cipriani, where the food was pricy, but almost besides the point. We entertained ourselves by attempting to decipher the relationships of our dining companions — father and daughter? grandfather and granddaughter? hmm… – all while trying not to gawk at the most orange woman either of us had ever seen in our entire lives.


Gen Art Stamp

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