Sarah Jessica Parker, style icon and star of Sex and the City, this week launched her new SJP Collection shoe boutique in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
I happened to be staying in the hotel, so thought I’d check it out. After walking past a couple of times, deterred by the line up of customers out the door, on the third pass a woman told me she had only been standing there for 10 minutes and the line was moving quickly, so I joined the ranks.
It’s a beautiful, bright store, full of colour and light — and people.
Once I made it past the abnormal number of security guards ushering people in as others exited, I suddenly realised why there was so many people, Sarah Jessica Parker was in store selling her shoes.
I had known that she was making two appearances over the course of the week but didn’t expect to see her.
Parker was totally engrossed in the service of each customer she worked with, making sure the shoes were the right, for looked good, and, most importantly, felt comfortable.
Her demeanour was casual and she looked relaxed as she moved from one person to the next, treating each like an acquaintance she was familiar with – smiling and laughing.
The shoes in her collection range from sparkly stilettos to slides, sandals and low heel pumps, in every colour you can imagine.
As I walked around the most popular shoe being sold seemed to be the sparkly stilettos. It was Vegas after all. While that isn’t my style, one pair of shoes caught my eye and I decided to try them on.
Whitney, one of the store assistants, in town from New York to help out with the launch, found my size and brought them to me.
Sitting down in the grey plush lounge to try them on, she offered me a bottle of water as I slipped the soft leather shoe onto my foot.
I wasn’t sure if my heel was slipping out too much, so she bought me the size down as well as a toe pad.
At this point, Parker, who was taking photos with some fans, prompted by Whitney turned around and said she was so glad I was trying this shoe on.
She excused herself, came over and crouched down in front of me.
She explained that these were some of her favourites and I was the first to buy them.
Parker said she designed them, inspired by New York fashionista and writer Anahita Moussavian, who is the New York Post and Alexa deputy fashion editor.
She insisted that I look up Moussavian’s Instagram, @anahitaglitters and see why the shoe was a tribute to her.
I told Parker that she was so sweet to take the time to come over and tell me the story. She replied that it was a “joyful” experience for her to be in store with her customers.
She then checked that the shoes were a good fit and wished me well.
Whitney took my credit card, packed my old shoes in the new box signed by SJP and delivered the receipt while I sat back and had an “Imelda moment” with my new purchase.
The experience had left me in awe. Firstly, because celebrity store openings are usually pretty strict about the level of interaction the stars have with the public. Parker was part of her fans and customers.
She also captured my interest and pulled me so deeply into the story of the shoe and her thoughts behind the design, that I went from a passerby to the owner of an exquisite pair of shoes and $US400 poorer.
The price tag was worth it, not only for the personal experience with a celeb, but also because despite the chaos of the opening the customer service was phenomenal, and goes to show that a good story behind a product will help to make a sale.
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