ARSHO BAGHSARIAN | ARSHO'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH SHOES

Arsho Baghsarian for Shoe Biz

Arsho Baghsarian has been with me fourteen years. Today she is virtually a partner of mine. We put her name in the shoes. I give her credit for everything. She had worked for my friend Dick Joseph and subsequently she came with me. She had attended the Pratt School of Design. Arsho was born in Turkey, came to America when she was seventeen, and is of Armenian descent. 
Jerry Miller
From: The Wandering Shoe - My Goodfriens, NY 1984

1967 | Arsho Baghsarian for Dior
Source: The Herald Statesman

MOTHER-OF-PEARL
Chips are squared off on the buckle and heel of this black silk pump to add a restrained touch of glitter to a subdued costume. Designed by young Armenian-born Arsho (Baghsarian), the gal who is currently putting new life into an old and respected shoe firm. 
From: The Herald Statesman, Yonkers, NY - March 6, 1967

The old and respected shoe firm was Christian Dior US. Arsho landed the job (her first post-graduation) at the time when Dior was merging with I. Miller. She was already leading a label for which she won an American Shoe Designer Award (8th annual competition presented by Leather Industries of America, April 1968).

Soon after I started my sportswear job, a professor from Pratt called and said, "I have a shoe design job for you, but I can't tell you who it's with. You just have to say 'yes' or 'no.'" And I was young and had no idea what was what, so I said, "Yes." It turned out the job was with Christian Dior New York. Roger Vivier was designing for Dior in Paris, and Kenneth Lane was the [designer] here in New York and interpreting Vivier's designs. Kenneth Lane's contract was up, and [Dior] wanted young blood. I started as head designer. 
Arsho Baghsarian
From: Footwear News, July 2008


Arsho Baghsarian for I.Miller
Source: The Arsho Collection of Shoe Design at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY)

Arsho Baghsarian for I.Miller
Source: The Arsho Collection of Shoe Design at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY)

It was a very exciting time. When you're young and just out of design school, there are no barriers, and I was given free rein to do what I wanted. 
Arsho Baghsarian
From: Footwear News, December 2008

After a two-year stint at Andrew Geller, Arsho Baghsarian joined Jerry Miller at Super Shoe Biz in 1971 designing for the in-house brands Margaret Jerrold, Shoe Biz and Shoe Strings. 



Arsho Baghsarian in Bordeaux
Source: The Wandering Shoe - My Goodfriens, NY 1984

Drawing by Arsho Baghsarian for Shoe Biz
Source: Jerry Miller Collection at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY)

1971 Arsho Baghsarian for Shoe Biz | Made in Italy

Arsho has been all over the world with me making shoes. When she first came, Moya Bowler was working with me, as was Walter Steiger. Actually, Arsho was the bottom person on the totem pole, them moving to the top like the class she is. She is an absolutely wonderful colorist, one of the best I have ever seen if not the best. Also a perfectionist: she doesn't stop till it is right. Extremely experienced, having made all kinds of shoes from plastic rainboots to espadrilles, woven leathers and casuals to sandals and Shoe Strings to elegant Margaret Jerrold. 
Jerry Miller
From: The Wandering Shoe - My Goodfriens, NY 1984


Margaret Jerrold designed by Arsho Baghsarian
Source: The Arsho Collection of Shoe Design at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY)

Margaret Jerrold designed by Arsho Baghsarian
Source: The Arsho Collection of Shoe Design at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY)

When the crash came, U.S. Shoe called and asked me if they could talk to her. They offered her a fantastic job. She told everybody that she would stick with me as long as I was in business. If I wasn't in business, then she would discuss it. Our whole relationship has been fantastic. 
Jerry Miller
From: The Wandering Shoe - My Goodfriens, NY 1984

It lasted a little more than a year than Miller succumbed and Arsho joined Stuart Weitzman in 1986: she never left until retirement in 2008.

When I think of Arsho, I think 'first class' in all aspects: talent, work ethic and, most of all, character. She was always contemporary in her shoe designs and particularly fastidious about the way they fit. She was instrumental in reinforcing with our factories the importance of integrating the function with the design. 
Stuart Weitzman
From: Footwear News, December 2008


1999 | Stuart Weitzman for Bloomingdale
Designed by Arsho Baghsarian
Source: The Arsho Collection of Shoe Design at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology, NY)

Jerry Miller and Stuart Weitzman really believed in me and left me alone to be as creative as I liked. That's why I never felt the necessity to have my own line. And I didn't want to deal with the factories and production, which can be very complicated. I left that to them and focused on what I did best, which was designing. 
Arsho Baghsarian
From: Footwear News, December 2008



FOOTNOTES

(1)
Probably mislead by the Made In Italy label, the Metropolitan credits NY-based Shoe Biz as Italian.

(2)
Both the JERRY MILLER COLLECTION and the ARSHO COLLECTION OF SHOE DESIGN are hosted at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). Unfortunately only a fraction of the materials are available online; we just hope the museum someday will open up the treasure chest.


2010 | Arsho's Love Affair With Shoes (Shoe Collages)
by Arsho Baghsarian
Published by Arsho's husband Avedis as AvedisDesign 


A TRIBUTE TO
THE ARMENIAN SCHOOL OF FOOTWEAR DESIGN

INTRODUCING
SARKIS DER BALIAN

SARKIS DER BALIAN
Photogallery


 

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