Face Time: John Fluevog

Vancouver shoe designer John Fluevog has never met a curlicue, cone or swirl he couldn’t adapt into a funky heel. The enduring, punky-gone-pretty sole man just opened a new boutique for his men’s and women’s kicks in the heart of Georgetown (1265 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-357-5683; Fluevog.com). We caught up with him about his three decades in the business and what brings him to D.C. now.

Why D.C. and why now?
From an emotional point of view, it’s exciting to go to the center of the atomic universe. It’s an exciting place to be. Maybe it’s an ego trip for me?

What’s the new store like?
It’s bright and unusual. It’s all gray at the front, with pops of color. And men will get their own, more conservative space at the back of the store with teak panels.

How have your shoes changed since you started in the 1970s?
In a sense, they haven’t. We’re not a big company. The ideas and the feeling behind Fluevog footwear still comes from a person, me usually. But we’re also open-sourcing for many of our styles, tapping into our customers. I love the idea of them having a sense of ownership in the stores.

What are your shoes like for fall?
I kind of go in for themes, and this autumn, it’s Edwardian. The men’s shoes are traditional, with little twists. And for the girls, it’s all about dress-up, a sort of fashion that’s about having fun and expressing yourself. I want people to have a big bang for their buck and get footwear that makes them feel better about themselves.

Who is the Fluevog customer?
I don’t sell to trendy people. My shoes are thinking shoes, not bimbo shoes. I sell mostly to professionals or people in the arts.

You are known for your inventive heels. Why focus on them?
You can only do so much to the part of the shoe your foot goes into, but the heel, you can play with it.

But yet, most of your pairs are pretty comfortable.
Yes, I haven’t designed many stilettos. Partly it’s a business decision, a way for me to have a place in the market that is different. And if my shoes aren’t comfortable, people aren’t going to wear them.

If you could do a shoe for anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
Marilyn Monroe. She was so voluptuous, sensual and smart. I’d do a shoe that was bright and punchy to go with her personality.

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