Gaux Girl - Nadine Levenson-Siskin2017-04-23
The Gaux Girl - A series on brilliant women we’re privileged to count as friends.
The Margaux story truly begins with today’s featured original Gaux Girl, Nadine Levenson-Siskin. As the co-founder of Shoe Lab NYC, a footwear technology company located in the city’s celebrated Garment District, Nadine and her husband David have played an integral role in the development of our core collections. With her lifelong enthusiasm for all things footwear, we’ve loved learning from Nadine, who in turn lent her unique insight and unparalleled passion for style to realizing our vision for Margaux.
We caught up with Nadine at The Studio to review details for the exciting launch of - you guessed it! - The Heel. Afterwards, we found ourselves in search of coffee while test-driving our new Spring Pointe collection, chatting about everything from the essentials of Spring style and running a business in New York, to the importance of unplugging from our ubiquitous devices.
Meet our Gaux Girl:
My name is Nadine Levenson-Siskin and I am a partner with my husband David at Shoe Lab NYC, an international shoe design and sourcing company.
When did your love affair with shoes first begin and what role do you believe ballet flats play in the modern woman’s wardrobe?
I've been in love with fashion since I was a child. My mother, frustrated with my demands for clothes that didn’t exist, allowed me a weekly visit with her seamstress so I could have her make whatever I wanted to wear.
My deep love for shoes began in my twenties after my family emigrated from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to America and my father and I opened a wholesale shoe company. Together we found European shoe factories to produce my designs and I sold them from our New York City showroom.
Flat-heeled shoes have always been a part of every line I’ve made as well as an essential silhouette in my wardrobe. Today, with my busy lifestyle running around the city or traveling to Europe for business, the comfort a ballet flat affords me makes it the shoe I go to most.
For gaux girls who are new to our community can you give us a quick overview of how you connected with Margaux co-founders Alexa Buckley and Sarah Pierson along with your current involvement in Margaux’s day-to-day?
When Alexa and Sarah reached out to us with their made-to-measure shoe concept, the quality of the questions they asked us and their clear eyed vision of the company they wanted to create brought us immediately to the conclusion we wanted to help them achieve their goal. Both of them - being charming and smart and with a contagious and effervescent attitude - sealed the deal for us, we were committed.
As Margaux expands the lifestyle categories they offer, we are often developing new styles in the factory. It’s part of my job to put together all the details and people needed for the various tasks, as well as communicating to all the vision in the minds of Sarah and Alexa. It’s always a challenge to go from the first sketch to the final sample but seeing the smiles and gratitude on the girl’s faces once they have the new style on their feet always brings me great satisfaction.
We’re all about providing the perfect pair of shoes for the modern woman. We’re curious to know: what is your "perfect pair" when it comes to your life on the go and your work at Shoe Lab?
For me, the work I do at Shoe Lab is always varying and invariably requires me to be on my feet. Once I found the perfect fit, the Pointe in haircalf has become my staple. The material is tough yet soft and wears well on the NYC streets. But when the sun is out and I’m looking for color, the Classic in one of the bright suede colors is sure to bring a smile to my face and a punch to my outfit. Either way, I feel confident and business polished and I’m sure my feet will make it comfortably past cocktails and dinner.
Which Margaux style do you feel best embodies your personal style and when you’re in need of inspiration where can we find you in the city whilst off-duty?
The Demi Ballerina, as soon as I put it on, gives me a sense of the living in fifties, of sun filled southern France, of Brigitte Bardot and Film Noir. The feeling is sexy, exotic and casual in a very feminine way. You'll find me walking with my husband and teacup poodle in Central Park - it is probably the most inspiring time I can have in the city.
As modern, ambitious and busy women we’re learning that there is a ton of value in kicking off our shoes and indulging in much needed self-care. How are you staying balanced, focused and healthy this season?
I love a healthy, balanced diet, cooking is mediation for me and exercising... although being in the gym is not my favorite environment it brings me clarity. During the winter it replaces my walks in the park, my teacup poodle doesn't like the cold either because I was raised in Rio so I’m mostly a sunshine, beach bunny! Every few weeks I try to take a quick trip to be with my mother in Florida, we’re like sisters and the weather is good for my mind as well as my body.
What does being "a girl on the go” mean to you and where do you hope you’re going next?
For the past thirty-five years my life in business has been completely seamless with my life outside of business, one flows into the other. Traveling to all the major fashion cities each season to shop the stores, read the markets, study the people on the streets and then create the final shoes has enriched me in so many ways.
Being “a girl on the go” means looking forward for new opportunities and helping young people realize their shoe dreams. The satisfaction of building new businesses with fascinating young women is, for me, moving in the right direction.
Gaux and recognize what you're good at, move fearlessly towards what interests you most and go all the way to realize your vision.
Photos by Bridget Badore for Margaux