• Britney Spears is getting a little professional help — from Dr. Marten’s. A company rep told Insider the brand would be outfitting the dancers on Spears’ upcoming “Circus” concert tour, which kicks off March 3 in New Orleans. According to the rep, tour organizers requested 60 pairs of the original black style, as well as patent kicks. The Pussycat Dolls, who will be opening for Spears, will also be sporting Docs.
• Kim Kardashian, shoe maven? The reality TV star is partnering with Brian Lee and Michael Antonio chief Michael Su on a new online venture. The business, called Shoedazzle.com, taps the tastes of fashion experts who recommend five shoes every month, based on a subscriber’s personality and style preference.
• Shane and Shawn Ward, the twin designers behind Detny, are delisting their company from the German stock exchange, as there wasn’t a large enough financial market. The Wards are also looking to add a co-tenant at their Nolita store, which would help offset high Manhattan rent and sluggish sales. And word has it that the duo has been taping an episode of MTV’s reality makeover show “Made.”
• Insider heard the Harbor Footwear and Red Wing booths were both trashed a day before the WSA Show, with bleach poured on carpets and profanity spray-painted on inside panels. The damage is believed to have come from teamsters who were upset with their choice of workers hired to assemble the booths.
• Brown Shoe Co. is adding another designer to its growing fashion roster, which already includes Vera Wang and Vena Cava for Via Spiga. Insider got a peek at the fall ’09 collection, priced between $225 and $475 at retail. A rep for the mystery mono-named designer is waiting on Brown to make an official announcement. Stay tuned.
• Manitobah Mukluks created quite a stir when the Native American brand’s architect, Greg Dreaver, showed up in traditional garb and set up a teepee over the room’s bed. The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based brand was showing at WSA for the first time.
• Insider heard that one lucky vendor took a break from the show floor to play the slots at the Bellagio — and cashed in with a $10,000 win.
• Out on the Strip, Modern Vintage pulled a top-secret move. The Toronto-based brand created a mobile showroom — a solid black van with the Modern Vintage logo — that was open only to its best clients. “We wanted to keep it controlled and under wraps,” said CEO Rick Cytrynbaum. “[It was] almost like you needed a special password to get in.” Doors of the van admitted only a handful of U.S. clients, who were able to peruse footwear from the company’s No. 704b European brand. “We had somewhat of a bidding war [for retailers] to get the opportunity to get this ‘secret treat,’” Cytrynbaum said.
• On Feb. 13, the Two Ten Footwear Association got a welcome surprise in the form of a $100,000 donation from the Footwear Association Charity Event. H.H. Brown President and CEO Jim Issler presented the check to Two Ten Chairman Timothy O’Donovan at an event during WSA (above). FACE was founded by H.H. Brown, Daphne (one of China’s largest footwear retailers) and other footwear industry players and is dedicated to improving the lives of needy children in China. Issler told Insider after the event, “On behalf of 98 different sponsors, we’re happy to donate this check to Two Ten for use in pioneering their scholarship program in mainland China. With more than 90 percent of the shoes sold in the U.S. made in China, this is a great start for Two Ten helping shoe people around the world.” — With contributions from Lindsay E. Sammon, Barbara Schneider-Levy, Neil Weilheimer and Marcie Young