Long, long ago someone had the heart, imagination, and human insight to create the first pair of bunny slippers. To that person, who I feel must have been an inspired woman, I owe a depth of gratitude for creating one of the most enjoyable feminine shoes ever made. Little did she know what a cultural phenomenon the shoe would become in the 20th and 21st centuries. Women and girls all over the world have an affinity for bunny slippers. They are synonymous with all the endearing qualities of innocence, youth, fun, whimsy, and personal charm. They are an iconic classic, a celebration of life and femininity.
The invention of Streetzie’s High Heel Bunny Slippers has been in the making for many years. They are more than a shoe, more than a product, more than a business. They are the magical by-product of a special synergy between my daughter and me. As an artist I am hard pressed to take full credit for the creation of our shoe. They were modeled after the elegant fashion and inspiration of Streetzie Desire. The paradox of where the idea came from is both enlightening and mystifying at the same time. It is my belief that the muse deserves the ultimate credit, even if she inspires freely.
After a few years of being on her own, my adult daughter discovered a niche and venue for her passion for performance and theatre. She created the alluring stage persona of Streetzie Desire. She has always been independent and self-motivated in her pursuits. Her courage to persevere through adverse circumstances and not lose heart is admirable. Yet from a mother’s perspective, watching a daughter “winging it” out there in the world was both worrisome and wonderful.
From our home town of New Orleans, I felt the maternal pangs of Streetzie’s exploration of her talents. I was experiencing empty nest syndrome, missing my little girl. During that period of our lives, I often strolled the banks of memory lane. “Where did the time go? Did I do my best for her?” ……I asked myself the same questions mothers will ask for eternity.
One day I came across an old audio cassette that I had saved. My daughter was fancifully articulate at a young age and had a profound sensibility of language. She was a highly imaginative story teller who had created an alter ego named Linda Ellie for her adventure tales with her bunny slippers. I played the recording of my daughter telling a spontaneous story in her sweet five-year-old voice, and it sounded cuter than I remembered it. This is the opening line of her story: “Once upon a time there was a girl named Linda Ellie and her two cute little bunny slippers who looked very, very mad!”
She had a dramatic way of tending to her emotions and discerning life lessons on her own through the relationship of Linda Ellie and her bunny slippers. The story brought back vivid memories of what those pink fuzzy little slippers meant to my daughter. They were an intimate source of self assurance. They were the friends who were always on her side and were always there when she needed them. They listened with complete understanding. They tickled her imagination and brightened her day with their simple perfect felicity. They were even surrogates for the warm-blooded pets she could not have. She wanted to wear them everywhere. Needless to say they wore out.
Finally, after trampling through wet mud in search of frogs and critters in our back yard, they were beyond repair. It was heart breaking. We found a new pair to replace them. Eventually she grew fond of those too, but they were never quite as wonderful as the first pair. In hindsight, I realized that of all the toys and material objects in my daughter’s childhood that had contributed to her positive growth and her personal development of character, those dear little personified bunny slippers were the most important.
Through her childhood, I sewed costumes, helped build stage props, and guided her development of a broad range of skills. The fine line between nurturing a child’s talents and interfering with them is a delicate matter. Sometimes I crossed that line, and the sense of accomplishment she would have derived from the experience was missing. Now Streetzie grew free of such limitations a mother might impose. Streetzie was soaring to new heights!
Even though my daughter frequently called to share the joys and challenges of Streetzie’s stage experiences, I still missed the direct contact I used to have with her world. My nostalgic memories of her performances as a child began to closely coincide with the current events of her career.
Once she needed a spectacular pair of shoes for one of Streetzie’s performances. I intended to make a pair of shoes that would add something special to that performance. I would surprise my daughter with a gift that would demonstrate to her how much I believed in her artistry and support her efforts. I wanted to create something that would convey to her that regardless of the distance between us, I was with her in spirit, and moreover, something to remind her of her inner beauty.
Seeking inspiration, I went through some old photographs of her first dance school review at the old New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. I suppose this would be generally considered the defining moments of our invention. I looked at photos of my little girl in her sequined tap shoes and in her satin ballet toe shoes. I began to relive the experience.
Humorously speaking aloud, I asked, “Okay, Linda Ellie, tell me what sort of shoe would make Streetzie most happy to dance in now?”
Suddenly I remembered being back stage at that dance review long ago. I was rushing to take off her bunny slippers and put on the tap shoes she was to wear for the performance when she expressed to me, “Mom, I wish I could dance in my bunny slippers.” Although I remembered her words, it was as if I were hearing them for the first time! I thought about what I could do to add some glamour and sex appeal to a pair of bunny slippers and make them more suitable for a woman.
That was the epiphany! I felt the metaphorical light bulb flash above my head! The concept of a bunny slipper with high heels was born. My daughter’s reaction to the concept was no surprise. It was the same familiar elation I’d seen her express while wearing her first pair of bunny slippers.
Construction of the shoe was not completed in time for the performance. That was a bit of divine intervention in my estimation. Later my daughter recognized the potential for this shoe concept becoming a very popular product on the international market. We talked about whether or not we had the wherewithal for such a grand project. We researched every aspect of such a venture. We were committed to putting our invention on the market for a long time. Yet, it was such a reversal of our work orientation that we decided to move on it slowly and carefully.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated our home town of New Orleans, it seemed like the right time to follow the winds of change. I sold my property there, and we began to work more consistently on getting our shoe to market. My daughter moved from Atlanta to Manhattan to work on her acting career and on prospects for our shoe project. Meanwhile, I remained in New Orleans completing construction of our shoe. It would become the prototype used in the patenting and manufacturing processes.
That year was full of serendipity. The cosmos was sending us affirmation in every direction we turned. Among other good fortunes in Streetzie’s career, she landed a small part on a TV show called Fashionably Late with Stacy London. On the first day of filming the series, when my daughter first saw the background set design for the show, she called me and said, “Mom, I know our shoe project is going to be a success. You would marvel at how synchronous this TV show is with our project!” She couldn’t disclose information about the show, but I knew by the tone of her voice it must have been something significant. When the show aired on TV and I saw the wall of shoes for a set design, I was thrilled. My daughter was working with Stacy London, the “Shoe Guru”!
During the very first episode, there was a segment about some innovative new design elements in ladies shoes. The uncanny coincidences seemed surreal to us. We had wondered what Stacy would think of our invention or if she even liked bunny slippers in the first place. To our surprise, my daughter noticed Stacy wearing a pair of bunny slippers behind the scenes. My daughter met many wonderful, talented people while working on the show. It was a valuable, rewarding experience.
When the show was over, Streetzie resumed her status as a freelance entertainer. To a young actress, what could compare to being in New York and on the verge of celebrity? Our shoe project was beginning to lack luster by comparison. My daughter was facing a tough dilemma. Should she postpone our mutual project in favor of immediate gratification in her career, or should she put her career on the back burner? I was never so grateful for my good fortune to have such a beautiful daughter as I was when she chose the altruistic path. She moved back to New Orleans so we could see our shoe project to fruition.
There are many details to this story which I have not mentioned….so many, so extraordinary, so cosmically custom made, that I would be remiss not to add that the entire endeavor of bringing our shoe to market has an overtone of being on time to an appointment with our destiny.
We are happy to bring you Streetzie’s High Heel Bunny Slippers! May they awaken the eternal feminine divine in your spirit. May they remind you of your inner beauty. May they add a magical kick to your stride. May they bring lightness to your being. May they whisper to you all the innocent secrets of happiness. May they serve to strengthen the bonds between women everywhere. It is our wish that you may discover the paradox and join the celebration!
Long live the bunny slipper!