These are not sensible shoes.
It took five people 50 hours to assemble them. And when Miss Maine Kristin Korda of Saco steps out in these crystal-studded heels in Atlantic City next weekend, everyone will be reaching for their shades.
“We really went to town on the shoes. We wanted people to see them and have a heart attack,” said Sondra Celli, the Boston designer who outfitted the sea-inspired look Korda will showcase at the Show Us Your Shoes parade.
For the event leading up to the Miss America pageant, which is set for Sept. 15, contestants are asked to wear outfits that reflect their home state. Korda contacted Celli of “ My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” on TLC to help create the contestant’s look.
“Everyone from Maine wants to be a lobster. We needed to make an elegant lobster. I didn’t want her to walk around in a costume. I wanted something that represented Miss America and Maine at the same time,” said Celli from her boutique in Waltham, Mass.
The result is a three-part ensemble made with 50,000 Swarovski crystals. The red, fitted dress is embellished with crystals made to look like shells and lobsters. The bust line is interspersed with real seashells, said Celli. The back strap is lined with starfish, seaweed and sparkles galore. A fascinator headpiece extends the theme with a chicken lobster and bright marine life. But the entire look is designed to draw attention to the shoes.
“The whole back of the heel has a lighthouse, the front is done in shades of blues. There are lobsters and starfish,” said Celli, who used 15,000 Swarovski stones for the footwear, in colors like fire opal, light siam, padparadscha, aquamarine and white opal. She even used red crystals on the soles.
“This is artwork built onto the shoe,” said Celli. “When they walk by and see Maine, there is going to be no one that can touch it.”
The complete outfit would retail for $11,000, said Celli, who spared no expense on the lobster-red gown.
The detachable floor-length skirt is made of crystal organza ruffles, resembling ocean waves, that cascade down the back. The lobster tail train is created with boning and wire bends and folds like a crustacean.
“We went to bed dreaming … ‘What can I do to this to make it look like a gown?’” said Celli.
Her 21-year-old customer, and the first Miss America contestant she’s designed for, couldn’t be happier.
“I absolutely love my shoes,” said Korda in a Friday press release “Everyone has to see these shoes. They are beyond extraordinary.”