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Steve Madden and Me: At it Again

Even though I interviewed Steve Madden at the Superga store opening, I knew that we had way more to talk about. I was happy to learn that not only had he read last week's story, but that it was his favorite and he enjoys talking to me and he thinks I look like his friend Stacey who I'm hoping is at least somewhat attractive because I've been getting that a lot lately....

I was very happy to wait in the rain at the Steve Madden store—with 10 Things I Hate About You's Andrew Keegan, incidentally—so that we could we could talk again.

Last time we talked, you mentioned that you've thought of doing a collaboration with Lady Gaga. Is that happening?

We did do some press with her in the store. We would have done something, but by the time I got to her it was just before she exploded. I actually met with her.

How did that go?

Good. She was very nice. We met in Bel Air on the top of a mountain. She was renting a house. It was nice. It was nice seeing her.

Did you guys party together? I would want to.

No, but she's great. She's a great pop star and a great writer. She's going to be around for a long time.

Who else do you want to work with? Last time you mentioned Damien Hirst.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I was thinking Woody Allen and James Taylor. And Gaga.

Do Woody first!

Woody would be great. I would like to do sneakers with Woody. I just think it would be interesting. He’s authentic and a real artist.  I was thinking about Daryl Hall. He had a TV show, Daryl’s House, where he brings these musicians in. And he had Hall and Oates. So I thought it would be fun to have Daryl Hall do it. He’s so great and so talented and so authentic and original.

So You like classic rock?

I like it all.

What was your last meal before going to prison?

Probably steak. I was in Florida with my buddies before I went in.

Admittedly, I'm a bit obsessed with all of the prison shows on TV.

It's not a joke. I mean, I don't mean that you can't joke about it with me because I love to talk about it actually.

What was the best book that you read while in prison?

Wow, that's such a good question.

Was there one that really helped you to pass the time?

Oh God, that’s such a good question. I liked Shogun by James Clavell about ancient Japanese warriors. They made a big TV movie out of it with Richard Chamberlain. I was also very inspired by Franklin Roosevelt. Because FDR lost the use of his legs at 39 from polio and nobody knew. And then he went on to become president of the United States. But it was amazing, the story was very inspiring. And I was feeling low and maybe that my life was over. I wasn’t sure. It inspired me to keep on, and get in shape and get out and come out back with a fury.

What did you do to bounce back health-wise?

I did a lot of exercise and a lot of weight-lifting. And then I came back with a vengeance—physically and business-wise. That was a big thing for me. I just couldn’t believe it. [Referring back to FDR.] And what’s interesting is that the press and everyone else was conspiring in a good way to not let anybody know that he was in a wheelchair. That would never happen today. They wouldn’t photograph him and they waited until he got up to give speeches.

I agree. There was a certain level of respect for public figures back then that doesn't exist today. It It started out as a good thing—giving the public the truth.

It’s a different world. We all starve for information and gossip and it’s just different.

Do you think the internet has helped your business, though?

Yeah. Very much so. We’re moving along, world goes on, things change. It’s mostly good but there’s some bad stuff. With progress, certain things fall.

What’s your favorite store other than Steve Madden to shop in personally, or a store model that you admire?

I like Houston’s. They have really good ribs.

That’s a really good store. I like their spinach dip. That just made me realize I haven’t had dinner and I don’t want to take up too much more of your time.

That’s okay, I like talking to you.

Thanks. I like talking to you, too.

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