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It's Shoe Week! Check back all week for lots of shoe love.
- Amanda surrounded by her Chuck Taylor collection.
- Amanda at her vanity.
- Amanda's lipstick
- More of the vanity area
- Jewelry box
- Amanda's workspace
- The colorful closet, festooned by wings Amanda made and wore for Halloween one year, which is surrounded by her fiance Ben Walker's art. Also note the LV mini.
- A peek through the curtains into the bedroom
- Turquoise glasses!
- All art by Ben Walker except: far left top is vintage, far left red Yeti is by Cody Williams, below Yeti is Michael Slack, to the right of Slack (lower) is Patrick O'Connell.
- Amanda Storey in her living room, watched over by her animatronic deer head.
When we first encountered Amanda Storey, she was wearing a dark floral maxi dress with a low-cut top that showed off her gorgeous figure. The Benefit makeup artist was also wearing jeweled eyelashes that she'd made herself. Each lash was festooned with a tiny pearl. Her makeup and hair were perfect, and the overall look was quite glamorous. On her feet? Black Converse Chuck Taylor low top All Stars. And they did zero to diminish the glamour.
It turns out Storey has been collecting Chuck Taylors for a decade, and wears them almost every day. She owns nearly 100 paris in pretty much every hue imaginable, and snaps up new designs as soon as they're available. We stopped by her apartment, which she shares with her fiance, artist Ben Walker, to discuss her Converse obsession, and we found out just how multitalented Storey is. In addition to her full-time makeup artist gig at Benefit, she sells her embellished eyelashes on Etsy, writes a post a day for Yahoo's beauty and fashion blog Fashionate, models, styles photoshoots, has her own 'zine about famous eyebrows (which are another obsession: her calling cards are cutouts of Frida Kahlo's and Siouxie Sioux's brows), tap dances, rollerskates, makes jewelry and clothing, rides around the city on a pink and purple bike, and chronicles her daily makeup on her blog—no day is ever exactly the same. Anyone else feel super lazy all of a sudden?
"All my art and make up and collecting and clothing, it all just sort of flows into one another," Storey says. I consider it performance art. Everything I do is an embodiment of this character I'm creating every day. It's a way to challenge myself to stay fresh and always move forward and be creative and inspired."
When did you get your first Chuck Taylors?
I got my first pair in first grade. My mom bought them for me and they were yellow and looked like school busses. They had wheels and bus windows with kids hanging out of them drawn on the sides. They were cute but I got teased pretty badly because LA Gear was what all the kids had them. But I still loved them. I wish that I could have them now.
Later in high shool it was the height of Spice Girls and I did have a pair of burgundy crushed velvet Converse with thick black and white platform heels. They were hideous but I loved them. They were very representative of the times.
How long have you been collecting them?
I've worn then my whole life but I started collecting them about 10 years ago when I got a little more serious about getting the limited edition prints and colors and matching them to my clothes and wearing them more than any other shoes I own. They've gone up in price since then, they now usually cost $50 each. But if I see a limited edition color that's a one-off or at a lower price I cannot walk past it even if it's just a shade or two lighter than what I already own.
What are the most unusual Chuch Taylors you own?
My favorites are my little Converse booties. I saw them in a store window in Macy's, they're like mid-top boot with polka dots on the lining, and they fold down. I asked about them, and they told me they don't sell them in the store. I asked the manager, "Why would you put them in the window in the display if you're not selling them?!" No one had them so I went online and after a couple months Converse emailed me when they were back in stock. They're the ones I worked the hardest to get, but I also love my black ones with silver glitter unicorns that I found at a one-off store. They're my special, fancy, evening Converse, if you will.
Do you ever run into counterfeits?
Yeah I seem them a lot—they'll be the shape of Converse except they won't say "All Stars" or they're randomly off in some other way and you know they're not the real thing. I can see why people would want to copy them, Converse are such an iconic-looking sneaker, but I can't do it. Not even if it's a cool color, I can't do it. The thinner-soled ones are cute too, they're a more dainty shape, but they're not my favorite. And I love the low tops mostly, I don't really like the high tops on me.
How awesome is it for your feet to be comfortable all the time?
I've been involved in dance my whole life, and I love dancing. So when I go out at night to meet friends or have drinks, my nights usually end in dancing. I see so many girls hauling around their high heels because they think this is what they need to look sexy. But it has the opposite effect because they're hobbling around. They can't move and can't do anything.
Plus, I can't dance until dawn if my feet hurt. I'm a hardcore dancer, I can dance the night away and even with my sweaty bangs I know I look cute and I know I look sexy because I'm having a good time. It's about being free enough to have a good time. I love high heels but they're not practical for walking around in my daily life. I'll wear (Chucks) with a gown and people will say 'Oh let me see youre shoes!' and when I show them they look a little jealous.
At Lucky FABB, everyone looked great, the women were wearing amazing clothes, but when I was sitting at the panels, pretty much much every girl around me had kicked of her shoes. Ben and I were saying if you have this amazing outfit but you're carrying your shoes, that's shoe fail. That's just not something I want to have to deal with. I would never dream of keeping flipflops in my bag.
I guess the Converse just came from wanting to be able to dance all night and working eight hours per day. And no one has ever said 'That looks bad.'
Why do your think the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars design resonates so strongly with people?
I think it's the simplicity. I couldn't live without my basic black and white Chuck Taylors. You can be young, old, they're unisex. They're just an iconic American sneaker—recognizable and basic. You can even make your own now with your own pattern. They've also crossed over to do designer collabs with pattern makers. You can be really poor and wear them or really rich—they cross all boundaries.