Everyone who crosses a doorstep of shoe engineer Vanessa Noel is greeted by a scream. A blood-curdling, ear-ripping, toe-cringing screech.
That’s pleasantness of Mr. Peeps, a parrot Noel acquired final Jun — meant to be a balmy relief after a formidable year.
The engineer spent 8 years renovating her East 64th Street townhouse.
First a siren detonate in her six-story townhouse, flooding 3 floors of a limestone building that houses her boutique, pattern studio, bureau and home.
A month later, Noel, 52, suffered a heart attack.
“Stress,” she says, lounging in her second-floor bureau and showroom, a off-hand montage of jester marble floors, red snakeskin chairs and dark-skinned alligator hides hung from a wall with paper clips. And, of course: shoes, shoes, shoes.
“The doctors told me to delayed down, so we met with a Peruvian shaman, we rested my Transcendental Meditation, and we thought, ‘How smashing it would be to have a bird drifting around a penthouse — how calming,’ ” she recalls.
Right on cue, Mr. Peeps squawks. Ms. Noel coos.
“Getting a bird was one of a many recovering things I’ve done.”
Fans of Vanessa Noel’s voluptuous boots line (“I make boots that women wear; my boots will not wear you,” she notes) embody Gwyneth Paltrow (from left), Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Jessica Parker.
To contend that this engineer — whose fans embody Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ralph Lauren — is individualist would be an understatement.
Born to a Main Line Philadelphia surgeon and his socialite mother (Grace Kelly was a friend), Noel — conspicuous no-ELLE — was lifted in a rarefied universe of couture baby dresses, summers on Nantucket, and all being “correct,” as she explains.
She clearly rebelled opposite that constraint. Dressed in a black silk caftan and leopard-print sandals, a former debutante is emphatic, capricious, incomparable than life — a flashy stewardess to a core.
She speaks with her hands and sprinkles her breathy gibberish with an tear of delight and difference like “enchanting” and “adore” — as in, “Have we been to Nantucket? It’s enchanting,” and “I venerate Ralph Lauren, he’s always been so supportive.”
I totally gutted it … we didn’t wish it to feel intimidating or pretended — we mean, people are entrance here to buy $1,800 shoes. – Vanessa Noel
A small Mrs. Dalloway, a small Holly Golightly, a engineer is like a illusory aunt we always wished we had, with a home we personally wish she’ll leave we in her will.
Noel put an offer on her East 64th Street home in early 2000, uninformed off a craft from Italy, where her boots are manufactured. “I still had my suitcases with me,” she recalls, as her conveyor slinks adult to a sixth floor. “It all happened so quick — we was so fascinated by a owner. He was a grand antiques play who was famous for his good parties.”
Noel — a ardent prepare — grows okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, squish and strawberries in a refuge of her 3 garden terraces.
Behind a 40 years’ value of collected furniture, Noel saw good bones. She motionless on a mark that she’d pierce her emporium and studio into a house. It took 8 years — a final of that she lived in NYC’s lily-white Metropolitan Club — though she remade a 17-foot-wide 1899 raise in her possess image.
“I totally gutted it; not a floorboard was left,” she says. “I didn’t wish it to feel intimidating or pretended — we mean, people are entrance here to buy $1,800 shoes,” observant that business and pleasure association openly in a building and in her life.
The whole penthouse is sheathed in glass, permitting light to tide in. This is where Noel paints and sketches, and reads in one of a 3 garden terraces, where arm-length cucumbers and okra desire to be plucked. “Do we like strawberries?” she asks, ripping dual from a bush. “What’s extraordinary adult here is, we don’t hear a city, you’re away.”
A candelabrum from South Africa, done of mud, hangs from a ceiling; piles of books and sketches distortion in disarray; shoe lasts and heels and fabric swatches stretch everywhere; and a duck curry simmers in a little kitchen, a aroma stuffing a space with a splendidly Caribbean laxness.
A off-hand guest bedroom comes alive with a colorful silkscreen by Peter Gee.
Down a staircase whose bannister is done of lucite lies Noel’s bedroom, swathed in fabric and tone — satin curtains, a bearskin rug, dark-skinned python skins prepared to be done into headboards.
Pearl necklaces are elegantly though haphazardly draped atop a table lamp, as if lost after a furious party. (Noel’s beloved is a St. Barts-based valuables engineer who specializes in pearls; asked to name him, she demurs.)
Noel has combined a coffee indentation for business behind her in-home boutique — employing a graffiti travel artist to spray-paint a walls in a “Finding Nemo” palette.
Across a gymnasium are a guest room and a grand sauce room, where any mirrored closet orderly stores garments by destination: one for Nantucket, where Noel owns a home, dual hotels and an art gallery; one for Jamaica, where she winters during Round Hill (along with designer-pal Lauren) and raises supports for a Hanover Charities; dual for New York, all black and sleek.
Boxes of her sculptural boots are piled knee-high on a timber floor.
“Shoes are not accessories, they are necessaries,” she declares. “Shoes can commission you. we make all kinds — some are wild, some are encrusted with rubies.
I make boots that women wear; my boots will not wear you.”
The Vanessa Noel shoe boutique resides on a belligerent building of a designer’s home.
Decades of distinguished women have turn devotees given Noel non-stop emporium in 1987 opposite a travel from Imelda Marcos’ aged townhouse: Princess Michael of Kent wore a span to a British stately wedding, Kim Cattrall immortalized her over-the-knee foot in “Sex and a City,” Sarah Jessica Parker has been spied in teetering (“but comfortable!”) Vanessa Noel heels.
While a tip 3 floors of her townhouse are private space for a Cornell graduate, a rest of a place — and Noel’s time, let’s be straightforward — belongs to her public.
In a boutique on a belligerent floor, clients acid for her architectural, delicate boots mostly turn tighten friends.
They can kill an afternoon with an espresso or a potion of chardonnay, selling a new collection of handbags, boots and baby-cashmere scarves.
Noel’s even built a coffee bar for them in a back, illuminated flatteringly from above by a skylight and splashed with graffiti from a immature travel artist.
“I gave him ‘Finding Nemo’ and told him to use those colors,” she says, bursting, once again, into giggles.
The library is flashy with pickled-walnut paneling and a portrayal by Peter Dayton; Noel frequently entertains a star-studded throng in her home.
And in her pickled-walnut-paneled library, a still-being-redecorated vital room and a waxed walls of a grave dining room, she entertains groups trimming from 12 to 450.
Nearly each week you’ll find her fêting a friend, like former NBA star Charles Oakley, or luminary prepare Alex Hitz’s book launch or Fashion Week. “I adore to cook, we don’t sinecure caterers,” she says. “I adore to chuck a big, illusory party. we can’t mount sitting in a same place, we have to pierce around.”
Noel paints, sketches and shapes illusory creations in her balmy penthouse studio.
Her social, flutter-by inlet hasn’t changed, even with a slowed-down, post-stent pace. She’s still a unchanging on a step-and-repeat circuit in New York, Nantucket and Jamaica.
“Life has to be voluptuous and glam and fun,” she insists. “If you’re not out with friends, what are we going to do, watch TV? we entertain. You sit, we talk, we giggle — and you’re still home.” Mr. Peeps, who lives on a second floor, screeches in agreement.
Since she changed to New York 30 years ago, a Upper East Side has remained Noel’s domain. Round Hill and Nantucket are great, she says, they’re in her blood, though in a end, this forever enterprising couture engineer is a New Yorker by and through.
“I adore a sunsets in Nantucket, we adore a people in Jamaica, we adore it all,” she says. “But afterwards we adore returning to a manicured beauty adult here. This is home.”