Courtesy of Rocket Dog
It’s no secret that ’90s nostalgia has reached a fever pitch. Whether it’s iconic fashion trends from the Gap, the return of the Tamagotchi, or Friends being made into a musical, it’s pretty clear that the ’90s is a decade that won’t die (and for good reason!). Enter the latest craze: platform Rocket Dog sandals, the go-to wedge of every high school girl in 1997.
The resurgence began when one of the fashion industry’s most iconic stylists, Elizabeth Saltzman, teamed up with the brand to give the classic shoe a modern edge, and the result is perfection. The best part, though? The shoes are only $85, they’re great for all your summer looks from hanging out to going out, and they’re available online at matches.com.
Below, Elizabeth talks to Teen Vogue about her incredible career as a celebrity stylist, her advice on getting into the industry, and, of course, how to style these amazing new shoes.
Teen Vogue: How did you get your start in fashion?
It was so long ago! The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t equipped to do what I needed to do to follow what I thought was my dream: architecture. I quickly found out that you had to do math, and I wasn’t great at it. However, I was so fortunate to have incredibly supportive parents who, while they were very disappointed when I didn’t go to college, still supported my dream. My mom was in fashion; my dad was an interior designer. But I just really wanted to do it on my own. At the time, the only job I could get was in retail, so I started at the bottom of the heap, and I worked and worked and socialized my way in as far as I could. I started at this really cool store in New York City folding clothes. Eventually, I got offered a job at Armani at their first store. I worked hard to prove [myself] and was offered a job in Milan on the design team. A few years later, I was offered a job at Vogue as an assistant, and I was blown away. Though I use the word “luck” a lot, I worked to get there. I was never late; I never acted tired. To get somewhere you have to work and you have to be hungry. You have to understand that the fashion industry is amazing, but it’s work, a lot of work. You have to ask questions and listen to the answers.
TV: Do you think it’s important to have a college degree as a stylist?
ES: Well, it can only help. I didn’t know fabrics. I didn’t know styles. I had to go to the library to get knowledge. Going to school will never hurt, full stop. If you can, though, intern. You can start young. We have two interns in our office — one is 16 [years old], and one is 20. The 16-year-old is a girl who wrote a hundred letters to different agents telling them that she was in high school but she wanted to intern and that she loved fashion. I wrote back and told her that I wanted to help her but I lived in London. Turns out, she lives in London, and now she works with me one day a week after school. I can’t wait for her to finish school so she can work with us! For anyone interested in fashion, go to school, work in clothing stores, understand as much as you can about the industry, and then just work as hard as you can.
TV: As a stylist, what advice do you have for finding your personal style?
ES: I think you have to be willing to change and not get stuck. Buy the obvious things you need — a good pair of jeans, a good tee, a good jacket — and the rest is fun. The thing about personal style is that you don’t want to waste a ton of money or time. Keep it simple at first. Fashion isn’t what is important when you’re young; it’s feeling good and making sure that you’re representing you. It’s important to feel good and confident. Don’t hide your insecurities — just embrace what you love about yourself. Look for style icons and figure out what you like about them.
TV: What inspired you to work with Rocket Dog to bring back the platform sandal?
ES: Well, it came from a very innocent place. Many years ago, when I was working at Vanity Fair, we would host the Oscar party after the awards. All the women that I worked with would be dressed at 3 p.m. and be standing on their feet until 2 a.m. and no one could move by the end of it! Their feet were swollen, and they hurt so bad that I started ordering high wedge flip-flops for under their dresses. Then once they had their pictures taken, they could slip these on. They would be so happy because it was like they were walking on marshmallows. I would watch the celebrities take their shoes off and walk barefoot so I would offer them the shoes. Then when I became a stylist, I started customizing them for my celebrity clients. Eventually, we just called Rocket Dog so that we could make some that would be a great fit for everyone. At the end of the day, we just wanted happy feet. I couldn’t work without the incredible shoe designers of the world, and there is most certainly a place for those styles. These are for when you want to be playful and comfortable!