On Tuesday 23 March, 2010 I made my way to Steve Madden’s outlet store in Lower East Side where the shoe maven, alongside tabloid fodder Star Magazine were jointly launching the career of IYAZ, self-proclaimed messiah of the new genre of Caribbean Pop (hey, isn’t that exactly what Rihanna does?)
I found it odd that the Steve Madden store chosen for the event was his store on Rivington and Ludlow which sells his shoes at a fraction of the price (oh yes, I know the store well, being a bargain hunting junkie)…but I guess anything LES has way more cache than a store uptown. This is afterall where the gate-keepers of cool will decided whether IYAZ will have staying power as a pop provider.
Despite my misgivings on the venue, the place was indeed packed upon arrival and entry strictly invite only. In fact, I was told the burly security guard was ex-NYPD (which would also explain the heavy influx of policeman hanging outside the store ever so casually).
The party had an electric, buzzy feel to it. With branded SM cups dishing out wine and Caribbean ‘White Stripe’ beer a nod to IYAZ’s heritage, the crowd was fun and not at all pretentious – a first for my time in NYC. We had a great time!
IYAZ performed three tracks off his hit album, “Replay” and “Solo”. He also remixed Trey Songz’s “Say Ahh” alongside a DJ. A bunch of local kids outside peered through at him through the large store front windows, they knew the words to all his songs and sang along, it was nice to see IYAZ acknowledge them and performed to them too.
Celebrities that stopped by: Erin Lucas (The City), Salomes (musical artist), Josh Anderson (Brooklyn’s Finest), Model Linda Vojtova and Chaske Spencer (Twilight).
I also got to meet the man behind the brand and was good to see him out for the event…my only qualm, where were the free shoes?? Sigh!