High Heeled Art - High Heeled Art - Art Deco Shoe Paintings

A Hands-On Approach to Learning Shoe Design

The shoe industry today is an ever-changing business that must be followed closely when it comes to trends. But, there must be a basic core to good and classic shoe design that runs through every trend and ever-changing season, be it fall/winter or spring/summer.

Knowledge of basic design skills is very important and is the spark that can ignite you into the world of shoe design. This 6-day course covers sketching and conceptualizing, pattern-making, and sample-making your design. We visit the leather houses that supply the world’s top designers, heel factories, and shoe accessory suppliers (buckles, etc.).

Classes are limited to 3-5 students so that the atmosphere remains intimate and hands-on.

High Heeled Art Footwear Design School is run by Mark Schwartz and Nicky Avanzini.

MARK SCHWARTZ is an accomplished footwear designer with more than 30 years experience designing shoes for Roger Vivier, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Cleo Bottier, and Neiman Marcus. Mr. Schwartz has collaborated on design projects in the past with Balenciaga, Chanel, Gucci, and Jean Claude Jitrois. He has made shoes for Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Natasha Richardson, Tina Turner, and Lady Gaga, to name a few.

NICKY AVANZINI is our school coordinator. Mr. Avanzini is the owner of Nik Service, a well-known private car service in the Milan area. Mr. Avanzini also takes care of all hotel reservations. He is our school translator, speaks English, Italian, Spanish and French. Nicky has also been the assistant to Mark Schwartz for 5 years, so he plays a key role in the school’s activities. He is our go-to man!

Joining us as a special guest will be an accomplished technical designer and patternmaker whose family also owns a shoe factory in Parabiago. We will be working in his studio throughout most of the class.


You will be picked up at Milan Malpensa Airport by Mr. Avanzini. Arrivals are normally the day before class starts, where it’s recommended tat students spend the rest of the day in their hotel resting up due to the 6-hour time difference. There will be group launches and dinners, which you have the option to attend (all hotel, meal, and airfare are separate costs from the class fee). We get a very reasonable hotel fee of around $110 per day. Final hotel rates will be announced before end of November with the hotel info. The hotel is located about 5 minutes from the school.

Class hours are 10am to 7pm, with a lunch break from 12:30pm to 2pm.

First Class of 2017
Arrive Jan 8
Classes Jan 9 - 14

Second Class of 2017
Arrive Jan 29
Classes Jan 30 - Feb 4

Third Class of 2017
Arrive Feb 19
Classes Feb 20 - 25

March, April and May dates will be released after the new year.

Parabiago, Italy is the region for today’s top shoe designers. The city and its factories have led the way in better shoes and design for hundreds of years. This course can be repeated, and we also do private lessons with one or two students in between the week-long breaks. If that is something you would be interested in, please contact Mark Schwartz for further information.

Total price for the class is $2250.00 per student for 6 days of classes, Monday through Saturday.

$500.00 refundable deposit is available. We require at east 2 weeks or more notice to any cancellation. The $1750.00 balance is due 30 days before class starts.

USA Based Classes

Mr Schwartz is also available for ONE-ON-ONE private classes in the USA , and for school or group classes as well.

One-on-one classes start at $ 1500.00. For group or school classes, please contact me to discuss rates.