While the boots were originally functional, and served as antique jousting boots from medieval Spain, they had since become a rare collectors item. On top of that, Madison envisaged herself in a grand apartment where they would be on full view in her future. But even sans a spacious living area, the collector happily displayed the boots in the entryway of her college apartment shortly thereafter (it was the only option, as she had no living room at the time). “For parties, I would hide them,” adds Madison, a tradition that continued after moving into her first solo apartment.
Fast-forward a decade later to a boutique hotel in Paris where Madison came across a decorative version of her chic brass booties in the lobby—cleverly used as an umbrella stand. It nearly felt like fate when a few days later at the Marché aux puces de Paris Saint-Ouen flea market she saw them standing in the shop window.
In the same frantic should-I-should-I-not manner that the first set was purchased in, Madison perused the shop, and trying to be pragmatic, decided it wasn’t necessary. After scouring Etsy and realizing that the exact same versions of the boot were reselling for upwards of $1,000, she eagerly returned to make the purchase. “I ran back into the store,” she admits. “The French man laughed at me and told me to sit down while he packed up the boot.” Shortly thereafter, the $100 boot traveled back in her suitcase and returned to Brooklyn—but not without dubious looks from airport security. There were now three boots standing tall in her Chinatown abode.
But the story doesn’t end there: A few weeks later, Madison received a text from her friend Lily Sullivan claiming that it must, again, be fate that she stumbled across the exact counterpart of the third boot (in case she was looking for a matching pair). Once again, Madison couldn’t resist the temptation, so her friend promptly made the purchase and shipped the antique from Vermont to New York. Since then, she’s resettled in Los Angeles into a 1930s Spanish style home where the two pairs of boots stand by the fireplace.
Despite the fact that her career revolves around sourcing from the internet, Madison maintains an affinity for in-person finds. “There is something different about antiques,” she continues. “They have this distinct narrative and feel that is really amazing.” Each shoe adds to her never-ending brass-boot saga, recalling tales from various corners of the globe. To this day, Madison’s friends continue to send photos of brass boots they spot in the wild. With the Middle Ages Modern aesthetic in full swing, her brass boots could not have stepped into the spotlight at a better time.