“As I look back over my life, I have always done things in my own romantic, whimsical style,” muses Arbie Goodfellow, of Milford, Michigan. The proprietress behind the online bridal boutique Parisxox spends her days designing couture wedding shoes, but her artistic path began decades ago.
Arbie credits her parents with fostering her imagination from a tender age. A carpenter by trade, her father taught her to draw animals and then helped her re-create the illustrations using oddly shaped scraps of lumber. Hikes through the forest were enchanting adventures when shared with her mother, who believed in embracing the possibilities a fresh perspective can bring. “Mom and I used to envision little fairy circles among the mosses,” Arbie reminisces. “We would find a tree stump for a table and acorn caps so the pixies could have their tea.” For many years, ice-skating offered a creative outlet for Arbie. She started taking private lessons at age 15 and within her first year mastered a number of challenging techniques, including the axel and several double jumps. Working six days a week under some of the greatest names in the industry, including four Olympic trainers, the teenager became a U.S. Figure Skating gold medalist. She performed in competitions and exhibitions throughout North America before graduating to a decade-long career in coaching.
World travels opened Arbie’s eyes to the beauty of Europe and inspired her to dream of a life beyond the rink. For her nuptials in Switzerland, she fashioned a simple choker by affixing an antique brooch to a length of vintage ribbon. Soon after, demand for her accessories began to grow, and she established a website, named for one of her favorite cities. A bride who appreciated her aesthetic asked the designer to embellish her wedding shoes and promptly ordered a second pair when she saw the exquisite results. Thus, the focus of Parisxox shifted to bespoke wedding slippers. Arbie conceives the collections showcased on her website, ranging from demure ballerina flats to elegant d’orsay heels. She first sends sketches and fabric samples to her manufacturer. Then by hand she transforms the satin shoes with shimmering accents collected from antiques vendors around the world. Applied to her custom-dyed creations, bits of ribbon and lace join cultured pearls and Austrian crystals to become treasured keepsakes—crowning each bride’s walk down the aisle with splendor.
Text Melissa Lester
To learn more about Arbie Goodfellow, see “The Business of Bliss” on page 37 of the January/February 2016 issue of Victoria.