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VALLEY WEEKEND | BARGAINS

Shoe Explosion Fills a Void for Shoppers

The store sells top brands for low price of $19.95. Styles are fairly current but widths are limited to medium.

July 11, 1996|GERI COOK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Just when our women's designer shoe sources were drying up, along comes the Shoe Explosion to help fill the gap. I visited during our recent heat wave, sat outdoors at a fast-food place and watched the parade of shoppers discover this terrific store.

Almost every shoe in the place is $19.95, and we're talking about some big--and pricey--names. Some of these are: Evan Picone, Bass, American Eagle, Marc Alpert, Candies, 9 West, Keds, Aerosole, Jasmin, Kikit, Nina, L.J. Simone, Unlisted (Kenneth Cole's casual line), Cole-Haan, Seychelles, Enzo Angiolini, Sam & Libby and some from the private label merchandise of Barney's N.Y. and Sak's Fifth Avenue.

Shoes are manufactured all over the world these days. Many, of course, are from Italy, but also from Brazil, China, the United States and--here's one I hadn't run across before--Macedonia. The inventory originates in many of these places and comes from department store leftovers. Most styles are fairly current, although some are classics and could be from a year or so ago.

In a period of a half an hour I selected five pairs of shoes in size 6 1/2 (all widths here are mediums) for under $100. Tweed fabric flats from Nina had retailed for $160 and a pair of brown woven loafers by Unisa sold for $90. Purple suede high-fashion pumps were tagged $175 at one time, and a great pair of gray suede boots by Seychelles were selling last season for $90. Toss in a pair of canvas sneakers from Keds that sell for $50 at many stores, and the total retail would have come to $565. Imelda's money I don't have, but at Shoe Explosion the price was $99.75 plus tax.

My aim was for a fall wardrobe, but there were many in-season sandals on the racks. The trendy stuff is also selling off the racks and lots of platforms were visible. Not all styles are available in each size, some are one-of-a-kind so luck plays a considerable part in your shopping expedition here. This alone, plus the fact that the inventory changes regularly, should make this a regular stop.

There's another Shoe Explosion in West L.A. where the prices run a straight 50% off retail on sale shoes and 20% to 40% on some pricier labels. Some of these make it to the Valley "outlet" store for $19.95, while some others such as Via Spiga, Arche and more Cole Haans do not.

Shoe Explosion, 21516 Victory (corner of Canoga Avenue), Woodland Hills. (818) 992-0567. Other location: 2249 Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles. (310) 992-0567.

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WEEKEND SUPER SALE: There's a new entry for top quality menswear at more reasonable prices. It is called Tristen E, where clothing from Fendi, Armani, Boss, Valentino, Ungaro, etc. are always about 20% lower than anywhere else. For two days only this weekend, you can deduct another 20% off the prices, so that an Armani suit, retailing for $1,498 and regularly selling here for $985, will be $788. Or a Hugo Boss black label super 110 wool sport coat that you'll see at other stores for $1,100, sells here for $749, and this weekend will be $599.20. It's a luxurious atmosphere for a sale. Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tristen E., 8784 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 360-0942.

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