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THE BEST...THE BEAUTIFUL...AND THE BIZARRE | If the
Shoe Fits | SO SOCAL

Stepping Into Another Season

November 01, 1998|Julie Logan

"Come on," says an impatient Scooter Chamness, gazing out Free Lance's window display to a well-heeled section of Robertson Boulevard, just north of 3rd Street. "They've got to face reality here. It's fall now. It says so in the magazines. Haven't they read their issues yet?"

So far on this overcast Saturday, the few shoppers making a lap through the French import shoe boutique have had sandals on their mind. A woman in a long flowered dress asked to see any spring sale items left and bought sandals and mules. A haughty trio, all three strapped into towering platforms, did a quick circle around the gleaming floor samples before exiting for the Kate Spade shop two doors down. "You know," grouses Chamness, "boots are what's happening now!"

Dejected, he and his sales cohorts return to their favorite slow-time pastime: providing play-by-play narration to drivers' misguided attempts at parallel parking out front. Particularly egregious examples prompt Gina Gentile to cell-phone her friends working in adjacent, curb-facing boutiques. "I love it when they barrel head-first into a small space," she enthuses. "What are they thinking? Hel-lo!" Chamness shakes his head in amazement as a teenager exits her badly askew sedan, dropping the keys into a Prada bag. "If you're going to own the Ultimate Driving Machine," he says, "wouldn't you think you'd learn how to park it?"

At noon, the lull breaks, and the shop buzzes with ready-for-fall customers till closing. "Oh, my God!" exclaims a glamorous brunet with an Italian accent. "I want to try everything!" Fourteen pairs later, she thinks she's found her dream boot, mid-calf with a high heel, but isn't sure about black pony skin. She takes the Twin 9 Zipper in a high-gloss polished leather with a metal finish. "Ech," says her pump-minded friend, slipping into a round-toed Minnie Mouse-ish style. "These are too small. They're confusing my toenails." A third customer says sotto voce to her companion: "My astrologer says this a good day for me to buy shoes."

Late in the day, the Engelberg sisters--the sitcom-writing team behind "Clueless" and other shows--arrive on the scene. Amy asks Wendy, who is pregnant and grateful to be off her feet, for the fifth time whether she likes the Love 5 Sully boyish-looking oxford in polished calfskin. Wendy responds with a familiar sigh: "My whole life has been spent convincing her to buy something."

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