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Selfridges London shop ideal for Carrie, Imelda | Detroit Free Press |

Selfridges London shop ideal for Carrie, Imelda October 3, 2010   |   Comments Tweet Email Print Share LinkedIn Tumblr StumbleUpon Reddit Del.icio.us Digg A A Purchase Image This Vivienne Westwood shoe comes from the retrospective show at Selfridges Department Store in London. / ELLEN CREAGER/Detroit Free Press BY Ellen Creager

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Filed Under Commentary and criticism Ellen Creager, the Michigan Traveler ADVERTISEMENT

christian louboutin LONDON -- My feet are woefully shod, I realize too late.

christian louboutin outlet In the Christian Louboutin boutique at Selfridges London department store, I'm wearing white, dingy Ryka sneakers that honestly have seen better days.

christian louboutin outlet OK, so I'm a tourist. Shoot me.

christian louboutin outlet But my feet beg for better treatment. They want to try on buttery suede shoe-boots with lemon insides and red soles.

christian louboutin outlet They ache to slip on purple glittery pumps, too fragile to possibly support even one big toe.

cheap christian louboutin I waver. I wish. I can't bear to look at the price tags. I walk away, my sneakers regretfully clomping away, as awkward as an elephant's feet.

55,000 pairs for sale

It's hardly on par with Big Ben, but the newest amazing sight in this old city is Shoe Galleries, the world's largest shoe shop, which opened last month inside the historic Selfridges London department store on Oxford Street.

With 55,000 pairs of shoes, 4,000 different styles on display, 129 brands and 35,000 square feet of space on the store's second floor, it's cashing in on the odd fascination that our recession-plagued society has with "Sex in the City"-style shoes. And it's aiming to become a new tourist attraction in a city already packed with sights (London Eye and Magna Carta, watch out).

In the streets of London this fall, women are wearing very short skirts, black tights, and black or brown ankle boots, either tie or side buckle, either flat or heeled.

But think about it. If 4,000 London women each bought a different style of shoes in this shop, not one would look the same.

Amazing. And this giant store is for women's shoes only. Nobody cares what is on men's or children's feet.

Vivienne Westwood on display

For me, the best part of the new shoe extravaganza at Selfridges was not the plush galleries, designer names or exquisite displays. It was a Vivienne Westwood retrospective show on the store's lower level.

Westwood, a British designer whose shoes are famous for their impracticality and height, saw footwear as artwork. This woman obviously didn't believe in gravity or tippy ankles -- she believed, as the exhibit noted, in "the defiance of the rules of wearability and convention."

Model Naomi Campbell actually fell off her shoes on the runway in 1993 while wearing Westwood's incredibly high Super Elevated Gillies.

After seeing Westwood's astonishing shoes, then returning to the new retail shoe galleries upstairs, the exotic shoes for sale look super sensible in comparison, really, even for an American tourist.

(For more, see www.selfridges.com/theshoegalleries .)

Contact ELLEN CREAGER : 313-222-6498 or

ecreager@freepress.com .

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