Living Ind

Living on the Wedge

by Leslie Turk

Wedge heels are back with a vengeance.

It isn't time to get rid of those spikes, but Acadiana's stylish ladies are rushing to mix wedge heels into their summer fashion wardrobes.

Shoe La La owner Amy Lewis calls the wedge "the shoe" of the summer, and Abdalla's shoe department manager/buyer Jeff Ray says this solid heel will be the fall's hottest look as well. "I think half the boots I saw at market for the fall are wedges," says Ray, who attended the Las Vegas market in February.

"[Shoe label] Charles David is always high fashion, and they really started it last year," says Lewis, who offers the strappy Charles David corked-wedge (pictured) in both black and metallic gold at her River Ranch shoe boutique. Sales of this particular style took off so fast this spring ' thanks in part to early highlights in national fashion magazines ' that the designer broadened the summer palette to include bronze, pink, yellow and turquoise versions, says Lewis.

When it comes to this season's shoe accessorizing, think color, advises Ray. "Limes are huge, the pinks and fuchsias are still huge; we're selling some orange, some off-blue." Lewis recommends going with sparkle. "It's all about the bling ' everything shiny," she says.

The wedge heel has fallen in and out of fashion since it hit its popularity stride in the '70s. Local shoppers with a discerning eye have probably been noticing a few styles popping up in trendier shoe stores over the past couple years, Lewis says. But this year it's back with a vengeance, as is the espadrille, which features a similar heel wrapped in macramé or rope.

Originally, the espadrille always featured a canvas top, but that's no longer the case, says Ray. "What happens in the shoe business is the styles evolve. The hottest espadrille we have right now is a leather upper."

Pointed toe shoes are taking a backseat to round-toe versions in most high-fashion places in the country, Lewis says, but not in Lafayette. In general, pointed toe shoes are worn for sex appeal and round toe versions create a "cutesy" look. Locals favor the former. "Lafayette has some sexy women," she says.