French Fashionista

It had been the mention of my surprise at seeing those shiny blue high-tops on Berry's feet the day before that prompted Berry to tell us about a new pair of shoes she'd purchased just that afternoon -- multicolored Adidas sneakers that were difficult to describe, so she'd just show them to us. But when she opened the door, I saw more than one pair of crazy-looking shoes.

Finally beaten into submission, Berry stepped aside, and I leapt off the couch and over to the built-in shelves that were piled with shoes. They were not just any shoes -- these were Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chinese Laundry, Miu Miu, and more. And they weren't the kind you can get in the store -- these were psycho-colored, limited editions. "I have a problem," Berry confessed as I dug through the shelves and handled each shoe, reeling at the sheer impracticality of trying to match any of them with clothing. There were no simple colors, no black or red, the two boring basics that comprise my wardrobe. This went beyond fashion. This was cutting edge . I felt betrayed somehow. "I've never even worn most of them." She said this as if it were supposed to make me feel better. Then she explained that this Imelda Marcos-worthy treasure trove was but one-sixth of a collection housed in three homes.

At a loss for words, I did the very thing I'd promised I wouldn't do -- I pointed and laughed. I held up a clear acrylic heel in which plastic flowers were entombed and said, "These. I mean, these are ridiculous. " Turning the shoe over and over in my hand, I acknowledged to myself that my cruelty was born of envy. I had not the gumption to purchase, let alone wear, such an audacious heel. I looked up at Berry, who was staring at me, perhaps in expectation of more ridicule. "Too bad my feet are a size bigger than yours," I said, by way of concession. "Because I would love to steal these and wear them to my next wine-and-cheese party."

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