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Step into style at Footloose

| Thursday, Jan. 11, 2001


Fashionable feet have two places to get Footloose: Shadyside and Mt. Lebanon.

The chic shoe boutiques - one on Bellefonte Street and one in the Galleria - are a haven for the freshest looks in footwear. Notable designers include Stuart Wietzman, Donald J. Pliner and Phyllis Poland, as well as Paraboot, Prevata, Claudia Ciuti and Fieramosca & Co.

Styles at Footloose range from fresh-from-the-runway to classic, and the shop's atmosphere is warm and comfortable. Get ready to settle onto a fluffy couch, kick off your old shoes and do some serious trying on. Spring looks are arriving every day, and it might be tough to choose from the bumper crop of trendy styles.

One of the biggest hits this spring is the retro look with tall, thick heels and feminine details, according to Shadyside Footloose owner Jill Rubinstein. Prevata makes a peep-toe sling-back in a beautiful beige fabric, and Anne Klein does a version in olive green. Designer Jill Stuart made a great retro-look ankle strap in black or red, and Rubinstein is expecting a shipment soon.

The shop owner also is expecting another exciting spring arrival: the new line of Michael Kors footwear, which should be in the store by mid-February. Prices will range from $190 to $250, and styles will follow Kors American design sensibilities.

The Michael Kors line will be just another addition to the roster of designers at Footloose, which was founded in 1987 by Rubinstein's parents, Richard and Judy. Their daughter took over the Shadyside shop after they retired, and her brother, Michael, took over the Galleria shop.

Neither siblings are strangers to the footwear business. Their grandfather started the family tradition when he opened Rubinstein Shoes in McKeesport in 1936.

'We served several generations,' Rubinstein says. 'People recognize our name.'

Designers also recognize the Rubinstein name. A wall in the shop's back room is covered with postcards from Donald J. Pliner - including one that was mailed attached to a rubber flip-flop.

Stuart Weitzman is another designer with close ties to the Rubinstein family.

'We've been with him since the get-go,' Rubinstein says. 'When Stuart Weitzman was first starting out, he sold shoes to my grandfather, and now he's a world-renowned designer.'


One Weitzman design Rubinstein predicts to be popular this spring is a sexy leopard-print sandal. The shoe is feminine but edgy, with vivid red lining and a geometric wedge heel that has a black lacquer finish ($190). With a matching envelope bag ($310), it's a sure attention getter.

Another trend to watch for this spring is metallics. 'There's going to be a surge in metallics, with gold as the strongest,' Rubinstein says.

Metallics aren't just for evening, either. Pair a sleek black suit with a matte metallic shoe - such as Anne Klein's slingbacks in matte silver or gold - and you'll have a standout daytime look.

Stuart Weitzman does a great metallic sandal - a strappy slingback in gold ($192) - that would work just as well at poolside as it would at a dinner party.

Rubinstein also is expecting hip comfort footwear by Mephisto and Arche to be hot, as it is every year.

'We're not exactly a comfort store, but comfort is an important part of our business,' she says. Comfort and fashion aren't mutually exclusive, either, Parisian line Arche makes wedge-heel boots that are beautiful and practical, with non-slip soles and supple suede uppers.

Also at Footloose: hosiery, trouser socks and footies by Donald J. Pliner, and a selection of bold spring belts from Streets Ahead.

Footloose, 736 Bellefonte St., Shadyside. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; until 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Details: (412) 687-3663. Footloose, the Galleria in Mt. Lebanon. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Details: (412) 531-9663.

Stephanie Huszar can be reached at (412) 320-7988 or shuszar@tribweb.com .

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