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Gilding Those Lily-White Slippers

If you’ve always dreamed of being Cinderella at the moment she tried on that glass slipper, here’s something that’s almost as good: hand-decorated wedding shoes, either painted, beaded or appliqued with fabric rosettes to let a new bride put her best foot forward.

Madonna, you may recall, wore intricately beaded shoes at her wedding to Sean Penn last summer, and the trend has only gained steam since then. Country Elegance, a bridal boutique in Toluca Lake, had been doing such a brisk business in beaded and appliqued shoes that it started hand-painting them to order three months ago.

“We do a lot of tea-length bridal, which is great for beaded shoes; but, if you have a long dress, they catch,” says Country Elegance owner Susan Lane. She got the idea for painted wedding shoes after a trip to Rio de Janeiro, where the latest fashion items were extravagant suede boots, hand-painted with pale roses.

You can buy plain white satin shoes to be painted at Country Elegance for $35 or you can bring your own in to be painted, which costs $35 and up. Popular patterns include doves, a running ribbon around the edge of the shoe that finishes in a bow at the heel, flowers and wedding bells. Some people even have shoes painted with the names of the happy couple. But then, some people have emcees at their wedding reception.

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