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beauty & style

Shoe Couturiers

Could there be a more perfect souvenir than a pair of shoes designed expressly for you?

Argentina
Sylvie Geronimi is a true craftswoman, as seen in intricate details such as leather flowers, patchwork, and lacing on pumps or sandals. Prices start at around $200, but customers get serious attention for the money, starting with a private consultation and measuring appointment. The wait: one month. 2445 Uriarte, Buenos Aires, 011-54/11-4774-5408, sylviegeronimi.com.ar

Cambodia
Play mix and match with heels, silk, and swatches at Beautiful. The store's artists will construct anything a customer wants--sandals, slingbacks, pumps, oxfords, boots--for as little as $12. The wait: three days. 138 Street 143, Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang 3, Phnom Penh, 011-855/12-848-438

China
Get up-to-the-minute designer knockoffs at Liii Couture. Prices start at around $170, though shoes made with luxury fabrics and rare leathers cost even more. Bring in pages from a magazine to convey what you'd like or, better yet, a favorite shoe you're hoping to have re-created. The wait: one day. Shop #75, Tower Two Admiralty Centre, 18 Harcourt Rd., Hong Kong, 011-852/2136-9739

Germany
Heels Angels' designers Anja Hoffmann and Christiane Schulze can cobble together any shoe imaginable--wooden clog-like mules, metallic T-strap sandals, tall blue suede boots, pointy leather flats. They do it all by hand, and prices start at $170 for hip, Western-style sandals with grommets and a wooden heel. The wait: three months. Klenzestr. 45, Munich, 011-49/89-201-0136, heels-angels.de

India
Using cotton, silk, leather, and even the bark of a banana tree, self-taught designer Edwin Pinto handcrafts avant-garde sandals, mules, and slippers at Janota. A pair of leather flip-flops costs $25, while more complicated sandals--with leather leaves climbing up the leg, for example--are still a bargain at $50.The wait: two weeks. Aldeia Aurino near Damian de Goa, Porvorim, Goa, 011-91/832-241-2129, janotagoa.in

Morocco
The babouche stall in the bustling Marrakech bazaar sells an overwhelming array of traditional Moroccan slippers. Pretty silk mules with intricate beadwork cost less than $10. If you don't see exactly what you're looking for, feel free to make requests--e.g., gold silk slippers with red beading and a soft leather sole--and the designers do their best to comply. The wait: two to three days. 30 Souk Smata, Marrakech, 011-212/44-440-446

 
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