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Mirabella: Shoe Maven Heaven

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Bags by Tulah Ray are among the new lines being introduced this fall at Kim Smuck's women's footwear boutique, Mirabella. How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet? If you are embarrassed to answer the question aloud for fear of being thought a spendthrift, take heart. A weakness for shoes seems to be a common condition among women. And since Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw made Manolo Blahnik a household name, the allure of designer shoes has become even more prominent in pop culture " as well as in the lives of everyday women " which is why Mirabella (115 Metairie Road, Metairie, 828-3888; www.mirabellashoes.com) has a steady stream of customers looking for high heels, flats and everything in between.

Owner Kim Smuck insists that good shoes don't have to be pricey, which is why Mirabella has 'shoes in every price range and everything for all ages." In addition to footwear from brands such as Donald Pliner, Me Too, Charles David, Yellowbox, Martinez Valero and Reef, the store also carries handbags and jewelry.

Mirabella was opened eight years ago by Isabelle Petit. Smuck, who previously was a manager at the store, recently took the reins after Petit gave up her position as owner to be a stay-at-home mom to her new baby.

When the store first opened, Smuck says that Petit 'just started with whatever she could get her hands on as far as inventory goes," but then 'struck gold" when she began carrying shoes by Donald Pliner and built up a customer base with that brand. 'It's one of the brands we're known for having," explains Smuck.

Mirabella currently is undergoing a renovation, and Smuck says a grand reopening is planned for September and will coincide with the introduction of product lines not previously carried by the store.

The store's customers come from all over the city, including loyal customers from the neighborhood around the Old Metairie location as well as women who travel from Uptown and the Northshore for the store's selection of shoes and accessories. Interacting with these customers is one of the things Smuck likes most about working at Mirabella.

"A lot of people come in once a week, even if it's just to stop in and say hello and see what's going on here," she says.

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