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Fancy footwork

Whether one is going naive, native, or nautical, the decorative shoe that compliments a particular outfit is the way to be modishly shod. Such all-purpose footwear as the bland pump, the traditional moccasin, and the bare, minimal sandal will not do wonders in upping one's fashion standing this season.

If this sounds like another ploy whereby the industry sells more shoes -- well, so be it. The fact of the matter is that shoe design has moved away from the purely functional one into elaboration and embellishment. With simplicity running second to detailing and adornment, buying a shoe that "goes with everything" is not really going to work this season.

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Shoemakers have taken their cues from the fashionmakers. The hope that women will see the need for a wardrobe of new shoes was implicit in the roundup of American manufacturers' styles exhibited by the Footwear Council. In looking for shoes, the shopper will be confronted with a sweeping variety encompassing every spring trend.

Even ruffles, of all things, are expressed in footwear terms. They have been added -- in the form of leather frills -- to ankle-straps and open-toe sling-backs, with a nod toward the new romanticism. Baubles, bangles, and beads , as well as fringes, decorate espadrilles and sandals meant to be worn with Ivory Coast and other ethnic looks.

Such tailored-type shoes as tie oxfords and spectators that are destined for middy and other maritime styles have been updated with stripings, unusual color separations, and punchier-looking perforated trims. The preppy dresser's penny loafer now comes in sizzling hot colors and in delicate pastels.

To go with camouflage prints and other olive-drab activist clothes, quilted parachute boots have been dressed up with appliques, and drawstrings encircle soft unlined moccasins.

In other words, shoemakers are dazzling us with fancy footwork. But while doing so, they are down to earth in other respects. Flats, skimmers, and underslung stacked or lowish Louis heels are the general rule. Narrow medium-high scooped wedge heels are popular, too.

Allowance for toe room has, however, not been a big priority. The tapered V-shaped vamp, which tends to put on the squeeze, is still the most chic. Other , more commodious toes are baby doll round, in keeping with innocent ingenue looks, or else squared.

There is nothing pedestrian abot textures and colors. Among the novel materials surfacing for warm weather months are chintz, mesh, linen, ribbon, woven leather, raffia, canvas, and shantung.

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But it is perhaps by their extensive colorations that this year's spring-summer shoes shall finally be known. Besides khaki and clay (for neo-army looks) there are the expected red, white, and blue combinations for nautical clothes as well as maroons, indigos, and cocoa to wear with native dressing.

What is newsiest, though, is the palette of matte pastels. It includes lemon , peach, mint, biscuit, banana, lavender, and, of course, pristine white. P.F.

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