CFM shoes? What are CFM shoes? I mean, I get that we’re talking killer, sexy Marlies Dekkers–style pumps, but I’ve been away too long, because I am completely unfamiliar with the expression. Fortunately for my shopping partner, I am a quick learner and after a brief translation we were out the door and headed to the shoe capital of Paris, if not the world, the rue de Grenelle in the 6th Arrondissement.
Michel Perry, Christian Louboutin, Sergio Rossi, Jean-Claude Monderer, Yves Saint Laurent, Barbara Bui, Laure Bassal and many others are on this street, offering enough boots, pumps and sandals to satisfy your wildest fantasies. And his.
Some of the cobblers are mythic, like Christian Louboutin and his seven-inch heels specially made to order for Arabian princesses, Vegas showgirls and Hollywood’s elite. Mr. Louboutin is a rarity in the luxury world, crafting his goods out of a true passion for quality. The result is a handmade shoe of the finest quality, with the most sensual lines known in footwear. As in a three-star restaurant, each guest who crosses the threshold of the boutique is treated with the utmost respect and courtesy. No snobby sales staff here. Not even if you are an overloaded mom in sweatpants with a baseball-capped husband and two grumpy kids in tow.
Other boutiques are what the French call “multi-marque,” carrying several brands of shoemakers from across the globe; some of these limit their collections to French brands. The majority of the boutiques carry brands that you may find at home, but not necessarily the same models. And there are still a few boutiques with shoes you won’t find anywhere else on earth.
I usually begin this visit at the corner of the boulevard Raspail and work my way up to the Place Michel Debré before heading back down the rue du Cherche-Midi. There are a few side trips that can be made, up the rue du Dragon or down the rue de Sèvres, but those are for sensible shoes, and today it’s all about CFMs. Remember? And because we are in the realm of fantasy, the trip begins at Michel Perry with his stiletto boots. I’ve planned this walk knowing that the prices start high. Astronomically high. But I am calm, knowing that they will become more and more reasonable as the stroll continues.
It’s still sale season, so many of the shoes are from the winter collection, but the cruise line is out and even some of the spring series have arrived. Heels are high, my friends; the sales staff gave us the precise height in centimeters for every pair we touched. Boots continue to run the show—every designer has his version of the high-heeled clog boot, like the one we spotted at YSL (pictured above). Platforms have been in for a while, and they are now to be found on even the most traditional-looking pumps. Speaking of pumps, they seem to be the “it” shoe of the moment. They should be platformed with suede or textured leather, with the toes seductively open, giving a come-hither wink as only the ultimate CFM shoe can do.