San Francisco Chronicle

Carolyne Zinko | September 2008

Last night was not for the cynical at the Marc Jacobs boutique on Maiden Lane.

SF stylist Micki Turner likes the designer’s clothes, and some of her most loyal clients -- and the store’s -- were invited in to peruse the new fall collection, full of modern, angular gray or dusky blue or brown or black tops, coats and dresses. The lure, aside from the desire to be on top of the trends, was that two dozen pairs of shoes from last season were to be given away to anyone whose feet fit them. You heard it right, for free. There were pinkish red sparkling shoes straight out of a modern day Dorothy Gale's closet, black and green bow-tie shoes perfect for a luncheon at clubby Villa Taverna, as well as come-hither lattice-like sandals made of palest pink velvet, at a wobbly six inches high. Hmmm.

Probably intended for the bedroom. You couldn't stand in those all night, no way, no how. Of course, no shopping dream would have been complete without a little bubbly and some sweets, so Sofia sparkling wine and macaroons were on hand, which made the entire experience a little surreal. They also helped to loosen the purse strings of those who may not have found the perfect pair of heels in the giveaways, and just had to try on this season's wares. Dana Corvin of Piedmont found a pair of black wedge sandals to her liking, and then tried on several pairs of boots and other shoes. Jackie Safier, a real estate developer who works in San Mateo, sometimes has trouble with her size 10 feet. (Hey, it's nothing like Paris Hilton's woes, at a whopping size 11.) "I think they do it," she said, nodding at a pair of flat silver and black Mary Janes. "Good for work and play."

Leila Bulling Towne, a corporate trainer, tried spectator pumps but found them a little too tall for everyday wear. She found a pair of silver snakeskin sandals with a stacked heel that were perfect for cocktail and casual, with jeans. Marc Jacobs, she said, is "sassy but smart. It works for the boardroom as well as for the weekend." Anyone at HQ listening? Sounds like perfect copy for an ad. Of course, a giveaway gesture can do wonders for good will.