Today — tiki for your tootsies — because what goes better with a vintage Hawaiian dress than cute shoes with a tiki carved into the heel? Pam and I discovered Lucky Lou Shoes while shopping the tiki bazaar during our trip to The Hukilau. I didn’t have room left in my suitcase for a pair of these (too many mugs!) but Pam bought herself a pretty pair.
We’re mega-fans of Retro Renovation over here and we’re thrilled you want to feature Lucky Lou Shoes! I met Pam at the Hukilau and we talked a little bit about Lucky Lou Shoes, as well as my other company — a retro lampshade company called Starlight Shades.
About the shoes: I used to collect the original palm tree-and-hut carved wood shoes that were made during WWII in the Philippines. They’re called ‘bahaykubo’ (meaning ‘little village), were often brightly-painted and were made for Souvenirs for Allied GIs to take home to their sweethearts. Unfortunately, the shoes were often small, narrow and uncomfortable. I still managed to wear mine as often as possible while living in San Francisco and got tons of compliments – at that time, no one had really seen them before.
Upon moving to Austin in 2002, I started doing some research to see if I could get these shoes carved again for modern girls. After about a year, I finally found the descendants of the original carvers in the Philippines who agreed to bring back the lost art of shoe carving for me. I came out with an updated version of the original Bahaykubo, as well as styles that included a highly-carved flaming heart, lucky charms, flowers, anchors and our classic, Rockin’ Tiki.
Originally aimed at the Rockabilly crowd, I’m now branching out and designing beautiful shoes that any woman, no matter what her style or taste, can wear. I’ve got collaborations coming up with some pretty well-known people that I’m really excited about, I’m picking up more and more retailers and my manufacturing process is becoming more refined. I’m experimenting with new strap materials and choices, I have some gorgeous new designs coming up (a tattoo-inspired Japanese dragon, an anatomical skull, a Hollywood Regency riot of scrolls) and they’re all in the sample-stage. I’m also working on a complementary handbag line. As far as designs go, my carvers can pretty much carve anything I can come up with onto a pair of shoes, so the possibilities are endless.
Originally, our shoes were produced by the descendants of the original carvers, with the grandparents teaching the grandkids how to do the detailed work. Now we employ talented carvers in small factories in Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines, but our shoes are still hand-carved.
At this time, Lucky Lou’s shoes have four available styles: the Gypsy Rose, the Souvenir, the tiki stiletto and the tiki wedge. There are a variety of colors and finishes depending on the style — red and black vinyl, tooled vinyl and even a snazzy faux leopard fabric. Prices range from $85 – $110 per pair.
Above: Pam bought herself the Souvenir style — a wedge with fun peek-a-boo cutouts and an Asian inspired pagoda type building carved into the heel. Pam adds:
“Yup, this is the exact style and color I bought. I am massively in love with these shoes. They are super comfortable and look fabulous on. Come Christmas, I will ask Santa to bring me a pair with the leopard print. Santa never knows what to bring me. He will be happy I have something so specific — and so personal — on my list. Did I mention: I am massively in love with these shoes.”
Some styles, like the gypsy rose above, also have carved treatments on the vinyl that further complement the carved heels.
Even if you aren’t into tiki, these shoes are super fun. In hindsight, I should have bought myself a pair. Perhaps I can add a pair of tiki wedges to my birthday wish list.
Which style is your favorite? BUT WAIT! Come back tomorrow and tell us then — ‘cuz we’re having a giveaway!