Last week I found heaven.  My dear friend invited me to a fundraiser for The Valerie Fund at the very-new Miu Miu boutique in the Short Hills Mall.  For those who may not know, the Valerie Fund does incredible work, providing comprehensive medical and counseling support for children with cancer and blood disorders: Miu Miu is the high-end brand of the Prada fashion house, headed by Miuccia Prada (Miu Miu is her nickname, actually): the banana heel?  Well, I will get to that.  Put all three together, not to mention a chance to dress up for a night out with my friend, while showing support for this life-changing organization, and you have something special.

When I walked in I saw … chic women and men dressed in black and white, greeting us at the door, as I entered a glittering room with lively music playing (actually it felt like a club, with two female DJ’s with mini skirts and headphones). The room was filled with beautiful handbags and shoes, pass-around hors d’oeuvres, and smiles everywhere.  I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore as I embraced the good feeling.

And then, I saw the shoes. For years I watched the character Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and followed her love affair with her Manolo Blahnik’s.  But I never understood that deep feeling Carrie had (and it seems that Sarah Jessica Parker may have it, too) for her shoes. I enjoy shoes like the next woman.  I appreciate how they complement an outfit and pull it together.  But on this night, I saw the shoes at Miu Miu and …WOW!  I fell in love. They were black, sparkly ankle boots with suede ‘wing’ detail; so beautiful that they immediately drew me in.  What was it that made them extra special? The heel.  Sleek and slightly curved, this was not a stiletto; this was a solid heel.  A lovely woman named Tatiana told me that it was called the banana heel, a design unique to Miu Miu. It was then that I looked closer and found more shiny shoes with banana heels, including silver shimmer boots with added pops of pink color that actually looked like candy, and shiny, gold pumps. Now I surely felt like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz!  Could I tap three times and own a pair??  My evening ended happily, arm in arm with my friend, and we left this magical place with a good feeling, knowing that we had touched a bit of heaven. 

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There is a postscript to this evening.  At present, I cannot afford Miu Miu’s banana heeled-shoes, but I simply couldn’t leave it there.  I returned to the boutique a few days later, met Tatiana, and tried on the glittery black boots and the gold pumps (there were many more choices – tall boots and shorter ankle boots, dressy satin shoes, open toe shoes – all with that fabulous heel!). What makes the banana heel so special is that it provides height as well as comfort.  Different from the stiletto, it distributes one’s weight evenly.  It also has a hidden platform, another design element allowing better comfort.  Not only is it beautifully artistic and fashion forward, but it is also a high heel that feels good.  I think this shoe style will be around for a long time and we will be seeing more of it.  I felt so comfortable that I could have run right out of the store!  And I almost did!  But I will be more zen about it, and start by visualizing owning my own pair of Miu Miu banana heels!


Melissa Kaplan Guarino delights in sharing her love of fashion with you.  Fashion questions?  Feel free to write to Melissa at