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Insider: Miss Universe Up Close… Limelight’s Latest

Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete recently visited the Chinese Laundry showroom in New York.

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Vena Cava fall '11

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Pageant Queen
Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete has developed a passion for sky-high footwear. “I love really high heels with platforms, [and] my life now is [about always] wearing heels,” said Navarrete of her time in the spotlight since winning the crown in August. And a majority of her closet now features pumps by pageant sponsor Chinese Laundry, she told Insider while making a special appearance at the brand’s showroom in New York. Navarrete was on hand in between travels — she was recently in the Dominican Republic and will venture to Mexico and Los Angeles next month — to award Janae Desire, a Club Universe member (the organization allows VIP access to the beauty queens) with eight pairs of Chinese Laundry styles and a chance to chat with Navarrete. “I thought I was just getting one pair,” said Desire, who competed for Miss USA last year. “I don’t have to do any shoe shopping for a long time.”

Simple Wish
These shoes were made for walking, literally. Vena Cava designer Sophie Buhai told Insider that when collaborating with TenOverSix on a second footwear collection, she and partner Lisa Mayock made a push for wearable fall looks. “We focused on great silhouettes and fine details,” said Buhai. “We couldn’t find anything simple and wearable.” So the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based design duo set out to fill the void, creating suede mid-heel pumps with double ankle straps in deep teal and burgundy, and flat platform corset sandals, a best seller last season. “They remind me of 1930s circus shoes, very fashion-forward, but not trendy. We wanted to do a wedge that was easy [to walk in],” said Buhai. The shoes will retail for around $300 at TenOverSix in Los Angeles, Opening Ceremony and at Saks.com.

Covert Operations
New York’s Limelight Marketplace welcomed a new tenant last week: Covert. The first-floor shop, which celebrated its opening with an invite-only soirée, puts a premium on special makeups — such as U.S.-exclusive colorways of key Lacoste and Pony sneaker styles — and a mix of established and under-the-radar brands, including Alexander McQueen Puma, Generic Surplus, Dr. Martens, Seavees and Keds. Prices range from $49 to $249, with styles for both men and women. And according to buyer and manager Sang Yi, shoppers can expect more, with Grenson, Diemme and Fila’s glove-like Skeletoes product arriving in the next few months.