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Arts and Entertainment

I love me some pretty shoes...

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When Haley Thompson and Dara Weinberg began decorating their slip on sneakers with paint, fabric, bleach, and some crafty ingenuity, they had no idea that an entire business was about to come to life. Based in Los Angeles, Enchanted Royals' one-of-a-kind hand-embellished sneakers have got it all: beauty, individuality and a sense of humor.

Haley and Dara, both 24, had been creating clothing and accessories for themselves and their friends for years. It was their mutual appreciation for all things crafty that led the girls to join forces and create something on a grander scale. The classic reliability and timeless cool of California's omnipresent solid slip-on sneakers were the perfect canvas for Haley and Dara's stylish and unusual touch.

Thus began Enchanted Royals; Haley and Dara working out of their apartments in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks. The designs for the first two pairs - fabric Cupcakes with scalloped corduroy bottoms and sparkly pink felt for frosting and The Black Forest, hand painted with rose-shaped buttons sewn to the branches - were painstakingly reproduced dozens of times over, and continue to be two of their best sellers.

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The ideas kept flowing from all kinds of sources; be it homesickness (The Enchanted City), a friend's undying love for cheeseburgers (The Royale With Cheese), or another friend's desire for the ultimate in geek chic (Sara J. Molecules). Indeed, many of the styles that have become a part of Enchanted Royals' permanent repertoire started out as one-of-a-kind requests, all beautifully hand-crafted with that signature tongue in cheek quality.

The aforementioned designs, in addition to The Enchanted Galaxy, are available at the boutique Lavish on Melrose, a new kid on the block that showcases many local talents in design and crafting, located at 6917 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood.

While Haley and Dara have a soft spot for their signature designs that sell on a regular basis, they live for creating one-of-a-kind pieces by request. Recent one-offs include a pair bearing the image of a couple's silhouette on the beach in front of the Santa Monica Pier that was given to them as a wedding present and another pair with an intricate painting of a sailboat.

Most recently they have expanded into baby-wear, featuring the signature felt cupcake and hamburger designs on onesies and baby tee’s. There's no challenge too great for these crafty ladies; they relish the opportunity to rise to any request.

Whether you desire a pair of sneaks that reflect your innermost interests or one of the more established designs, your delight is guaranteed. To get your own personalized pair, visit Lavish on Melrose, visit their website, or contact Haley and Dara directly at If you visit their Myspace
; their profile houses the only complete collection of photos for Enchanted Royals' one of a kind styles.

Pairs of Enchanted Royals sell for $105 at Lavish on Melrose. Special orders are priced upon request.

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