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Stalking the Elusive Ugg-lover in SoHo

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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UGG-LY Fuzzy-foot model Uggs—those boots that make anyone look like a Yeti from the shins down—are trapped in luxury goods purgatory. Just two weeks ago, a shoe designer in New York magazine had but one tip for females in search of winter footwear options: "Don't wear Uggs." A June 2006 Sunday Styles article in the New York Times—an institution notoriously a few steps behind fashion's front lines—derided the chunky clompers as the "bulky boots that reigned two years ago." Yet, like a persistent case of athlete's foot, the Manhattan and Malibu moon boots simply refuse to die. So when the Australian company opened up its flagship store this week in SoHo with a party sponsored by, uh, Vogue, Radar hoofed downtown to find out how a brand that first appeared on Oprah in '99 plans on gaining traction with a bunch of consumers who hated it four years ago. Is anyone still wearing these things?

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"Are you fucking serious?" snips Kristian Laliberte, a 23-year-old socialite and stylist who counts Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell among his clients. "I know it's a cliché, but Uggs are so over. Teeny-boppers and try-hard housewives. I'd never let a client wear 'em in a million years."

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