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TRENDY FEET FIND THEMSELVES BEATING A PATH TO HUSH PUPPIES

Call it revenge of the nerds: Trendy feet have discovered the pigskin pleasures of Hush Puppies.

Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres has 30 pairs of Hush Puppies (and wore a pale lavender pair as host of the Grammy Awards). Others putting on the dogs are Jim Carrey, Sharon Stone, Jeanne Tripplehorn and "Friends" Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston.David Bowie is so dogged that his supplier sends new pairs directly to him.

"On one extreme, it's so kitsch-Americana," said the supplier, Joel Fitzpatrick of the Los Angeles store, Pleasure Swell. "On the flip side, it's as basic as a Levi. It's the ultimate unisex product."

Hush Puppies, in neutral pigskin suede oxfords or loafers, introduced casual shoes to the nation in 1958. After that, Hush Puppies settled into the comfort zone of a midpriced shoe for the middle-aged, middle-class man and woman.

Then menswear designer John Bartlett and Fitzpatrick rediscovered them. They had them minted in more than two dozen unusual hues like Chinese violet, lemon butter, meadow mist and rusty hot pepper.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America recently honored Hush Puppies as the top accessory of 1995.

And with spring on its way, can a revamping of Dr. Scholl's be far behind?