Any dedicated observer of shoe culture knows that over the last decade or so, something very strange and concerning happened to designer shoes: they got really fucking expensive. In the early 2000s, a pair of Pradas or YSLs could be had at full price for around $400. In this clip from Season 4 of Sex and the City, Carrie laments the loss of a pair of Manolos that cost $485, which is implied to be a staggering sum. $400 is pretty damn insane, but that was then: at the most recent Barneys Warehouse Sale many of the sale prices were higher than that. One struggles to name a consumer item whose price has inflated more dramatically in recent years than the designer shoe (and it's not like $400 is "cheap," as baselines go, to begin with). Basic designer pumps now often hit in the $700-$900 range. Even newer designers, like Brian Atwood and Camilla Skovgaard, feel justified in pricing some of their offerings at over $1000. Christian Louboutin's zippered heels will set you back nearly $1600. Anything with embellishment or exotic leather might top $2000. What. The. Fuck?
First of all, no, you're not imagining things.
"The observation is correct, the prices have shot up dramatically," says Daniella Vitale, chief merchant and executive vice president of Barneys New York. "We still open up at $395 in designer ballet flats" — Fendi, FYI — "and Rochas has a loafer at $395, but I would say that those are really becoming the anomaly."
Barneys' average designer shoe price is now $770, a situation even the store admits is "concerning." The C.E.O. of Christian Louboutin claims his company's shoes have risen in price because the cost of raw materials has gone up by "30 to 40 per cent" in the last 18 months. George Malkemus, C.E.O. of Manolo Blahnik, says the price hikes are unwise.
"When a young lady says to me, ‘I went shopping for shoes and the average price point was $900' — $900 used to be a coat," says Malkemus. "I think that people may have taken advantage of the notion that ‘It's all about accessories right now.' When [designer] ready-to-wear priced itself out of the realm of most consumers, shoes and bags were still affordable. Now, what's happened is the shoe people and the bag people sort of lost control of that, and they are scaring off a certain consumer."
In Madonna's new song "I Don't Give A," Nicki Minaj raps, "We material girls, ain't nobody hotter, fox collar/See I really can't relate to your Volvo, and you can't get these shoes at Aldo." Which is interesting, given that Madonna's new shoe line is being produced by... Aldo. [YouTube, Earlier]
S Marc Jacobs drew up a mock "Wanted" ad for the person(s) unknown who stole spring collection runway samples from a truck in London last year. The ad is also available on a t-shirt. [ Shophound]
SThe Prime Minister of Malaysia finally formally thanked Hansel for saving his life all those years ago. [@ RedHourBen]
S Bebe — that store that sells all the super-short and super-tight and super-trashy dresses for the clerrrrb — is moving into bridal wear with a new collection of dresses (priced at $950-$2500) designed by Project Runway alumnus Rami Kashou. On Bebe's Web site, you can also buy $49 wedding flip flops and $187 sets of matching bedazzled velour sweats (pink for bridesmaids, white for the bride, natch). Women's Wear Daily notes, "According to [Bebe Stores Inc. president Emilia] Fabricant, women wear the sweats as they fix their hair and makeup prior to getting formerly [sic] dressed for the wedding ceremony." [ WWD]
S Burberry announced Jourdan Dunn is the newest face of its makeup collection. [@ Burberry]
S Dakota Fanning wears a hat with a mouse on it on the cover of Wonderland magazine. [ ONTD]
- Michael Kors is a Wall Street success story — and other designers want to follow in his footsteps. Just three months out from his IPO, Kors' company's stock price is up by 72% and has raised its full-year guidance. Kors made over $117 million in the IPO, and stands to make another $139.5 million in a secondary offering of stock scheduled for Wednesday. The company has a market cap of $9 billion. Analysts say that Kors' experience has raised expectations of value for other brands in roughly the same bracket, like Tory Burch and Kate Spade. [WWD]
- Pierre Bergé approves of Hedi Slimane taking the reins at Yves Saint Laurent, calling him "a man of talent who can preserve the genius and legacy of Yves Saint Laurent." Bergé says, "It's a great problem, very complicated, to recreate the work of a genius. Like trying to rewrite Faulkner. To put your stamp on the name of Yves Saint Laurent requires someone who has talent, conviction, rigor, a demanding nature and a great sense of color." [T]
- Iman says that she was initially insulted when photographer Peter Beard approached her on the street in Nairobi, Kenya, and asked her if she'd ever been photographed. "I thought, 'Oh, here goes, a white man thinking Africans have never seen a camera before in their lives!'" But when she realized that he wasn't just propositioning her, and that he would pay her for her time, she decided to go for it. "He said, 'I'll pay.' And that was my first business transaction I made." Iman also played along with Beard's idea to launch her career by re-branding her as a "Somali tribeswoman" whom he'd discovered while tending her herd of goats. Iman, who was the daughter of a diplomat and a doctor, nonetheless appeared at a press conference in New York where she wore traditional garb — including a necklace made from warthog tusks — and pretended that she'd only just learned English. And if you were wondering how she met her husband David Bowie, she says, "We were set up by our hairdresser." [CBS]
- The Times — always at the coalface, bringing you the important news — reports on the cutting-edge trend that is women wearing skirts for spring. [NYTimes]
- Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani spent the weekend writing a speech that she will deliver at Harvard on April 2 on the topic of "the possible responsibilities of fashion towards what women think is the right body image: thinness." Writes Sozzani, "I focused on this the whole weekend. I spent so many hours studying each and every lecture given on eating habits, anorexia, obesity and so on. I spoke on the phone for hours with several professors, and each one had their own theory." Eh, why not just call everyone who possibly believes something different to her "crazy"? That seems to be Sozzani's go-to rhetorical device when cornered. [Stylelist]
- The September Issue and War Room director R.J. Cutler is working on a new fashion-related feature film. It is an adaptation of Fabulous Nobodies, an '80s novel written by a former editor of Vogue Australia. [WWD]
- Proenza Schouler is opening a boutique in New York. [LATimes]
- If you really want that choker you saw on the runway at Lanvin, Lane Crawford looks like your only shot. The Hong Kong-based department store will exclusively sell more than 120 accessories from over 40 designers, privileging the more esoteric accessories that delight fashion nerds but don't always go into production. [WWD]
- Today in things people write about the fashion tech start-up bubble:
But surely there cannot be customer appetite for hundreds of new fashion e-commerce sites, can there? Of course not. And, in fact, there are many examples of fashion ventures started in the last few years that no longer exist. In the flash-sales space, a wave of consolidation occurred in 2010. This past year, two key players — DailyCandy's Swirl and Prive — quietly shuttered their doors. Even Google, who entered the fashion world with its social shopping site Boutiques, has since gotten out. I would venture to guess that a similar wave of consolidation and "weeding out" will occur in other areas within the fashion space.
- A.P.C. sold a 14% stake in its brand to a French investment firm for an undisclosed sum. [WWD]
- And now, a moment with AnOther Magazine's body-language expert, Dr. Nicola J. Davies. Dr. Nicola, what does Alber Elbaz's runway bow mean?
"By opening his arms to the applause of the audience, Alber Elbaz is literally soaking up and absorbing the attention from the crowd. By placing his leg forward as if to get closer to the audience, Elbaz is encouraging more applause. He is clearly enjoying being in the spotlight and his pose suggests he can't get enough of it."
Dr. Nicola does all the designers at the link. [AnOther Magazine]