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. 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."
Why Are Designer Shoes So Damn Expensive All Of A Sudden?