The Louis Vuitton Spicy shoe is in a crazy, feathered league of its own
There are shoes, and there are It shoes. But even as It shoes go, these Louis Vuitton ones are in a crazy, feathery super-league of their own. To say that every woman in London wants a pair is to understate the case: these babies have gone global. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Spicy.
At the recent Paris shows, where the fashion paparazzi greet interesting accessories with the same enthusiasm as they greet Kate Moss, Spicy caused a bit of a fracas.
Spicy, a beaded, bejewelled confection set with purple, green and orange stones, caused so much fuss, poor Alexa Chung was almost knocked over in the quest for a shot of hers.
Other celebrities recently spotted wearing them include Chloe Sevigny, Heidi Klum, Victoria Beckham and, of course, Madonna, star of Vuitton's current advertising campaign.
So why the furore? "I think it's popular because it's such a great shoe - it's really fun and jolly, and is a proper work of art," says Katie Grand, editor of Love magazine and stylist for Louis Vuitton.
Victoria Beckham was one of the first to wear the £2,040 shoes last week, but model Heidi Klum, right, pipped her to the post, wearing hers back in December
"Its birth was at about three in the morning, with Marc [Jacobs] cutting up bits of snake, leather, leopard and ribbon, and the design team making masks to put on the front. Nearly every pair in the show was unique, which I think people also like."
The unique element is a big selling point, particularly in an era of mass-produced fashion. That high street stores churn out identikit accessories is a no-brainer, but with the economy as it is, designer brands cannot afford to be quite so unimaginative.
The brands that weather the downturn will, arguably, be those that go the extra mile, supplying items with that indefatigable "X" factor.
That there are umpteen variations on the Spicy (prices range from £700 to £2,040) ensures the customer feels that she is buying something really special: a one-off (almost) that not every other rich bitch will possess.
Even at these prices, there is a waiting list for the shoe, though with new orders expected later in the season, fans are still in with a chance of buying a pair.
And for those with less generous budgets (er, me), good old Topshop has a tasselled, faux python skin "homage" for £120.
Alexa Chung was mobbed by photographers at the Louis Vuitton show in Paris clamouring to get a shot of her Spicy shoes, while Queen of Cool Chloe Sevigny wore hers to a New Year's party in Miami
The homemade Louis Vuitton shoe that's got Posh & Co falling over themselves to wear... and it's a snip at £2,040 | Mail Online