The Cost of Inflation: Manolo Blahnik

So I know this is a fashion AND home blog - but it's Fashion Week! What can I say? Our homes will all still be here waiting for us when the last exhausted model has staggered home. On to more style.

Carrie Bradshaw's Closet

While watching a Sex and the City rerun recently, (season 6, episode 83) I was shocked by the cost of Carrie's shoes. The Abstract: Carrie goes to a baby shower, and the dedicated mommy insists that everyone check their shoes at the door. All are shorter but well until Carrie tries to leave - and finds that her Manolo Blahniks have left without her. Stolen! A scene ensues: Carrie wants her crazy-expensive shoes replaced, and cautious mommy wants Carrie to stop frivolously investing in crazy-expensive shoes. Their cost? $485. I was shocked when I heard that number. Shocked, because 1) that's the cost of a month's rent in most towns, and 2) that's WAY less than a pair of actual Manolos costs these days. Way.

The precious heels Carris lost. This is what $485 shoes look like.

Did Carrie get a special Sex and the City dispensation? Hardly. That's what Manolos cost in 1998. Wardrobe costs have skyrocketed in the last 11 years, and this is one of the reasons why I rejoiced to hear that Saks is now asking designers to price their clothes lower. I'm not an economist, and I confess I don't have any knowledge of production costs these days, but has leather and labor really gone up that much? Not by my paycheck. Or maybe they've started throwing loose diamonds in the boxes when you buy? I think not. I suspect that a booming economy and booming sales led to booming prices. While this recession is certainly painful, maybe it will serve the greater good of bringing prices out of the stratosphere and back to reality.

In today's prices: $715 (similar shoes at Neiman Marcus). That's a $230 increase.

Not convinced? Apparently, designers (and movie makers) weren't completely unaware of the skyrocketing costs of sky-high heels either. In the 2008 Sex and the City movie, Carrie covets (and gets) these gorgeous peacock blue Blahniks, for the price of $595.

However, that WAS a movie. $595 is a serious chunk of change, but not the real market value of the shoes (were the producers afraid of backlash from middle America?).
The shoes were actually sold that same year (2008) for $895 a pop.
Today, they're on the Neiman Marcus website for a cool $945.
Did their value increase by $50 in ONE YEAR? No. But apparently, our gullibility did.

What about it? Who supports shoe pricing sanity?
Images: Flickr, The Knot, Neiman Marcus.
This post is sponsored.


Averill said...

I've noticed the same trend -- generally speaking, luxury goods' pricing have far outpaced inflation and it's getting ridiculous. Remember when you could buy a Coach bag or a Kate Spade bag for a couple of hundred dollars? Now the same or similar bags are over $500....

Perhaps designers think the higher pricetag will create greater exclusivity, which in turn creates greater prestige, which then means they can demand even higher prices?

Sanity Fair said...

Averill - I think your scenario is spot on - particularly for break-in brands on the lowest rung of the luxury ladder. I came across some old catalogues from COACH and Saks the other day - they were only 4 or 5 years old, but the prices were SO much lower!

Southern Aspirations said...

I noticed the exact same thing about the SATC Manolos. I'm not quite sure of the rationale behind the hike- or how many spend $800+ for a pair. $400 is high, but somehow sort-of reasonable- well, compared with $900!

Regarding Coach/Kate- and I'd throw Dooney&Bourke into the mix, totally agree with Averill. But it's not as if, I think, quality or "specialness" of those items is going up in tandem with the retails.

Suzee.Renee said...

Two things:
1. I completely agree. How much higher can they increase shoe prices? I really hope that some designers will take the opportunity to bring prices down to where they were a few years ago.
2. I want Carrie's closet!

pve design said...

I am in saving mode - so I try to find shoes for less or even have my shoemaker dye shoes and I add flowers,,and brooches.

annechovie said...

I fully support shoe-pricing sanity. That is just ridiculous. That is just not smart.

Ingrid Mida said...

I went shoe shopping a couple weeks ago and was aghast at the price increases in shoes. It makes no sense to me during a recession! I'll be waiting for the sales at the end of the season.

Unknown said...

expensive shoes and clothes are things that i won't and can't buy. i jumped on the luxury bags wagon in 07 only and i'm almost completely out of it now. i tend to go with Averill's take. the thing is: it seems to work, recession or not.

Beth Connolly said...

It's of course not just shoes but handbags and clothing as well. Department stores are pressuring designers to bring down costs, but I haven't seen it yet. Oh well, in the meantime, shop sales or places like J.Crew with great style and better prices.


I want all of those shoes please...

Unknown said...

Oh finally, somebody mentions the unmentionable truth about shoes!!! I make luxury handbags--and it's true, if you use the best fabrics, leathers, special hardware ordered from italy, the best handbag maker, you really can't get a decent bag made to wholesale for under $250, however, shoe prices are a whole 'nother deal--I'm not sure how they got to be over $1k a pop for anything breathtaking--how did that happen? p.s. Love those peacock Manolos, sadly my pocketbook does not :(

plaisirs simples said...

LOVE carrie bradshaw's closet!! the color is divine!


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