Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

How high can a shoe go?

The most expensive bag that I have bought is an Anya Hindmarch Carker, for £530. I bought it in the Autumn of last year, and carefully kept when not in use, I would expect it to last the rest of my life. Indeed I am still using bags of my mother's, purchased in the Fifties. I would never buy an It bag that I did not expect to wear for years to come. As I've said, I have no problem still using my red and purple Fendi baguettes, even though all around me are carrying clutches. I just don't care.

£530 was not the upper limit I was prepared to pay for that bag; had I been able to buy a Hermes Birkin, I might have done so. But I will not pay £745 for a pair of shoes. Like these:
Yet people do, indeed you can go and buy them yourself if you click on the Net-a-porter ad on this page, and stunningly beautiful they are too.

But as Justine Picardie says, in the Telegraph today:

Net-a-porter is doing a brisk trade in Christian Louboutin party shoes this Christmas, but who is buying the black satin slingbacks with a Swarovski crystal embellishment for £745? (Quite a lot of people, presumably, given that they've already sold out in three different sizes.)

Then there are the Jimmy Choo sapphire crêpe-de-chine peep-toes for £585, and black T-bars for £365 from Russell & Bromley. (Russell & Bromley! It's where my affordably priced, sensible school shoes used to come from!

>It's enough to take the enjoyment out of buying a new pair of frivolous shoes - for if you're worrying about how much you've spent on them, then the point of the purchase is lost. Party shoes should be escapist, though not so expensive that they leave you unable to afford Christmas presents for anyone else.

Plus, if your expensive high heels let you down - as mine did, catastrophically, when a crucial strap snapped on my silver Louboutins, halfway through an evening out last week - then you are liable to feel more than usually outraged.

Hence I am giving up on the broken Louboutins in favour of a pair of red satin slingbacks from the Autograph range at M&S for £55; less than a tenth of the designer versions.

If you want to spend money on shoes, my own tip, particularly to British women, who are less familiar with the brand, is Stewart Weitzman. He's an American shoe designer, stocked at Russell and Bromley, Selfridges and Harrods, who makes really good quality, beautiful and fashionable shoes which rarely sell for more than £200. I have lots of pairs.


Deja Pseu said...

Another big fan of Stuart Weitzman shoes here. They produce a lot of styles in wide widths as well, so we fat-footed ladies have some nice party shoe options. I've also found them to be very well made. I have one pair of Weitzman ankle boots that are going into their 3rd winter of almost daily wear (no snow here) and with periodic polishing still look fantatic and are holding together nicely.

lagatta à Montréal said...

If I had the budget for shoes like that (yes, they are very beautiful), I'd have them made. Has anyone here had luck with shoemakers who are able to craft beautiful, but comfortable shoes?

Toby Wollin said...

lagatta a montreal - there are two different types of shoemakers out there (and being in Montreal, you'll need to check around right where you are, really): People who make custom, fashion shoes and who will want you to come down, will make some measurements of your feet(if you are lucky, they will even ask you to stand on a pressure device so that they can get measurements of the pressure points in the bottoms of your feet), and off you go in terms of choosing a style, color, type of leather, etc. etc.
The other type is more medical and will not only do all the measurements, but will also take castings of your feet. These folks by and large do not build what WE would think of as fashionable shoes, but some of them have a more fashionable bent than others. A good way to find THESE sorts of people are to find a professional in Ballet - these folks have foot issues that are "on steroids" and know all the best foot doctors, orthoticists, etc. but who also tend to want a shoe that is at least not orthopedic looking.
A couple of years ago, I took a shoemaking course and one of the other students in the class was a foot surgeon from New York City. Talking to him was a real eye-opener. But the experience of learning how to measure for shoes and how to build a pair of shoes literally from the ground up that actually fit and are comfortable was an amazing experience. I have tremendous respect for people who can turn out custom shoes and frankly as far as I'm concerned, whatever they charge, it is probably worth every single penny.
And, Linda - what do you do with "broken" Leboutins? Does getting them repaired diminish the "value" of them? Personally, I'd rather have a shoe I COULD get repaired - the vast majority of women's shoes are made in such a way that they can't be repaired at all.

Anonymous said...

My friends are big fans of Stuart Weitzman. I'll be sure to tell them of your approval.

It's too bad women's shoes are more liable to break than men's shoes - straps and heels and all.

Chaser said...

Face contorts in primal scream in response to Louboutin story. For a shoe of that price level to have anything giving out--unforgivable.