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

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

'Only the rich can afford cheap shoes'

I just wanted you, dear readers, to know that yesterday afternoon I had tea at Claridge's with Joan Burstein, the 81-year-old* founder of the clothes shop Browns (and who gave the teenage Manolo Blahnik his first job). The purpose of this glorious occasion (it's not the first time we've met) was a project which, in the fullness of time, I'll inform you of more fully.

But after finger sandwiches, teeny scones and an I've-died-and-gone-to-heaven little chocolate mousse cake, which we shared (sugar rush!!) she took me back to the shop to see the Autumn press show. Not only so I could see how much tailoring and muted colours we can expect, but also so I could try on, just for my own pleasure, you understand, a pair of £1100 (that's ($2200) pair of Balenciaga shoes, gladiator sandals, apparently.

Except when we got to the shop they had sold out. All gone. For as she explained to me, it didn't matter how expensive the garment, if it was beautiful it WOULD sell. And would sell quicker than things half the price. So now we know.

I did see this stunners from Azzedine Alaia, for 'only' £705, so hurry hurry hurry and get your pair.

* She was wearing blue and black Marni, and carrying a black Fendi python(?) bag, which was five years old.


Gi said...

Beautiful, well made objects will always look immaculate, as long as you take care of them. Over time, they are actually cheaper. I am wearing a bangle (I am a bangles-girl) my mother received as a gift 20 years ago. It's not gold or any precious metal, but the well-made custom jewelry is still as gold as I remembered seeing on my mother's dresser as a little girl :)

Arabella said...

I agree with Gi - bought a pair of shoes from Hobbs in 1996 when I couldn't afford them and they still start conversations.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both of the above. In these days of mass produced throw away computerised design we are hungry for well made well designed objects that still rely on skill and the touch of the craftsman. I would probably never the wear the shoes that you showed, but I can appreciate them for their beauty - they would even look good on the book shelf!

miss cavendish said...

I learned that lesson early on. When I went to boarding school, one of the wealthiest girls there had trunks full of clothes. But they were all inexpensive, flimsy fabrics that lasted about a month. We had a formal dinner every night, and while she always wore something new, I realized the value of wearing something twice--or ten or more(!)times--because it was well made and had substance.

Absolutely right: only the rich can afford cheap shoes. But they still shouldn't wear them.