Move over, Louboutins and Blahniks of the world. A new luxury brand of shoes is in town–so exclusive it’s made in limited edition, just like works of art. And in fact, the shoes are already part of the collection of an important fashion museum–the Galliera Museum in Paris.
Designer Paola Bay of Milan has built the brand based on a strict understanding of luxury, as something that only few can afford. To that end, she only plans to make 400 pairs per collection (spring or fall), each retailing for about $1,400. Even the company’s lookbooks are numbered!
What are you getting for that price? Well, each pair is assigned a number, just like limited editions prints. The shoes are made by hand by five artisans whose names and locations remain a secret). Each shoe takes several days to make; the craftsmen use the smallest possible stitch that can be done by hand and the fabrics are exclusively created for the collection by looms that are hundreds of years old. The leathers are tanned naturally to ensure a perfect fit.
Each pair comes in a heavy box that is not meant to be thrown out. The shoes come with a specially designed notebook in the shape of a handbag, outlining how they were made, with several blank pages of notes for the wearer to keep a shoe diary (A shoe diary, people! Think about it. I am thinking about it very hard right now. “Tonight I wore my $1,400 heels and boy, I felt like a million bucks. Now, that’s return on investment!”)
The heels are made of beech wood, which are supposed to make the shoes more comfortable because they are lighter than plastic heels. You can also custom order pieces–for an extra 30% more.
Some of the Spring 2008 collection is available at Barney’s: the Calypso is $1410-metallic satin sandal with contrast leather lace.
And my personal favorite, the Aretusa, is $1435: dove grey jacquard with tiny rhinestone buckles. It’s so pretty it took my breath away:
I guess I can dream about a new definition of luxury shoes from now on….