Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rene Caovilla : Very Beautiful Shoes But ...

These shoes are on sale and are very, very beautiful. The top shoe, the satin rose high heel with the signature wrap around, was 1,450.00 and is on sale for 1,015.00. The flat sandal version was 1,095.00 and is now 766.50. The black satin platform high heel with the rose and leaf was 1,050.00, reduced to 735.00. The matching flat sandal was 895.00 now down to 626.50. The link to the Caovilla website is here.

I'm sort of conflicted about these prices. The Caovilla shoes are painstakingly crafted; that's absolutely apparent. They are about as beautiful as shoes can be and yet ... these are simply beautiful shoes that are very spendy at half the price. Not bespoke, good hand finishing but not handmade. 

It's such a mixed up moment for fashion with Target struggling to compete and doing designer clothes down low but giving them red carpet openings, celebrities and flash bulbs. There's been the lament that Haute Couture is dying for years and finally it is simply wilting under the threshold of impatience and
extravagance. 

I felt rather puzzled leafing through Bazaar's May issue with its Fabulous at Every Age feature showing a Ralph Lauren straw bag at 1,495.00; it was simply a nice version of the classic Moroccan market basket and a very questionable intrinsic value . I was completely taken aback by the Herve Leger by Max Azria swimsuit on the same page with a 1,700.00 retail.

I've never been apologetic about the price of a great bag, very good shoes, fabulous accessories and never even looked at the price of a bathing suit. But I think after the last couple of years, the intrinsic value matters.

14 comments:

  1. Jeffrey Felner
    THE SHOES WERE A FORTUNE 25 YEARS AGO AND AND STILL ARE BUT THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFULLY MADE

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  2. But they're ready-made ... 1450.

    Gorgeous but ...

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  3. Jeffrey Felner
    IMAGINE THEY WERE LIKE 700 THEN

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  4. Jeffrey Felner
    DON'T GET ME WRONG , I THINK THERE IS SOMETHIGN SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH SHOES WHEN BLAHNIK LOOKS CHEAPAT 750 IN COMPARISON

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  5. Well, Manolo - hand finished lasts, gorgeous style and, I think I'm saying it, all that quality: spendy but there is so an intrinsic value. But the Caovilla's seem just expensive. Manolo's were 385 in my shop, for almost all but the hand beaded exotic skins that were take-your-breath-away.

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  6. Jeffrey Felner
    THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD,,,,,,,I LOOK AT VIVIER AND LAUGH AND ZANOTTI ...THERE IS NO OTHER REASON THAN THEY CAN SO THEY DO

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  7. Vivier is beyond words beautiful and rather more like haute couture, not (sniff, sniff) fashion.

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  8. Jeffrey Felner
    I MET HIM WHEN THEY HAD RELAUNCHED IN THE LATE 80S--I REMEMBER COOING ABOUT A POLKA DOT SHOE WHICH HAD AN ASYMETIRC SARONG TWIST ALL CONTRUCTED FROM ONE PIECE OF FABRIC ................NOW I FIND THEM TO OVERLY FLASHY OVERLY HIGH

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  9. Your description is pretty serious ... it would be a forever shoe. Shoes maybe, just thinking about shoes as I ran out for a harder look, are making stronger statements as the pain of the last two years simmers down. Although today was the Biggest Black Swan ever, cold and down ... a lot of market pain, again.

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  10. Jeffrey Felner
    IT IS FUNNY I CAN SEE THOSE SHOES LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY --AND MONSIEUR VIVIER EXPLAINING TO ME IN BROKEN FRANGLAIS.............THINGS JUST NEED TO SKEW BACK TO SOME SORT OF REALITY AS OPPOSED TO PINNING A NUMBER ON AN ITEM ........AS YOU SAID THERE IS NO REASON FOR ANY MACHINE MADE ITEM TO SEE FOR 1000'S

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  11. Jeffrey Felner
    IT IS FUNNY I CAN SEE THOSE SHOES LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY --AND MONSIEUR VIVIER EXPLAINING TO ME IN BROKEN FRANGLAIS.............THINGS JUST NEED TO SKEW BACK TO SOME SORT OF REALITY AS OPPOSED TO PINNING A NUMBER ON AN ITEM ........AS YOU SAID THERE IS NO REASON FOR ANY MACHINE MADE ITEM TO SEE FOR 1000'S

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  12. Hey you guys, there is no such thing as a "machine made" shoe from any of the manufacturers you mention. They are all making shoes the exact same way in factories that are probably next door to eachother and trade recipes ; ) All Italian factories at this level have what Madeleine refers to as "hand finished lasts" which really means that the designer himself has worked on the last and tweaked it before it goes into production, which uses multiple copies of each last. They are all 100% hand made shoes (the only machines used would be those for sewing and those to press down on the dies for cutting) just not Made to Order, or Couture or Bespoke.

    I think, Madeleine, you are talking about "perceived value," which might mean that if you bought a pair of Blahniks or Viviers at the admittedly exhorbitant price they are today, you'll hopefully wear them and love them for a very long time, while these little confections are just that, lovely pastries to consume, feel great for a minute, and go onto the next.....

    The exponential price hikes of current times does seem to reflect a world gone mad. At least before I could afford something wonderful at one of your stores on sale, and now it would be an impossiblity.

    I'm starting to sew again, and thank heaven I already make shoes ; ) Your post has inspired me through the back door to make something magical!

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  13. Wendy, Brilliant and thank you for clarifying. I certainly mangled this ...

    You do bespoke shoes, considering individual feet and materials. Manolo does have hand finishing on his shoes and I presume the others do although the efforts seem not to line up with the prices in some cases, I can accept the weakness in the dollar over the past few years along with rising labor costs, and yet many designer shoes seem to be inappropriately prices. Cuteness in shoes is unforgiveable in the over 550. price change, fantasy and fine details certainly expected. I suppose there's an argument that the very spendy shoes are only available in limited quantities and it simply costs that much more to produce.

    YOU DO MAKE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MULES EVER and I absolutely was awed by your materials and forms in your workroom and would love to blog about your work.

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  14. Madeleine, it's hard for anyone not involved in manufacturing to imagine what really happens in factories, so I had to clarify............these shoes ARE way too cute for the expense, as you say.

    Qualitatively it is also the difference between a "lasted" shoe and a sandal that makes a price comparison relevant. Sandals like these are easy to assemble, whereas a shoe that is hand lasted in a wonderful material (or in a difficult material like satin or an exotic skin) does take an entirely different skill level to make!

    That said, the expense of the jewels if they are made in small quantities in Italy versus China is probably exhorbitant and one would hope that a company like Caovilla is trying to support local manufacture although it is impossible to tell these days.

    Apparently many factories in Italy have closed in recent years, and it's amazing that ones like Caovilla keep going, one imagines that shoes like this are aimed at markets like the Middle East and Asia, don't you think? But how many can they sell? More likely they are made in super small batches to "sell" the more wearable styles.

    I just looked at Rupert Sanderson's shoes online today, and they have almost all Secretary Pumps for 500 British Pounds and a few beautiful styles for 700!

    Aw, thanks! Let's wait until later in the Summer when I've made all new things!

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