Shoes as Fashion Accessories

Source: NYtimes, Jun 2013

Shoes are an especially fetishized subject in fashion, but it is only since the late 1990s, not coincidentally at the start of the television series “Sex and the City,” that they have become what they are today, with warring retailers, an influx of new players on the battleground each season, and very little price resistance demonstrated by consumers, even when the market has all the characteristics of another fashion bubble.

For luxury retailers, expensive shoes have become a lucrative business, among the most profitable at Saks Fifth Avenue, for example. At Barneys New York, sales of shoes are three to four times higher per square foot than in any other department. The average purchase in the shoe department there is about $850, among the highest in the city.

While designer apparel may not have fully recovered from the shock of the recession, shoes have proved far more resilient, because they offer more perceived value to a customer than a designer dress that she might wear only a few times.

“Women have figured out quickly that shoes are a less expensive way of updating your wardrobe,” said Bonnie Takhar, the president of Charlotte Olympia, which makes exceedingly playful shoes like a wedge sandal designed to look like a wicker picnic basket ($1,995). “Plus they make you look taller.”

prices of everything in designer fashion, from handbags to men’s suits to swimwear to shorts, have increased so precipitously over the last decade that a pair of shoes can seem more justifiable when compared to a pair of equally expensive pants.

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