Manolo says, this is one of the reasons why the Manolo loves his readers so very much, because even when they dissent from the official Manolo Party Line, they do so in ways that are interesting, polite, and well-reasoned.
Here, for the example, is the Manolo’s internet friend Sarah commenting upon the Manolo’s outrage with the Steven Madden peoples.
Sorry, I have to go against the grain here.
Ever seen those Suave shampoo commercials? Where two women with gorgeous hair flounce around for thirty seconds, and the announcer informs us that one of them spends a lot for salon products, and the other uses Suave? “If you can’t tell, why should we?”
Seven hundred dollars is an exorbitant price to pay for a mass produced product that you don’t plug into your wall. That it is not even remotely beyond the pale, in fact ‘reasonable’ as far as couture products goes, simply shows how divorced female ideals of conspicuous consumption have been removed from products that provide us value for money.
I remember being shocked when a friend of mine, a professional geisha, told me the average kimono she wore to work cost over ten thousand dollars. Then she actually went into the economics of the kimono industry, explained that every single kimono was a work of handcrafted art which kept dozens of artisans, sometimes the only living remnants of their craft, fed, and which was completely unique and symbolically sound in every detail. I was convinced at this point, and then she said, “Besides, it’s no more than you’d pay for a high-end handbag at some department stores.”
Louboutin’s name is not worth seven hundred dollars. No one’s name is worth seven hundred dollars. Value in fashion is assigned by a very small, very select cadre of people, and those values exist solely to keep a level of stylistic cache unattainable by the masses. Or else, how do you know how chic you are?
Of course, those signifiers fall apart if chicness is widespread, which is the real danger if mass market knockoffs. It is not a matter of protection of intellectual property; haute couture exists to determine the trend points upon which attainable intellectual property will be based, five years down the road. Nor is there anything patentable about patent leather, laces, shoe boots, or round toes. And if you honestly think shoe boots will be au courant long enough to constitute a ‘basic,’ or that any amount of money will make stilettos comfortable or long-lasting…
In summary, I am not offended by Steve Madden.
This is the exemplar of how intelligent and reasonable peoples should disagree! That the Manolo does not agree with this, does not change how happy he is to have received it.
As for what the Manolo believes, the Manolo can do no better than to point you to the replies of his internet friends Ninjarina, Dangster, and especially the Wannbe, who comes closest to expressing the Manolo’s own feelings with this perceptive comment below.