Monday, August 10, 2009

Well Heeled

You know you're a shoe designer who's made it when you get your very own knockoff. I once interviewed a well-known British designer whose line of bags was heavily copied a few years back, who admitted dismay upon her second trip to Shenzhen, when she found her bags were no longer subject to piracy. True story, yep.

Christian Louboutin made it easy to impinge on his signature look by creating the iconic, original and unfortunately easily copied red sole. (To me, it's made the originals lose much of their cache, although you can't argue with the amazing workmanship, which is the true unsung hero). It was also great when I visited the US last year to see in the windows of bebe, replicas of the mile-high Giambattista Valli platforms worn by the Olsens and Vicky Beckham. I have a truly love-hate relationship with knockoffs and other "inspired" goodies. On the one hand, I hate myself for buying into trends and being suckered into cheap versions of luxury; on the other, you can't deny that the accessibility makes a lot more sense than saving endlessly for something that might only last a season.

Anyhow, I've now decided that bebe's shoe collection acts as the perfect barometer for the commercial success of any given shoe design. Witness, below, the number of celebrity favourites and red-carpet frequent flyers. You may even have seen some of them amidst our growing collection of SHOErotica. And now you can own them for under US$200 a pop.

Ooooh yes they went there. YSL Trib Two lookalikes in the flesh.

Christian Louboutin Differa sandals, in gunmetal leather instead of the patent cream or black we've become used to seeing. And with single straps instead of doubles.

My brain said Nicholas Kirkwood at first, but that was just the python talking. And since I'm not Harry Potter or Voldemort, I don't speak parseltongue, so I think I got that wrong. Could these be Georgina Goodman copycats? If so, mega props to bebe.

Variations on the original Giambattista Vallis I saw last year.

The ubiquitous Givenchy cage boot that was the precursor to this season's YSL cage boot.

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